In poll position
Lena Dunham is tackling feminist issues – through her TV show and on the campaign trail, writes Anna Caldwell
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
LENA DUNHAM ON FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS
GIRLS, SHOWCASE, TUESDAY, 7.30PM
Girls doing it for
themselves; (clockwise from
left) Allison Williams, Lena Dunham, Zosia
Mamet and Jemima Kirke.