I need to talk to you about Lena Dunham.
I need to talk to you about how much I love Lena Dunham.
You will know her from the HBO series Girls, which she writes, directs and plays neurotic Hannah Horvath. But I know her from this article she wrote for the New Yorker last year : Growing Up in Therapy.
I don’t know how I came across this piece (maybe I was googling ‘why am I so weird?’) but I am so glad I did. I’ve read it at least five times, I keep going back to it every now and then. I connect with it and have a ‘oh thank god’ moment everytime I read it. Its not glamourous, its not glossy if anything its hard to read because its very personal and very direct.
But it is very real.
Not everything she writes completely connects with me, I haven’t had the same experiences as her exactly but the parts about death, health anxiety, worrying about the world and every little eventuality, resonate with me and how I felt as a teenager.
Its the rawness of it is thats important, the truth in it. Its the fact that thousands, millions of girls and women will read it, see it and hear a real message. If I was a young girl now having these issues, finding and reading this article would help me, it would make me realise that I’m not alone and that even ‘celebrities’, even people who are your idols or look like they’ve got it all, suffer from overwhelming thoughts and worries.
And so I loved Lena Dunham instantly, in the moment that I read that article because of the colossal balls she must have to write it.
There are so many ‘famous’ women out there, deliberately or inadvertently influencing our lives. By their actions, by their choices and by their words. Some of them are inherently negative in my sincere opinion, their entire message to the world is that being sexy is what counts. They are telling us that portraying yourself as sexy, as a sexual play thing – you too can be adored, valued and successful.
This is the main message for young girls and women of our generation. Your body, your face, your eyebrows, your arse – that’s whats important ladies. Sure you now have the rights to equal education, equal pay, equal respect but you don’t actually want all that silly! What you want is this botox lip filler shit and a thigh gap big enough to house your low sense of self worth.
So here’s a message from Kim Kardashian, who I would say is currently the most influential woman in the Western world in terms of her media reach to young children and young adults. She has over 50 million followers on Instagram, that’s the equivalent to the entire population of South Korea, by the way.
What is her message? What is she telling me?
She tells me that to celebrate her number of followers she has stripped down to her underwear to thank them. She’s literally saying thank you with her body.
Its suggesting that to be popular, you need to be sexy. You need to post sexual photographs of yourself to the world in order to be successful and valuable.
Who’s seeing her message?
I’d say her audience were 13-30 year olds, male and female. So that’s a lot of teenagers and young adults, who perhaps haven’t quite figured out who they are yet.
Suppose they take this on board as fact, suppose a whole generation does.
Its just not a great message, its not a responsible message.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be sexy (or sexual), I’m not saying we should hide our bodies or be ashamed of ourselves.
I’m saying that people with influence should consider their social impact and obligations.
Here in contrast is a message from Lena Dunham. The indelible Lena Dunham. The Lena Dunham who posts photo’s with honest captions like this to her two million Instagram followers .
What she’s saying is real and what she’s showing you is true.
Which message do you prefer?
Which message is positive?
Which message is real?
The power and influence of brutal, unapologetic honesty can be immense.
You can find more from Lena and like minded ladies here.
Disclaimer: I am sorry, it wasn’t my intention to hate on Kim Kardashian, I’m not suggesting she is the root of all evil. It is not my goal to ‘bash’ her, I think she’s a very attractive women, but ultimately that’s all she is and we can all aspire to be more than that.
Further disclaimer: the love for Lena is however, unashamedly real, it was my entire intention to write an article about how great she is.