Lady Hero: Lena Dunham

New York Magazine

Let’s just get straight down to real talk – I love Lena Dunham.  I have loved her since my first of multiple viewings of Tiny Furniture and I have been breathlessly anticipating her HBO-debut with Girls.  Dunham, despite being two years my junior  (insert depressing parenthetical thought about how my life is disappearing before my eyes), has an innate ability to translate the actual reality of life for many twenty-something women and project in a way that’s affecting, hilarious, and poignant.

The best thing about Girls’ impending debut (Sunday, April 15th, mark your calendars!) is that there has been a wealth of great features on the fascinating Ms. Dunham.  In a full-length profile at New York Magazine, Emily Nussbaum perfectly encapsulates how many Millennial females may feel about Dunhams – “an unstable blend of worship, envy, and disdain, particularly from her peers, some of whom resented her ‘voice of a generation’ press. ”  For many of us, Dunham is the voice of a generation – or at least “a voice, of a generation” as her Girls character, Hannah, reasons in the show’s trailer.

Nussbaum also uses Dunham’s comfort with her body on-screen, her ability to parade around half-dressed or in painfully-real sex scenes that negate the Hollywood ideal of a pencil-thin twig with fake breasts showing strategic side-boob as perfectly natural sexual representations.  As the article points out,

“[She] films herself nude, with her skin breaking out, her belly in folds, chin doubled, or flat on her back with her feet in a gynecologist’s stirrups. These scenes shouldn’t shock, but they do, if only because in a culture soaked in Photoshop and Botox, few powerful women open themselves up so aggressively to the judgment of voyeurs.”

Amen, sister friend!

From Tiny Furniture (2010)

Over at The New Yorker, Lorrie Moore features our favorite multi-hyphenate on the Culture Desk, highlighting Dunham’s ability to find comedy in life’s depressing moments.  The piece includes a great conversation lifted from the pilot that so eerily echoes conversations I’ve had with my own parents, I almost wonder if Dunham was accidentally copied on a mass email to friends.

In a recent piece in the Village Voice, where she is described as a “humble narcissist, chronic oversharer, and compulsive exhibitionist”, Dunham shares some of her favorite girls on film, further convincing me that she and I were destined to be spiritual soul mates.  For a film series she’s curating at BAM, Dunham chose such smart and clever representations of young women, ranging from The Craft to The Last Days of Disco to Clueless to This Is My Life. If you haven’t seen all four of these, get thee to your Netflix queue!

New York Magazine

Sure, maybe there’s a little bit of Dunham media saturation going on and maybe the hype of Girls will inevitably invite some backlash from the Interweb denizens who can’t bring themselves to enjoy a good thing, but just as Gawker snarks, “As a 20-something female narcissist currently making a ton of mistakes in [life], am going to watch the shit out of it.”

Friday Frivolity: Donna Meagle, Lady Hero

Editor’s Note:  Thanks so much to the lovely and talented Retta (aka THE Donna Meagle) for retweeting this post!  She calls Donna the “poor man’s Deepak Chopra“!  Love love love!

I know I say this every Friday but I am so glad that the weekend is upon us.  I shall now enumerate the reasons why for you in a bulleted list, because that’s just how I roll, Interwebs.

  • This week has been le suck.  It could not be over sooner for me.
  • I have a dinner date with one of my biffles tonight and it’s going to be awesome.
  • Tomorrow is the home opener for DC United – I am geared up for tail-gating, cheering, jumping, and hot boys running up and down a field for my amusement.
  • My best friend is moving here this weekend, so things just feel right in the world.
  • Seriously, I cannot reiterate how rough this week has been.  It’s time to set the reset button.

I have been feeling so out of sorts lately that I left work early yesterday (something I almost never do) and went home to mope, day drink, and be generally irritable.  I watched Tiny Furniture, felt sorry for myself, and sent whiny emails to my eternally patient besties.  But then, 8:30 pm (EST) rolled around and my spirits were lifted, for out of the HD haze rose  my life’s inspiration – Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation.

My life mantra, thanks to Donna

I know most young women watching P&R are likely drawn to Amy Poehler’s optimistic spitfire Leslie Knope or find a kindred spirit in Aubrey Plaza’s sardonic mastermind April but for my money, no single female on television (except for possibly Happy Ending’s Penny Hartz) perfectly encapsulates the attitude I want to embody more than Retta’s delightful Donna.  Why is Donna is so awesome?  Let this series of images show you!

Donna has a way with words.  She is the wisest woman of the 21st century.

Donna doesn’t always need words.  Although she can whip off a snappy comeback or double entrendre, Donna often lets you know exactly what she thinks without saying a word.

Donna tells it like it is.  When she’s right, she’s right and you’re going to know about it.

Donna doesn’t care for fancy technology.  She can handle her business without the latest gadget or flashy gimmick.

Donna understands the importance of a well-placed pop culture reference.  When you’re Ginuwine’s cousin, you have to know your stuff.

Donna will not tolerate your foolishness.  Sometimes you just have to let people know that they are idiots.

Donna recognizes the importance of working what you’ve got.  Even if it means wearing Entertainment 720 gear or a bedazzled silk robe and especially if it’s ya Benz.

Donna knows when to put her personal life before work.  But she always has your back when you need her.

Most importantly, Donna likes to drink.  And don’t we all?

The bottom line is, whenever I’m sad or feeling sorry for myself, I just ask myself a simple question – what would donna do?  And then I throw back a double shot, hop in my Benz (metaphorically), and find myself a large fireman named Marcus to make me feel better.  Thanks, Donna!