In poll po­si­tion

Lena Dun­ham is tack­ling fem­i­nist is­sues – through her TV show and on the cam­paign trail, writes Anna Cald­well

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

Some­times, Lena Dun­ham shows up on the set of her hit show Girls and re­alises she’s writ­ten a script she can’t quite act.

Some­times, the award win­ning writer/pro­ducer feels suc­cess­ful, and then al­most im­me­di­ately some­thing goes wrong. “The minute I feel suc­cess­ful I usu­ally fall over. Or some­one screams at me.” But none of that stops her. Dun­ham’s brand is all bound up in em­brac­ing im­per­fec­tions. And for her ca­reer, that ap­proach has turned out to be just per­fect.

As Dun­ham’s famed Girls en­ters its se­cond-to-last sea­son, she’s pre­par­ing for life af­ter the show that launched her into liv­ing rooms all over the world as an ac­tor, writer and di­rec­tor.

True to form, sea­son five will ex­plore the com­plex­ity of fe­male friend­ships with a fem­i­nist do-what-you-want sen­si­bil­ity and con­tain non­per­fect nude bod­ies on re­peat.

The sea­son opens at Marnie’s wed­ding, delv­ing into that age-old ten­sion be­tween a bride and her brides­maids.

“I’m about to do an­other round of brides­maid duty, I think I’m get­ting bet­ter at it,” Dun­ham says when asked about her in­spi­ra­tion for the sea­son opener.

“Fe­male friend­ships are re­ally im­por­tant to me. They’ve been the most com­plex, tor­tu­ous, beau­ti­ful re­la­tion­ships in my life,” she says.

Th­ese days, Dun­ham finds her­self at the nexus of cre­ativ­ity and pol­i­tics.

As Girls steams to­wards its end, Dun­ham is work­ing on a new se­ries, Max, set in the ’60s about a woman try­ing to make it in mag­a­zines.

Mean­while, in her spare time, she’s stump­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton and talk­ing up feminism to her le­gions of fans in pod­casts and news­let­ters.

“If we can merge girls’ pop cul­ture un­der­stand­ing of feminism with their political un­der­stand­ing of feminism that would be a re­ally ex­cit­ing next step,” she says.

“I think one of the rea­sons its im­por­tant for me to cam­paign with Hil­lary is I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to re­mem­ber feminism isn’t just about girl power or be­ing able to rep­re­sent your sex­u­al­ity how­ever you want to, it’s is about those things but its also about re­ally con­crete political is­sues. Like wage equal­ity, like re­pro­duc­tive jus­tice and like uni­ver­sal health care and all of the things that re­ally al­low women to re­ally ad­vance and en­gage in so­ci­ety as equal par­tic­i­pants”.

Writer Judd Apa­tow, who works with Dun­ham on Girls and has worked with Amy Schumer on her projects, says its been ex­cit­ing see­ing the comedic projects turn into a plat­form for pol­i­tics.

“It’s been ex­cit­ing to see this cre­ative co-op­er­a­tion has given (Lena and Amy) a plat­form to talk about all th­ese so­cial is­sues and political is­sues and they’ve been very wise about how they’ve han­dled them­selves … which is dif­fi­cult be­cause when you fight for things peo­ple at­tack you. Peo­ple try to tear you down when you fight for sim­ple things.”

But while Dun­ham is happy to do her bit in cam­paign­ing with Clin­ton, don’t ex­pect to see her run­ning for of­fice.

“I don’t think I would make an ideal political … just my three days of trav­el­ling on the cam­paign I was like this is too much, I’m re­ally tired, I need a snack, I need a nap. But I ad­mire what (Clin­ton) does and if I can be use­ful in any way like go­ing out the last three days then I’m thrilled.”

Girls co-star An­drew Ran­nells, who plays Eli­jah Krantz, also praises Dun­ham, say­ing it’s been spe­cial watch­ing her ex­plore new things.

“It’s been fun to have a front row seat of her evo­lu­tion over the past few years as an artist. But she re­ally came into this with such an amaz­ing amount of char­ac­ter and con­fi­dence.”

“They’ve been the

most com­plex, tor­tu­ous, beau­ti­ful




Girls do­ing it for

them­selves; (clock­wise from

left) Al­li­son Wil­liams, Lena Dun­ham, Zosia

Mamet and Jemima Kirke.

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