Facts for Fiction… Lena Dunham versus Hannah

Since I know that I won’t be making it to Lena Dunham’s appearance at Barnes and Noble, I checked out her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, promoting her collection of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl.

One highlight, for me, that didn’t make the summary, was the “dig” her father had thrown out about her ability to turn anything around into art- an “insult” that she embraced whole-heartedly. You don’t need to know much about Lena Dunham to have an idea just how much of her work is tied to her actual experiences.

Maybe because I don’t like too much real life in my fiction, I have never been too drawn into her productions- I watched Tiny Furniture before HBO made Girls an actual thing, and every episode I’ve seen of the show, I find myself thinking, “Yeah, I appreciate what you’re doing there” but don’t really feel it.

Listening to Lena Dunham talk about her real life, on the other hand, that intrigued me. Take this quote, for instance:

“The term “oversharing” is so complicated because I do think that it’s really gendered. I think when men share their experiences, it’s bravery and when women share their experiences, it’s some sort of — people are like, “TMI.” Too much information has always been my least favorite phrase because what exactly constitutes too much information? It seems like it has a lot to do with who is giving you the information, and I feel as though there’s some sense that society trivializes female experiences. And so when you share them, they aren’t considered as vital as their male counterparts’ [experiences] and that’s something that I’ve always roundly rejected.”

It made me want to hug her because, even if it’s not 100% true, there’s definitely a strain of it going around.

So, do other people have a strong preference for Lena Dunham over the characters she’s played? Does anyone else feel like, maybe, she might be judged a bit more harshly by her critics than, say, to pick out the most obvious example, Judd Appatow- who has going similar routes with male characters for years?

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2 thoughts on “Facts for Fiction… Lena Dunham versus Hannah

  1. I was glad to receive your “like” for my recent post (thank you). But I was especially interested to read your take on the Fresh Air interview; I just listened to that podcast today. You had a very inspired idea to reinterpret the Daily Prompt around the “Lena vs Hannah” topic. I’m impressed–and with your commentary, too!

    1. Thanks… I clearly had gotten it into my head to write about that interview, and twisted the assignment to fit.

      The disparity between the woman in the interview and the self-described jerks that she plays seems like a huge gap, but I guess Lena Dunham confounds me because it seems like I should relate to her more than I do.

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