Lena Dunham Is In Playboy

03/14/2013 2:05 PM |

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  • c/o Playboy

I mean, obviously she’s not naked in Playboy. What would be the point of that? We can all see her naked every week for free on the tv. Well, not for free. HBO is super expensive. But so, no, Lena Dunham isn’t naked in Playboy. Or at least she’s not physically naked. But she kind of bares her soul. Well, kind of. She answers their 20 questions anyway, which is a feature that gave us all those great John Mayer quotes from a few years back, remember? Where he said he had a white supremacist dick? That was great. So, let’s find out about Lena Dunham and whether or not any parts of her lean toward white supremacism!

Most of the questions are pretty straight actually, nothing too incendiary or designed to get an outrageous response. And because Lena Dunham isn’t the same brand of douchebag that John Mayer is, she doesn’t give any responses that are destined to go viral. She deflects the question of whether or not she’d like to wake up as a Victoria’s Secret model with ease, saying, “I’d be really disoriented and wonder what had happened in the night. Which enemy had dragged me to the doctor? I don’t think I’d like it very much.” She defends feminism saying, “It’s always shocking when people question whether it’s a feminist show. How could a show about women exploring women not be? Feminism isn’t a dirty word.” She talks about the universal horror of getting the sex talk from your parents, relating how her “parents were sensitive. They said, “Your dad and I did this so that you could get made.” They gave me the male and female perspective. That was the traumatic part. I remember thinking, I don’t want to learn this, and I definitely don’t want to learn this looking at the faces of both of you.” She comes off as maybe a little disingenuous when she says she gets hit on by extras who “don’t know that [she's] the director. They’ll come up and say, ‘How long have you been working as an extra? Want to walk over to the craft services table?’” Which, Lena, they might not know you’re the director but there’s a pretty good chance that if they’re extras, they have some idea that you’re the star of the show. But she redeems herself by confessing to a love for Cadbury Creme eggs “when they’re in season.” Which really is the only time to eat Cadbury Creme eggs. It’d feel so wrong to have them in, like, October.

So, you know. It’s a pretty typical interview in which she says intelligent thoughtful things in response to not bad questions. It’s not even really that blog-worthy on its own. But after reading it I happened upon this headline in the
Onion: “Next Episode Of ‘Girls’ To Feature Lena Dunham Shitting Herself During Gyno Exam While Eating A Burrito,” which got under my skin like a splinter, like a big old splinter in my ass, actually. I mean, I get what the Onion headline and article are trying to do. And I wouldn’t even mind it so much if it was just mocking the fact that Girls sometimes seems to be pushing boundaries just for the sake of pushing boundaries, but the Onion article closes with the line “I just closed my eyes and said, ‘Thank you.’ These are real girls with real bodies doing things that real girls do,” as if challenging the norm of female beauty is something that doesn’t still need to be done. When Playboy winds up being the more diplomatic forum for expressing a viewpoint that promotes feminism and allows a woman to say that she has no desire to wake up looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, you know that there’s something off. And, yes, I know that the Onion is parody. But what it’s parodying here is a female artist’s ability to express herself without fitting into the pervasive stereotype of what a young woman should be. And that is the kind of juvenile humor that I thought was beneath the Onion. I guess not.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

3 Comment

  • “But what it’s parodying here is a female artist’s ability to express herself without fitting into the pervasive stereotype of what a young woman should be. And that is the kind of juvenile humor that I thought was beneath the Onion. I guess not.”

    That “Onion” headline encapsulates the show brilliantly, unlike picking apart random Dunham quotes and acting like she is super interesting. I wouldn’t ask Lena Dunham what her opinion on juvenile humor actually is, since it’s clear that both the author and the woman herself don’t understand it when they see it.

    There is a huge difference between the ability to express oneself without fitting into stereotypes and creating a character stereotypical of Brooklyn hipsters. She’s not creating a bold genre, she’s creatively being a bold, naked joke.

  • The Onion wasn’t belittling feminism. It was pointing out the absurdity of Girls trying to suggest that naive, infantile, narcissistic behavior is normal because it’s acted out by a person who has an average looking body. Hannah, the character, is not normal. The actor playing her may have a “real body” but it’s a mistake to assume she is a real girl.

    The characters on that show play into young women’s identity fantasies (which are not limited to women alone), into the self-aggrandizing, hyperbolic worldview that everybody and everything is high drama and borderline surreal, that every event has to be as intense as the well-edited narratives we see on reality TV. That’s the brilliance of Leah Dunhams writing – she’s conviced girls who believe they’re more than average that the girls on Girls are regular girls. That’s what the Onion was calling out.

  • Miss Iverson – please checkout a couple of episodes of Roseanne and tell me that “Girls” is the first program to breakaway from female stereotypes. Dunham is wonderful, but I look at “Girls” as the next generation’s version of “Sex in the City”. Eventually The Onion will gourd your ox and it’s up to the reader to decide if the humor is juvenile, or you’re taking yourself too seriously.