Lena Dunham cashes in on hipster culture
Forbes recently listed Lena Dunham as one of the potential names in their Top 100 celebrities list. Thewarp.com has listed her as one of their Top 12 innovators of the year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently invited her to be on their list of members. Looking at her annual earnings, which total $6 million, one would imagine that Dunham directs and acts in award-winning intellectual dramas, which tackle world problems; however, apart from the award-winning part, the rest is untrue. Dunham actually writes, directs, and acts in “Girls”, a hipster-culture drenched comedy that is filled with characters whose actions quite often facilitate feelings of confusion, angst, and even revulsion. Hipster culture by definition refers to a subculture of people in their 20’s – 30’s who live a bohemian lifestyle, appreciate progressive thought and art, and follow a fashion and lifestyle which is called “effortlessly cool”. They are often well educated and rich, and reside in cosmopolitan, fast-paced cities. Upon watching “Girls”, one is immediately struck with the many obvious similarities with hipster culture; from the shabby chic outfits of its characters, to the brutally honest, no holds barred portrayal of them in various situations in their lives, some of which involve inexplicable definitions and explanations of their life’s philosophies, some of which truly appear to transcend human comprehension. This is a visual journey, which is so brutally honest that it grates on even the most grounded and no nonsense of mindsets! And yet, “Girls” is resonating with audiences and making millions despite its sometimes-uncomfortable portrayal of young women who emulate hipster culture. Viewer loyalty has ensured a third season in the pipeline, and the never-ending slew of awards and distinctions being won by Dunham. With a viewership of 1.1 million, hipster chic culture is clearly being lapped up by an eager audience which does not appear to care about the various “white girl problems” which are not problematic as much as they are the constant whining of apparently uber-talented young women who are in constant confusion about their sometimes unequal relationships and appear to echo a less elitist version of their Sex and the City compatriots. Despite coming under heavy criticism about lack of racial inclusivity, sometimes unnecessary nudity and occasional mindless one-liners, Dunham remains loyal to her “Bridget Jones” meets “Carrie from Sex and the City” character, Hannah Horvath, and even dons a $1200 designer peplum dress by Alexander McQueen in an episode of the second season. Her dedication to her script and refusal to apologize for apparently not being inclusive can go either way in terms of winning her more fans, or critics. Part of being a hipster involves standing up for ones beliefs, and whether she is doing so as her onscreen character or in real life, Dunham is certainly sticking her guns and being all the richer for it. One must not be quick to dismiss Dunham’s vision just because it caters to a niche audience, simply because it is making profits at the end of the day, which is the ultimate objective of a business, be it in the corporate world or entertainment sphere. As a talented young woman in her mid-20s, Lena Dunham’s business sense and ability to tap into, and make profits from a select market of people who believe that she is representing them, is a clear example of a sound business strategy with marketing prowess to boot.