Lena Dunham

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Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham and the White (Feminist) Elephant in the Room

Katy Ronkin

A “white feminist” is a feminist who doesn’t acknowledge that the life experiences of white people are different from those of people of color, and therefore doesn’t practice what is called “intersectional feminism.” Dunham doesn’t acknowledge the fact that even though she’s part of an oppressed group as a woman, she still benefits from white privilege, and that isn’t inconsequential.

Topics: Feminism, Television
Sophie Tucker Portrait

Sophie Tucker: All About That Bass

Eliza Bayroff

Sophie Tucker was a heavyweight performer—in every sense of the word. Right up to her death in 1966 at age 82, Tucker, the so-called “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” took her act worldwide, combining her singing talents and bawdy humor into a legendary act that would manage to survive the demise of vaudeville and the dawn of the television age—all while remaining determinedly and definitively plus-sized.

Nora Ephron / Lena Dunham

Writer-Directors

Putting Women Onscreen and in the Director's Chair

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham became the first woman to win a Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series for her HBO series Girls, for which she writes, directs, produces and plays the lead character.
"Girls" Promotional Image

Jewish "Girls" Privilege and Marginality

Shayna Goodman

Way back in 2012 when Lena Dunham’s Girls first aired, I admired Dunham’s sincere portrayal of broke young women with artistic ambitions. I could barely watch the show without cringing at its painful accuracies. Since then—since the show’s quick rise in popularity, the magazine photo shoots and Adam Driver’s Gap advertisement, Dunham’s perspective seem more stylized than real. Film and television portrayals of the lives of struggling twenty-somethings feel increasingly less unique and my experiences as a woman of the Girls generation—going to Brooklyn bars in a crop top etc.—feel aspirational and contrived.

Topics: Television

So hot right now: Vagina is the new black

Leah Berkenwald

The word “vagina” is having a cultural moment, according to Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times. Once unmentionable, the word is popping up in movies, TV shows, magazine covers, and political debates. The Beauty Myth author Naomi Wolf's new book, Vagina: A New Biography, will be out in September, 2012. I don't mean to brag, but Jewish women deserve a lot of credit for bringing this once-hushed word to the fore.

"Girls"

Make way for "Girls"

Kate Bigam

I was really wary of watcing HBO's new female-driven comedy, "Girls." I'd heard a lot of not-great reviews and was afraid it would read like an emo version of "Sex and the City," which I was never fan of to begin with. I don't typically fall for awkward comedies a la "Arrested Development," either, as they tend to make me, well, uncomfortable - perhaps because my life often feels like an awkward comedy, and I like for my TV shows to hit a bit less close to home. Still, I was drawn to "Girls" because Lena Dunham, its writer, creator, and star, is just 25 years old - and, oh, she's also Jewish. It's also produced by funnyman Judd Apatow (also Jewish), who has turned out such comedic greats as "Anchorman," "Bridesmaids," and "Superbad." With a behind-the-scenes cast like that, I knew I had to give "Girls" a try.

Topics: Television

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