Dunham for V

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January 4, 2013

V for Vagina. Vagina for Girl Power, indeed.

In V Magazine’s January issue, Lena Dunham said, “I think we can all agree with the idea that the beautiful girls that get all the boys get written about. They don’t usually write.” It’s rather stereotypical–though I am almost certain not intentionally–and the perfect blend of smart and beautiful sure does exist (in exces)s but I’d argue the precise girl Dunham describes (because, she exists too and that shouldn’t be shadowed), also doesn’t usually have to cultivate much eccentric personality for the same reason female protagonists since the beginning of time have conjectured that devastatingly attractive men are never good in bed: because they never had to be.

I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now until the time I was 17 and in the years preceding true teenage-hood, I learned about the fantasy of crude behavior and how astutely words like ass brain and fuckin’ with no ‘g’ could elevate my diction thus actualizing whatever I’ve become, which, arguably is a Ty branded platypus. There’s an entire chapter in my forthcoming book of essays dedicated to the experience though, so I choose to quit before I’ve officially fallen behind.

The article on Dunham is worth a thorough read if only because she bears–in addition to my undying loyalty to her existence at large–that same brand of Didion-esque empathetic intellect that tends to make me feel like I too, have profoundly evocative thoughts and unanimously (no matter how unilateral they may be) constructive, relatable (why isn’t this a word yet?) ideas. When I’m able to step away, it’s rather obvious that what I’m thinking is simply a regurgitation of what my far smarter forebears have already said, but who cares? A thought is a thought no matter its author.

And it is during moments like this one when I am considerably proud to anchor a vagina, which I think works perfectly with the source that incited that sentiment, (see: V).  To that note, I would also totally go gay for Lena Dunham.

So there, now you know everything there is to know about me.

  • Elisa

    Somehow it took me about 5 minutes to understand Lena’s quote, but I get it now. I don’t know though, my favourite female authors were pretty hot, Simone Weil, anyone? The Mitford sisters?

    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion
    http://www.ourwanderingminds.com

    • Leandra Medine

      Simone Weil got a bit of Vreeland about her and I think in both instances, the brains behind the women are so ridiculously, incomparably beautiful, there’s no other lens out of which to see them.

  • Kathryn M.

    Some argue that there exist no such things as new ideas (or new musics – and yes, musics can be plural), just new ways of articulating them (or new ways of arranging notes). I argue that each of us has our own way of seeing and trying to understand the world (see: Donna Haraway’s situated knowledge) and sometimes it takes something written in a particular way for us to understand it or relate to it. Ultimately, I believe that, despite your affinity for all things man-repelling, your voice has become a relatable (why indeed isn’t that a word?) one to others who proudly anchor a vagina, even for those some 10+ years your senior. I appreciate your candor and on the other end of things, I appreciate that you protect a part of your private life from the internet gawkers. Makes you seem that much more normal (or as normal as someone who can afford those Isabel Marant pants). :)

  • http://www.thegirlieblog.com/ Girlie Blogger

    She sounds super cool. I like it when famous people admit their struggles, especially with weight. It makes them approachable.

  • Jennifer

    I have watched the whole of season one of Girls but never have done much research about Lena Dunham. I’m so glad that you have written about her and linked the V magazine article – it’s quite the breath of fresh air. I try to avoid reading anything about Hollywood but she’s quite the exception!

    Theearnestaddiction.blogspot.com

  • http://pinksole.com/ Rachelle

    Going to read it now, Lena is the type of women that inspires me and I have a total girl crush on her.

    xo
    http://pinksole.com

  • emma

    this “And it is during moments like this one when I am considerably proud to anchor a vagina, which I think works perfectly with the source that incited that sentiment, (see: V). To that note, I would also totally go gay for Lena Dunham.” my sentiments toward Lena exactly. BOTH of you are the shit.

  • Mary

    http://thestylenative.blogspot.co.uk/

    that comment assumes all beauty = fuckability, and not all women are beautiful like that and you can be the other type of beautiful and still write though.. right?

