Lena Dunham exercises caution and humour while dealing with critics
A Google search with the words “I hate Lena Dunham” will produce 1,190,000 results, and a news search will produce an average of 2 articles or blog posts which criticize her for issues ranging from her body size to her portrayal of women in her multi-award winning series, “Girls”. While some of the criticism can be understood, most of it is simply vicious, and reeks of insecurity from the critics, who seem to forget that constant personal jibes amount to bullying; especially when the subject of this bullying is a 27 year old woman. Dunham however, has formed her own plan of action which she uses quite regularly to address those who stoop to new lows in a mostly-failed bid to discourage her from succeeding. As a breakthrough star with millions of dollars to her credit, not to mention a consistent flow of awards, accolades and media attention, Lena Dunham can easily be considered as one of the world’s most successful and multi-talented women in the entertainment industry. She effortlessly hones her skills as a writer, actress and comedian and has consistently produced raw and honest portrayals of modern women via her no-holds barred television series, and is also writing a book aimed at advising women on making productive life choices. She is therefore critiqued for being “too honest” and “too brutal” with her non-airbrushed approach to life, both onscreen and off screen, where there is literally no difference between the persona of “Hannah” from the series, and Lena herself. Scenes from the series where Dunham is endearingly honest about the shape of her body and the randomness of her thoughts are regularly hauled up by television critics and bloggers who appear to prefer the airbrushed and almost unreal perfection portrayed by the characters on “Sex and the City”. Dunham reacts in typical fashion by spoofing critics through episodes of her show, and by regularly tweeting jokes about them which serve to call them out without crossing the line of decency. Ignoring criticism is something which Dunham simply does not do, she says it is because she does not want her show to come across as exclusionary; this response has been criticized by those who feel that the lack of racial diversity does just that. However Dunham has responded to that too, stating that her show is based on her own life experiences and those around her; she has also stated that the lack of racial diversity was an unintentional accident. In fact, she has written in non-Jewish, non-white characters that have featured in future episodes of the show. While a lot of the criticism is easily the result of jealous writers and actors who are clearly unhappy with Dunham’s meteoric rise to the top, some of it is also politically-motivated. Dunham has been called out for tweeting random and apparently offensive thoughts on Memorial Day, a move which has earned the wrath of numerous Right wing political figures who have shed political correctness in favour of calling her “a worthless ingrate”, among other unmentionable names. There is much to learn and unlearn from the criticism which is thrown at Dunham. Being criticized for apparently failing to wave the flag of inclusivity is one thing [although one might gently point out that the much-loved Sex and the City also features four white girls whose intimate lives are as regular as Lena’s], but to bash her for being thought of as beautiful, borders on ridiculous. In a recent episode of the show, Dunham’s character, Hannah, is called “beautiful” by a decidedly handsome man, who appears to be besotted by her. The outcry from men’s magazines towards this episode is testimony to the attitudes of the public; apparently an “ugly” woman like Dunham could not possibly deserve a man as good looking as this man. “She must have been dreaming” stated a well-known critic. One might wonder how Dunham would respond to this; it is entirely possible that she will write about it in a new book or feature it on her series, and continue make millions off her haters. Overall Dunham is committed to making millions, winning awards, and ensuring that at every step, critics and other unfulfilled individuals are shown their place; they can criticize and bully all they want, but will only succeed at encouraging her to achieve more success in her life.