I’ve seen exactly one episode of “Girls.” I found it to be weird and unfunny. But “Girls” creator Lena Dunham? If I were Barbara Walters, she would get on my 2014 list of most fascinating people.
There’s something about Dunham and her lack of shame that intrigues me. I read every word of an interview with her in Vogue magazine earlier this year, so when her provocative new book came out — I don’t know, is it a memoir? — I picked it and started reading it immediately, despite having a pile of other books in my queue.
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned is a series of essays organized by subject matter rather than chronology (I love nonlinear narratives). Her description of summer camp in the chapter, “Hello Mother, Hello Father” is awesome. She addresses virginity, dieting, sex scenes and what’s in her purse, among other things, and she comes off as a weirdo. But she’s a weirdo with a personality and a unique voice. I’m not entirely sure I like her, but I liked her book.
As you might expect from someone who routinely appears naked in her television show, she talks a lot about sex. And vaginas. My memoir has “sex” in the title so her approach — raw honesty which some call creepy — intrigues me.
Like the author herself, the book is a bit controversial. A new friend who saw I was reading the book called Dunham a feminist. I thought, “Huh? I thought she was a comedy writer.” So I Googled it. Apparently Dunham is a feminist for a new generation. Oh, I get it now. Dunham, 28, is a generation younger than me (closer in age to my new friend than to me). Ironically, she’s also an anti-feminist because she “spends the entirety of her book bouncing from awkward casual sexual encounter to horrible casual sexual encounter, desperately searching for love in all the wrong places.”
Well, if that’s what it takes to be an anti-feminist, then I’m not a feminist either. I spent my late teens and early 20s obsessed with boys, too. Dunham writes about the humiliation of, well, everything to do with raw sexuality, in a way that’s brutally honest. I appreciated her truth.