    • Leandra Medine

      I defer to my Simone Weil/DV comment below. And of course.

  • Sketch42

    I know you love her, but I find her to be the opposite of authentic and earnest. (The first line of the article.) I feel like her persona is well crafted into the anti-pretty, and it just feels to me that she’s girl who is “the boy’s girl” or the “cool girl” (the one that is always undermining other women by pretending she’s not clingy and needy etc…when in reality her whole persona is crafted out of insecurity). It’s not exactly that way with Lena, but I just get MAJOR “this is a persona, and I think about myself way too much vibes” from her. I do like her show, and I think she has talent, but like how she said that it was her proudest moment when she bought a place for $400k, as opposed to millions… why even say that? Buy the place you love! It seems to me she does things for a reaction- to be the anti-celebrity, the anti-pretty, the “Cool Girl”. Bottom line, I feel like its all contrived and the opposite of authentic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1085312469 Colleen Oczkowski

      That is exactly how I feel.

    • Jessica

      I see where you’re coming from (like I reallyyyy do, some things she says are so contrived I feel a bit ill hearing them), but I feel like her presence in the media is a very positive thing for girls these days. She’s more authentic that most celebrities.

      The Lovelorn

    • Will Code For Clothes

      I feel that the vibes are contrived, too. But, I also think it’s nice to have an “ugly” or non-generic beauty to speak for us ugly folks! Hee, hee.
      I agree with the MR that beautiful girls don’t necessarily HAVE to form a personality, because they can get by on their looks! Oy.
      http://willcodeforclothes.com

    • Samyukta

      oh ditto! you’ve totally voiced what I wanted to say!

  • a.n.a.l.u

    I love Lena, she is
    completely honest, and there are no pretentions about her persona and her work.

    LAZYCATSTYLE

  • Domonique

    I think people are looking far too much into this, she is what she is and you either like it or you don’t, like most things there are two opinions. I however like Leandra can’t get enough and would most definitely listen to her all day long.

    http://lilylovelock.blogspot.co.uk/

    x

  • http://dallianceswithsuitsandskirts.blogspot.com/ blue roses

    within this vein, another sort of universally accepted societal construct, that interesting, intellectual, unique, anti-[mainstream]pretty women, those that do the writing and create compelling characters and develop poetry from experience, cannot live have a fairy tale-esque, happily ever after relationship. years ago, read a very interesting interview with mary gaitskill concerning this, how she had to combat public perception and not feel as though she had to defend her conventional, and satisfying, marriage with the man she loves. these molds we perpetuate, they are funny things.

    on another, related (and relatable?) note, i know you don’t want to blow your wad, to speak colloquially, with your collection of essays, but i, for one, really enjoy these departures from trite fashion/outfit posts. in other more plain words, i like to read writing, good writing. so, please keep the paragraphs, the varied sentence structure, a’coming!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jon.miller.370 Jon Miller

      This is a fashion blog, which isn’t to say the non-fashion related posts aren’t great, but it seems antithetical to say you want LESS fashion posts. Or to say that posts about fashion are “trite” or not equally as inspired as posts such as this one. If you don’t think fashion is important and transcendent, then why read this blog? The reason I read MR every day is because is is about my favorite topic, and it is the MOST inspired blog I have found about it. So basically, more fashion posts please! and more non-fashion posts too!

      • http://dallianceswithsuitsandskirts.blogspot.com/ blue roses

        you are very right. i was not clear; i did not mean for anyone to infer i would want less fashion posts, rather, i particularly enjoy posts such as these, which contextualize fashion, those who create it and those who participate in it, as both a commercial and an aesthetic industry, while also highlighting and, indeed, relying on her skills as a strong writer. fashion is important, artistically, economically, and sociopolitically, thus, my frustration in what sometimes seems to be an absence of thoughtful dialogue. i was speaking in general terms, which is dangerous and disingenuous, about the sea of blogs about fashion; for me, many are purely idle visual stimulus, which i also enjoy, but i prefer ones that i actually want to read and digest the content. MR tends to be quite provocative, visually and mentally, so, i read her work. my intent was to simply underline my appreciation for her as writer, not just blogger.

        thanks for calling me out on my lack of clarity.

