CRUZ | An Open Letter and An Invite

September 28, 2014 7:23 pm1 comment


Courtesy of Lena Dunham

Courtesy of Lena Dunham

Dear campus groups,

Let me be more specific.

Dear CUPB, Women’s Resource Center, Mortar Board, English Department, PMA and anyone else whom it may concern,

I am here to make a request. Lena Dunham’s new book, Not That Kind of Girl, is coming out on Tuesday and for the next month or so Lena is going to be on tour promoting the book. My request is that you please, please, bring Lena Dunham to campus. Each and every one of your departments or groups brings or sponsors bringing literary figures, comedians, strong women, people in cinema or simply influential figures to campus. I would like to nominate Lena Dunham. Ms. Dunham meets the requirements of a good guest for any of your groups and though she is not always available, right now, while she is on tour, this could be the time for you to strike.

I am not going to argue to you that Lena Dunham is the “voice of our generation,” whatever that means, or that her show is sooo good and everyone should watch it or that she is especially relevant to Ivy League college students steeped in white privilege, because I don’t believe those things and don’t think they are relevant. However, it is undeniable that her work is.

It seems that almost everyone has an opinion about Lena Dunham: They like her, don’t like her, respect her but don’t like her show or don’t like her body. Regardless of what these opinions are, people are talking about her, and she deserves to be talked about. Whether you like Girls or not, Dunham is breaking boundaries with her show. No, not all of the characters are likeable, in fact many are notably unlikeable, but hey, so are the characters on Game of Thrones. The point of the show is not to showcase inherently lovable characters or make you feel warm and cozy while you are watching it, that isn’t what life is like, and it isn’t what Girls tries to do. Girls portrays a few women and their lives and love in a very real, almost cruel way. And, just like the lives of 20-somethings (no matter what tax bracket your family falls into), Girls is awkward, harsh, sometimes a little too real, sometimes funny and sometimes just bearable enough to feel like happiness.

The style of Girls is unlike just about anything else on TV in the best way. The reverb of Dunham’s hit show (critically, at least) will be felt for years to come and is already making an impact. The creator of Amazon’s new show Transparent (already marked as one to watch this season), Jill Soloway, said in a recent interview that she gained inspiration and courage to write the show, and her previous work Afternoon Delight, after seeing Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture and Girls and realizing that it doesn’t have to be taboo to present aspects of your truest self on screen. In some magazines she is even being called our generation’s Woody Allen.

Dunham fearlessly tackles the idea that you can’t be your truest self on screen, that it isn’t appealing or isn’t profitable with the success of her works, and I hope will continue to do so with her book. In Girls she is often naked, or close to it, and has said that she films herself at more unattractive angles than she would ever film her co-stars. She is seemingly unafraid to show off her body, as she should be, and the continuous backlash for the choice, especially after the first season aired, by groups of people who insulted her, not for being naked, but for being overweight and naked, just goes to show why so many women end up feeling uncomfortable in their own skin.

For these reasons and more that do not fit on this page, I ask that one of you, or a few of you, look into bringing Lena Dunham to campus this year. Dunham’s success, style and balls are pretty much unequalled at the moment, and as a young, aspiring writer she is someone that in many ways I look up to.

Writer, actress, comedian, feminist, prolific human, Dunham fits the bill as someone any of you, aforementioned clubs, would bring to campus, and there is no time like the present. But, hey, what do I know? In the words of Ray (Alex Karpovsky), “Usually when people say they wanna be a writer they really don’t wanna do anything except, ya know, eat and masturbate.” In the meantime, feel free to sign up for our incredibly specific book club. We only read Lena Dunham and “we” is only myself and my editor. We like wine.

  • Kai Mast

    Thanks for this writeup. It would be awesome having Lena Dunham on campus.