Posts Tagged: Lena Dunham
A rash of confessional memoirs by middle- and upper-class white women (think Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl) has repositioned feminism not as a political movement, but as a validation for extreme self-exposure. These books have some feminists wondering if they’re doing more harm than good:
What we are seeing now is feminism used as a brand; dislocated and disconnected from any collective political project.
Jason Benjamin’s HBO documentary Suited, produced by HBO’s Girls co-creators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, is an eye-opening journey into the niche subject of dressing for success when you’re a gender nonconforming individual. Brooklyn bespoke tailoring company Bindle & Keep is a no-frills, two-person operation consisting of straight, cisgender male founder Daniel who fell into his calling through his non-binary, apprentice-turned-colleague Rae (née Rachel)....more
At the Atlantic, Amy Weiss-Meyer discusses debut authors Rebecca Schiff and Abigail Ulman, placing them, along with writer Lena Dunham, in a group of authors that critic Harold Rosenberg calls a “mass culture of individuals:”
Theirs is a literary ecosystem fueled by the dream of achieving viral acclaim—of appealing to the masses by parading one’s exquisite, insecure individuality.
Though Chloe Caldwell’s books, including her 2015 novella Women, have been praised by the likes of Lena Dunham and Cheryl Strayed, there are some critics who were not quite so enthralled. How did Caldwell handle the bad press? And how bad was it?...more
For all her artistic clout, critics continue to dismiss Miranda July as “cutesy” and “twee,” labels that reflect an inability to distinguish between her work and her persona. Over at Guernica, Tin House editor Rob Spillman argues in defense of whimsy:
Part of the reason that some find July’s literary success so galling is that she is not simply a novelist; she is “Miranda July” a continuingly evolving conceptual art project, as well as the writer, director, and star of two movies.
In an interview with Salon, the always-wise Roxane Gay offers her opinions on Bill Cosby, Lena Dunham, and the challenges of writing characters whose experiences differ from one’s own:
We can imagine spaceships and different planets and aliens, but when it comes to writing about someone who is of a different race or a different gender or a different sexuality then all of a sudden we’re very confused…I think that it’s terrifying to worry about getting difference wrong.
The problem with unreliable narrators — and the thing that makes them so delightful to read in fiction — is that by design, you never quite know when they are telling the truth. Which makes it a stunningly poor choice of conventions to employ when writing about sexual assault, a crime that victims are often accused of fabricating, either wholesale or in parts.
“You don’t have to be at the mercy of the muse. You need your own internalized thinking process that you can perform again and again.” Although Lena abandoned her desire to be an artist in the strict sense, her definition of an artist could be applied to her current role.
Feminists and transphobic conservatives have found common ground in attacking Lena Dunham after the publication of her memoir revealed that her seven-year-old self had been curious about her sister’s vagina. Dunham creates trigger art, explains Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire, intentionally igniting sensitive subjects....more
At The Millions, Brooke Hauser compares Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl with Helen Gurley Brown’s seminal Sex and the Single Girl and finds, distressingly, that not much has changed when it comes to the critical reception of women writing about sex:
A lot has happened since 1962 when Sex and the Single Girl came out.
The Daily Beast takes a look at the history of the female essayist from Didion to Dunham:
From cultural critic Susan Sontag and journalist-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelist (and Dunham’s mentor) Nora Ephron, and on through to the host of talented female essayists writing today, this is clearly a flourishing genre that the following women writers—in my mind some of the best writing today—are very much making their own; as Carol Hanisch famously declared in 1969, the personal is political; if, that is, one’s personal experience is mined eloquently and intelligently enough.
Lena Dunham launched her collection of personal essays, Not that Kind of Girl, yesterday. At NPR, the filmmaker, actress, and author discusses oversharing, sexual assault, and pornography. Dunham did not get through the week without controversy, though. Gawker wrote up a click-bait attack on Dunham criticizing her book tour....more
On Tuesday, Margaret Atwood released Stone Mattress, a collection of “wonderfully weird short stories.” Stone Mattress is Atwood’s eighth collection of stories, not to mention her 14 novels and other formidable volumes of poetry, children’s literature, and nonfiction. Reviewers across the boards are heralding this most recent work as “wise, sharp,” and “rich.”
Let’s look at the title story of the collection, published by the New Yorker back in December 2011....more
You probably knew that Lena Dunham wrote a memoir (if you didn’t, she has), but she’d love to remind you why she’s qualified. Meghan Daum elaborates for the New York Times Magazine:
To suggest that Dunham is too young, too privileged, too entitled, too narcissistic, neurotic and provincial (in that rarefied Manhattan-raised way) to be dispensing advice to anyone is to add very little to the ever-expanding, very much already-in-progress conversation about her place in the culture and her overall right to exist.
The fact is that I write under duress, often in my bed, often at the last minute. I’m kind of a binge writer, I would say…
Lena Dunham, a former Rumpus interviewee, sheds light on her creative process, Twitter, the third season of Girls, and her forthcoming book in a recent interview with Salon....more
The fight against inequality, the fight against The Default, is a fight for white spiritual and emotional freedom, not just the freedom of people of color, women, or gays and lesbians.
In a diffuse but thought-provoking essay at Salon, Kartina Richardson explores the idea of whiteness as neutral, and how it limits writers of every race....more
At The New Yorker, Anna Holmes writes about how “Girls” and Sheila Heti’s new novel How Should a Person Be? “treat heterosexual coupling as secondary, and how they depict the profundity of female friendships, not to mention their real perils—which are quite different from the competitive jockeying that is so often imagined.”
Holmes proposes that these texts may signify “the beginnings, perhaps, of a revolution in the way women’s relationships are discussed.”...more