        • Leandra Medine

          love yo ass, blue rose.

  • http://twitter.com/Juliakix feed me daily

    Oh Lena! I worked on her Tiny Furniture set, and I didn’t realize how vital the perspective she was bringing to the screen truku was. I was too busy having fun and being inspired by her directoral poise and generosity. But now I know: to create somewhat unsympathetic female characters is to actually liberate women from the idealization of perfection and invite more meaningful connection.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jon.miller.370 Jon Miller

      Agreed. I think the idea of unsympathetic female leads in a show like this is very new. It is a fine line writing a character like this without turning the viewer against her, but I think Dunham generally succeeds. Though, based on a lot of the opinions in these comments, maybe not!

  • suchafuckinggroupie

    You and Lena NEED to dive in to collaboration-nation. There really is something to be said about how real and RELATABLE both of your works are. For someone who is creepishly obsessed with the both of you, but is walking a different path as far as work/school-life, I am somehow always in awe at how much I can relate to your blog, and Lena’s show (premieres Jan 13. ;) ;)). its obvi not an easy thing to do since out of all the shit-ton of bloggers and show creators/actors out there, only a few manage to always *keep shit real*

    i love the both of you so fucking hard.

    • http://www.facebook.com/imola.kiss.3 Imola Kiss

      totally! a tea party about pubic hair for all i care- just please do something together!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507372027 Kelly Jolie

    Am I the only one who doesn’t find self depreciation and awkwardness amusing. I see that women can relate to her… but why would you want to? Lena’s character is also clueless and kind of stupid, I just don’t get it. Will always love MP and I’ve assumed you have way more common sense and confidence then any of the girls on Girls! … at least I hope so.

    • Voza

      Agree with you, not amusing at all… Self depreciation (self deprecation) is somehow the worst way to be cool. Very naive people (the followers) always think that pseudo honesty makes some girls be the best girlfriends. They are not that honest, most of the time I perceive them as very egocentric and their antics a very calculated way to seduce other people, the other, the ugly, the bad and the normal. Extreme honesty sucks!

      • http://www.facebook.com/jon.miller.370 Jon Miller

        D you know a 23 year old that ISN’T egocentric? AND self depricating?

        • Leandra Medine

          Especially one who is the product of Generation “I” …sorry, I mean “Y”

    • http://www.facebook.com/jon.miller.370 Jon Miller

      People in their early 20’s usually are pretty stupid and clueless, and I think that is the whole point of the show. She is developementally stunted (as are all the other characters) and the situation her parents have put her in is forcing her to figure out who she has to become. If she wasn’t “clueless” she would already be that person, and we would be at the end of the show. Her three friends are all in the same boat, but they are at different extremes of developmental stunted-ness, and Lena’s character is right in the middle.

      • Leandra Medine

        Yes!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507372027 Kelly Jolie

        Is it necessary to perpetuate the “usual developmentally stunted” 20year old? Totally understandable within the construct of the show, however the images of women in media are either hyper sexual or self depreciating. Girls is no different. And there are plenty of women in their 20s who have confidence, and aren’t stupid or clueless. I don’t see how she’s a good role model for young women, just because she isn’t skinny or self proclaimed as pretty. The hype totally goes over my head and I tried really hard to watch/like this show.

  • Allie

    this thing is so gross.

  • http://twitter.com/choochick choochick

    you are BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!

  • Ditte

    Never heard of her before…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1085312469 Colleen Oczkowski

    I feel like generalizing groups of women, especially by physical appearance, is pretty disappointing coming from a woman. Sorry Lena but I don’t agree with that. As a feminist I find her comment to be divisive amongst women as a whole. It is like hearing people say her body is a “real woman’s body” as though a model’s body is a fake woman’s body. To imply in any way that a female based on her attractiveness is lacking in any skill or capability than someone less attractive is pretty shallow. BTW, A beautiful female writer is not at all a rare thing.

