These days, it's not really that unique for a woman to be running a television show and acting in it. We've seen it be done many times over the years. But, what makes Lena Dunham (writer, director, creator, Wonder Woman behind HBO's Girls) stand out so much to me is her authenticity. It was clear from the first time I watched her show, even though I was a freshman in high school and didn't understand about half of the cultural references, that she was different. That day, I laid eyes on the woman who would influence many of my ideas, words and fashion choices and ultimately inspire me to just be, well, me.
Of course, throughout my whole life, I was always "me." I didn't have a body switch incident (maybe one day). But, reading Lena Dunham's honest tweets about everything from serious business like the Woody Allen rape allegations to simple things like meeting a dog named Yvonne made having clear opinions, things scarcely seen in high school, so desirable. Though I've never met a dog named Yvonne (maybe one day), Lena just gets it. I always used to feel that by letting the world know what I was thinking, I was being overindulgent, and my opinion would be discarded or rejected by society. Lena Dunham has taught me an important lesson: Who cares?
Lena, or L-Duhnz, as I called her in the dream I had where we ran into each other at a local Starbucks, conjures honest but hardly ever seen on television themes and incidents into her show, like the human body, and lets them loose in the flesh (no pun intended). She even delves into her own past of growing up with OCD and illustrates it beautifully, making me feel like I fought that battle with her even though I didn't. She has shown me that everybody heals differently and there are many ways to cope with life's difficulties. Before watching Girls, it never occurred to me that talking about your feelings wasn't the only way to let them go. That is why I felt a constant tornado of teen angst and feelings, because I don't particularly enjoy talking. But, Lena Dunham's character Hannah Horvath's experiences let me know that instead of having to assemble careful sentences to somebody I don't like, I can dance to Robyn's "Dancing on My Own," or sing "Wonderwall" in the bathtub and feel just as liberated.
I know Lena Dunham may not seem like your average role model. I still remember the look on my mother's face when I accidentally let it slip that I had already watched two seasons of Girls. We all make sacrifices. But Lena Dunham has a three-dimensional, genuine vibe that will always find her place in my heart to be above all others. Yes, I know she writes scenes where she is completely naked doing the dirty. But, do you do it with your clothes on? Yes, I know she writes scenes where she snorts cocaine off a toilet seat. But, has no twentysomething in New York ever snorted cocaine? America has been afraid to approach "touchy subjects" in their media, and only ever showing modesty and purity is making people ashamed of their own bodies and allured by activities deemed too inappropriate for television. Also, if you recall, I didn't say my lesson from Lena Dunham was "please everyone."
I remember a line from Girls where Shoshanna says something about having to break a few eggs to accomplish what she wanted to do and it stuck in my head. To this day I can't look at an egg without thinking of Shosh's message. Lena Dunham showed me that you can either follow the rules and be good, or you can follow your dreams and be great.
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