Lena Dunham: How Far is Too Far?

April 7, 2017


Screen Shot From HBO GO App/Sophia BahrAchona Online

The series finale of Girls aires Sunday, April 16 on HBO.

Writer, Director, and Actress of hit HBO sitcom Girls, Lena Dunham gives a raw portrayal of young adulthood in New York City tackling on issues from relationships to drug use to finding yourself in society. The show exploits the generalizations about post-college years and how what we expect for our lives, as millennial, isn’t always what occurs. Others may regard Dunham as a “raging feminist” known for her “edginess” yet often times her actions and words may be taken too far. Which brings a point to, how far is too far in the name of feminism?

Dunham tends to take things way out of context. She is a huge advocate for being politically correct and has further referred to it as “powerful consideration”.

Often times her remarks are taken too far. She recently made a point to say she wishes she had an abortion “to do her part to reduce the stigma that surrounds it.” Outraged, people, including fellow women’s rights activists responded.

Successful celebrity blogger Leandra Medine of ManRepeller.com writes in her blog post and says,”No one seems to be comfortable with this comment. Understandably so — it is a bold statement to make, a comment that only someone in a position of privilege can make.”

Furthermore, in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham explains she molested her four-year-old sister when she was eight because she wanted to explore her body. Dunham writes in the memoir “my curiosity got the best of me.”

Though her memoir is a raw and honest portrayal of the activist and actress’ thoughts and emotions, many readers were left distraught and horrified at her nonchalant attitude towards such a thing.

Fox News columnist Katie Yoder says in regards to Dunham’s hit show Girls but could also apply to the memoir’s “openly” honest account, “We don’t need comedy that presents women as selfish, out-of-control, and sex-obsessed. Women don’t need a spokeswoman who tears people down for laughs. We don’t need someone who tells us to be sexually explicit to get attention.”

Furthermore, Dunham has evidently crossed the boundary with remarks and actions in the name of feminism. At the 2016 Met Gala, Dunham made presumptuous accusations about football player Odell Beckham Jr claiming, “I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards….I was like, ‘This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes’.”

As many were upset with these misleading accusations, Dunham publicly apologized on Twitter.

“My story about him was clearly (to me) about my own insecurities as an average-bodied woman at a table of supermodels & athletes. It’s not an assumption about who he is or an expectation of sexual attention. It’s my sense of humor, which has kept me alive for 30 years.”

How do women stand up for themselves, without being selfish or accusatory towards men?

Senior and avid Girls’ watcher Teresa Toranzo says, “I wouldn’t say I like Lena Dunham as a person, but as an artist I do. Girls has easily become one of my favorite shows and I credit that to Dunham’s writing. In the show, there have been comments that some have considered ‘too far’. In the context of comedy, there’s rarely anything that I find ‘too far’. I personally don’t remember a time watching the show where I was taken aback by what she or other characters say. Oppositely, when she makes statements publicly, I think there are certain thoughts that should merely stay ideas. But in the end, it’s Lena Dunham we’re talking about; I take things lightly whenever she speaks.”

Contrastingly, some female stars celebrate feminism in a more positive light. Comedian and Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler, praises strong women in her memoir Yes Please. Poehler formulates her memoir to be a giant celebration of women in modern society delivered in a series of lists, poems, stories and advice.

Poehler says, “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

In the book, Poehler makes a strong statement that imposes a new way society looks at the term “bossy”. She says, “Let me take a minute to say I love bossy women. Some people hate the word, and I understand how ‘bossy’ can seem like a s–tty way to describe a woman with a determined point of view, but for me, a bossy woman is someone to search out and to celebrate.”

photo credit: Vanessa Alvarez (used with permission)/achonaonline
Editor-in-chief of Achona Vanessa Alvarez, says about the memoir, “It was very optimistic and didn’t focus on feminism necessarily yet focused on her up-bringing. She was from Boston, had no money, and had to work hard. I thought it was very inspiring to see her humble beginnings and grew to be a talented woman. The concept of ‘Yes Please’ was really highlighted in her book and she tied it in her book to give an optimistic ‘spin’ on life.”


Senior Rachel Mckenna says,”I think that feminism is very important but I think Dunham takes it too far. There is a line between being a strong, moving feminist and a way too out there feminist. Dunham is way too out there. She is the type of person people generally think of when they hear about feminists, giving them a bad reputation.”

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