    • Leandra Medine

      Really agree with your points here–and beauty is in the eye of the beholder–it’s hard to take anything said at face value. I don’t think she was stereotyping as much as she was breaking down a thought and simply conveying a hyper personal point of view.

    • Lori

      Ya I don’t get why she had to even bring up her looks at all. I mean, I understand that her character in girls isn’t hyper sexualized like most young girls on TV shows are and that it’s intentionally done so like that. , but when she uses her looks to make a point that her profession as a writer and not being conventionally pretty go together, i think, is irrelevant and actually confirms the sad reality tht women need to be characterized first by their looks then by personality. In a wa, she used the same ideology to explain herself that she is fighting against.

  • Alice

    Lena Dunham is without a doubt great. She is amiable, intelligent and funny. Most of us however don’t relate to her in relation to these characteristics. We relate to her character in Girls because of her low self-esteem and weight-consciousness (is that a word?). I wonder what that says about our generation. Being repelling to men is allright (aren’t we all in this blogosphere?) but being repelling to yourself is antithetical

  • Pernille Mo

    Leandra, I miss your outfits!! PLEASE, post more outfits :) ( i love you )

  • Jay

    I just read the article on the link you posted, and I must say I’m impressed with Lena. But I was a little caught off guard by some of the comments on here. People commented ( that Lena is TRYING really hard to be the anti-pretty girl. But the fact that people are saying that leads to a whole different question: why must people always assume that other people are TRYING really hard to BE something? If someone’s really well put-together its like “wow she must have taken 3 hours to do her hair and makeup” and if someone goes the complete opposite route and decides to dress really casual its like “wow she tried so hard to look like she doesn’t care”. Call me naive (I’m only 17), but I have trouble with the fact that people are so fascinated by the amount of effort others put into their lives. Why can’t any celebrity just be who they feel like being? Maybe Lena did try really hard to become some anti-pretty feminist icon, but even if she did, good for her! She’s successful, so she’s doing something right.

  • Carla

    My favorite part was when she wrote about loving Taylor Swift’s music. Just another example of how real Lena is. I hate how people try to be one category of person (oh your hair is cut like this… you must listen to Bon Iver). Lena’s just doing what she does. And she does it oh-so-well.

  • BlowDry

    I never understand a word she says or what her point is, but it’s her humor, I suppose, that brings me back to the blog.

  • http://twitter.com/Alexa_Curtis Alexa Curtis

    I completely agree with what you wrote. I do not keep up with her to be honest I have no idea who she is but she seems very strong and smart: we need more woman like that in this world. “The pretty girls” and skinny ones are the ones always written about and photographed etc, so it is time we start getting some more physically capable and women that influence the community out writing and communicating.

  • http://twitter.com/thechicaddict Jessica Stensrud

    Hell, yes, Lena!! She’s an amazing writer.

    http://thechicaddict.blogspot.com

  • Jennifer

    I need to learn more about her!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • Valerie

    I think that is a really silly comment, that pretty girls don’t write and never have to develop an ‘eccentric’ personality because ‘they don’t have to’. What exactly is a normal personality?

  • Rachel

    You are living proof that theory is false.

  • Aitana

    I´m impressed with her!!!^^

    http://ladytrendy.blogspot.com

    xoxo

  • http://viennarightnow.wordpress.com/ Chael

    Lena Dunham is not an average actress, so I dont understand why we need a photo with her that focuses on her naked legs … the same old arrangement we ve seen for a hundred times. Women are more than a body ….

    http://www.viennarightnow.wordpress.com

  • Nicole Linette

    After reading all these comments I went into the article mildly skeptical, but I think I’ve decided that Lena’s doing whatever the hell she wants, and whether that makes us happy or not does not matter. Some of her comments seem contrived, I think, because we’re more used to the clean-up, publicist-narrowed images that celebrities normally need to convey. I’m really happy for how far she’s come and hope she continues to eat cake, laugh and herself and remain somewhat cynical for all the twenty-something ladies out there who are figuring out what to do in life. That being said, I really, really need HBO so I can be on board the Girls train!

    And thank you, Leandra, for being so awesome! I didn’t know you were only 23 :)

    xo, nicole
    http://loquaciousnicole.blogspot.com

  • http://profiles.google.com/shainakamkar shaina kamkar

    Yay! I’m so happy to see a post about Dunham! I agree with Sketch42 to some extend that the whole awkward-insecure-city girl persona seems a bit contrived, but hey it’s a show! And even though it may come off like a “well crafted” “anti-pretty”, it’s very relatable and funny. But in another sense, what isn’t contrived these days. Each word an author puts to paper to some degree has a purpose, as do artists with their art-work. I’d rather the characters be well-thought-out and relatable (yeah why isn’t this word?) than unplanned and unpredictable. In a way then, it’s kind of hard to create a character that isn’t contrived.

  • Annie

    I know that a lot of people like her and her writing too, but i see some bitterness in her, i dont know why.

    http://www.anmarkdesign.com/

  • the (un?)social butterfly

    Good looks are rarely a genetic and unanimous blessing. I can perfectly imagine Gisele Bundchen or Kate Moss looking absolutely irrelevant — ugly, even. I think it’s more about the emphasis you give on being pretty and on how large a part that will play in your social life and challenges.

    http://humanwomen.wordpress.com

  • Devon

    I agree with some of the comments on here who are by people
    who have an interest in fashion but also have a strong mind and also aware of
    their own individuality.

    I think that although Lena maybe smart and savvy, she is
    bred from a culture that is altogether contrived and not really individual… but
    this isn’t her fault because many of the media type today have brought into the
    same stance.

    The difference with Leandra and other bloggers is
    that she puts clothes together well, so this makes an interesting blog visually
    but content wise it’s the same cutsie/quirky character that can been seen by
    any blog at any day of the week, but either a 12 year old to a 35 year old
    depending what fashion void you’re stuck in. If you read some of the responses
    on this blog they will resemble either 1) that of the writer or 2) one on other
    blogs you have read, as if there is a serial blog commenter making statements
    like “I love you!!!” or “you’re so fantastic! I’d love to hang out with your
    and share your wardrobe” or some tripe which is utterly nauseating.
    Primarily Lena is cool to those who want to be cool, those who love Alexa Chung and Solange Knowles, butwhat Lena isn’t (is unless she starts to woman up) inspirational.

  • Angi from glamsquadmuc

    Being different is not a choice. You could fake it, but what for? In your twenties, u have to try finding out if you are. If not, stay with neet clothes and enjoy being ‘normal’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cherry.hadinata Cherry Hadinata

    You’ve got to see this video with Tavi Gevinson & Iris Apfel in it. I don’t know if this is relevant to your post but I highly recommend this video on personal style and freedom. and also Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations book.

    http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/impossible-conversations/audio-and-video

    …and so sorry for the very late comment, we’re in different timezone.

  • Silvia Cristescu

    I can’t wait for the next season to start! Girls is such a cool show!

    http://www.thestunninglook.com/

  • http://www.pkhuset.com/bloggar/forfattare/carolina/ Carolina PK

    You and Dunham are people that inspire me, thanks for sharing

  • lindavo

    I would go gay for Lena too!

  • fashademic

    relatable is a word! go forth and use with impunity.

  • Marissa Joy

    I really love Lena Dunham and agree with everything you said, but I also am afraid that the discussion of Lena Dunham as this “ugly” girl heroine (I don’t believe she’s ugly at all actually) enforces this either/or fallacy in which women are either expected to be stereotypically beautiful and vacuous or ugly and intelligent. It’s just another unfair, inescapable double standard that restricts women, and its so hard to get past. No matter how positively one can frame such a discussion, it always comes back to this distinction.

  • mnm

    Oh yeah Lena, you show them how different you are to all the other celebrities whilst still being photographed in your undies. What a joke, for once I would love to see one of this self professed new wave feminists put there money where there mouth is and stop using there fuckability in a shoot, no matter how big the panties!!

  • http://twitter.com/MelodyRood Melody Rood

    My degree in women and gender studies is making me go crazy right now about this post. A lot of people made really great points though. I just want to add that how we create a reality about any celebrity is instantly flawed. Every single person is “performing” their identities whether they’re on t.v. or not. Think about how you, yourself, would respond to an interview. It doesn’t seem easy to sort of put all the layers of “you” into one piece of writing. Because believe it or not, Lena is not just some insecure, inauthentic “it” girl and nothing else. I agree that there’s a sense of the “hyper personal,” but why is that so bad? Throw a young, clever, unconventionally good looking broad into the spotlight and of course you’re going to get somebody who is probably constantly trying to establish her identity. I can’t imagine I would handle that kind of fame much differently. I think she’s brilliant.

    • Leandra Medine

      This is perfect.

  • María Belén Acosta Meana

    Hey Leandra, this is quite off-topic, but I was just wondering when is your book coming out?

  • http://www.duckalicious.com duckalicious

    I don’t get that part about “relatable” not being a word.

  • Laura Ashton Barry

    I think she is quite inspiring, regardless of who she comes off to be, the girl is like, 26, and wrote, directed and acted in a hugely successful television series, which actually more accurately captures the humour and lifestyles of women at this age, as I’m the ‘age group’ the program depicts. That’s pretty amazing. I love it when a writer gets their way with their product!

  • Solara Jean

    wow, some harsh-ish comments. let us all remember, she is VERY young! and navigating a VERY strange scene. and the fact that we call her “the ugly fat star” and she has to deal with that must not be so easy… i think she is a great young talent, who like most if not all artists are very self involved, in her craft. thats what it takes. give her a little slack, maybe! she is not ugly nor fat, but the standards are pretty strict in hollywood and she is brave to even put herself out there for everyone to dump on. and really, she is so young. i hope women can someday just be proud of anothers success without having to pick it apart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/silvimpy.zapatrovsky Silvia Maria Zapata Luna

    i personally love her! i think she is pretty real…one of the few authentic ones (without trashing anyone…just my opinion) her acting and her writing its different and refreshing, she IS very talented.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nadya.hw Nadya Helena

    I have to agree with what Lena had to say. “They don’t usually write”. Why would they? They don’t need to. They (most likely) don’t even know how to properly pour their thoughts in organized structure that written pieces require. Beautiful ladies are charming to the eyes, but even I (as a woman myself) have to admit that some of them are really dull and even frustrating when involved in a rather educated arguments. Maybe that’s the reason why I have so much respect for intellectual, graceful, yet stunningly beautiful ladies, because I -for one- know how difficult it is to be one. Absolutely love Lena, and of course, Leandra!
    http://thedillychic.com

    • Meredith

      I think it is incredibly rude to say that beautiful ladies are not likely to have the capacity to “properly pour their thoughts in organized structure” and that they can be “dull and even frustrating when involved in a rather educated arguments.” What a gross generalization. Individuals that are not “charming to the eyes” can be dull and frustrating, too. It doesn’t always have to be a battle between brains and beauty, we should all just focus on being the best versions of ourselves whether we have one, the other, or both.

  • Miranda

    Just, wow. Try proofreading sometime. And maybe also punctuation.

    • Angela A. Medina

      Agreed!

  • Pssss

    That’s not your μπούτι, μωρή!

  • Angela A. Medina

    Lena appeals to me because of her extreme similarity to friends that I had and do have. She appeals to me because she represents my generation to a broad audience. Her work, as well as her personality, is indeed controversial; this much is apparent. I ask myself why this is the case, and all that I can come up with is an understanding, or a conception, that she is blasting a level of intimacy that makes some uncomfortable. Thoughts?