Tag Archives: Lena Dunham

Hot Dudes + Big Girls

Inspired partially by an encounter with a cologne-model looking dude at a train station and the most recent episode of Shameless (in which Lip hooks up with a very sexy woman much larger than him), I wrote this week for Role/Reboot about what happens when “guys like that” like “girls like me.”

I’ve written about this before (as did everybody else) after the infamous Girls episode with Patrick Wilson.


Related Post: Lena Dunham + Patrick Wilson

Related Post: Female figures are, by definition, “feminine.”



Filed under Body Image, Gender, Hollywood, Republished!

Sunday Scraps 98


1. CHINA: Excellent long-form piece for the NYT Magazine about the marriage market in China. A huge gender imbalance has created a strange and stressful dynamic at every economic strata of society.

2. LENA: In this Playboy interview, Lena Dunham explains, among other things, why she’s pleased she doesn’t look like a supermodel.

3. JOURNALISM: Super fascinating look at the work of Bob Woodward. In researching his own Belushi biography, journalist Tanner Colby unravels the shoddy work of one of the most famous journalists of all time.

4. WRITERS: The relationship between writer (George Saunders) and editor (Andy Ward) is pulled apart in insane detail in this Slate interview. Jesus, these people are smaaaart.

5. BULLY: In the XX Factor‘s ongoing series about bullying, a current rabbi confronts her past as a member of a menacing tween gang.

6. GENDERMother Jones measures the voting records of members of Congress on women’s issues. Unsurprisingly, there’s a correlation with having daughters and a pro-woman voting record. Sigh.

Related Post: Sunday 97: Anita Sarkeesian, DNA exploring, Cindy Gallop and Ta-Nehisi Coates

Related Post: Sunday 96: Philip Roth, duct tape art, Playboy mansion visits


Filed under Body Image, Books, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

That Girls Episode with Adam and Natalia

Oof. This week for Role/Reboot I wrote about Sunday’s Girls episode (Spoiler Alert) in which Adam and Natalia had sex twice. The first time was a little stilted and a little awkward, but ultimately sweet and tender and rooted in consent. It included conversations about what she liked and didn’t like, and an explicit acknowledgment of her pleasure.

The second time was not that. I describe the scene in detail in the essay (which was not fun), and I was pretty rattled by it. It unfortunately also clicked with a wide range of other content that deals with violence against women lately (VAWA, Battlestar Galactica, some George Saunders stories), and the whole thing snowballed in my brain into one big ugly, teary, mess of frustration at the ongoing injustice in the world. It was not a super productive place to be, and writing this helped me climb out of it.

I know the internet is awash with opinions on this episode (I like Amanda Hess’ at Slate), but I’d love to hear yours too.

Screenshot_3_12_13_9_50_AMRelated Post: My favorite two minutes of Louie.

Related Post: Is Parks and Rec the most feminist show on TV?


Filed under Gender, Hollywood, Republished!, Sex

The Lena Dunham/Patrick Wilson Conundrum

Lena Dunham and Patrick Wilson (Girls)

Lena Dunham and Patrick Wilson (Girls)

I know you all watched Girls last night and have some seriously complicated feelings about it. I know I do! Most people have been talking structure, since this strange little episode was such a diversion from the show’s loosey-goosey multi-character narrative flow. But, when Lena Dunham spends so much time naked, we know we can’t just talk cinematic decision-making, we have to talk about the body politic.

Jezebel headlined their recap (which I thought was mostly on target) with “What Kind of Guy Does a Girl Who Looks Like Lena Dunham ‘Deserve’?” and I think they’re asking the right question. To sum up, she spends the weekend banging an older, blindingly handsome, chiseled Patrick Wilson. He looks like he just stepped off a yacht in the Vinyard while filming a Land’s End spot, and she looks like a very average, very pear-shaped girl who probably sat next to you in the library and tried to surreptitiously eat a donut while reading Foucault. Mismatch made in heaven? Apparently not, according to many a commenter, who go as far as to say this pairing is so farfetched it must be a dream sequence.

But is it that farfetched? Let’s grant that if you polled Americans, Patrick Wilson is about a 9.7 and Lena Dunham is, say, a 5.5. I am making up these numbers, but the point is that they are more than a standard deviation or two apart. Does that kind of perceived aesthetic mismatch ever work out?

Amber Valletta and Kevin James (Hitch)

Amber Valletta and Kevin James (Hitch)

Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek (Grown Ups)

Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek (Grown Ups)

Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogan (Knocked Up)

Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogan (Knocked Up)

Wait, weren’t you saying it’s ludicrous to even think that a vaguely unkempt, less sophisticated schlub might land a smoking hot partner? Oh I seeee, it’s only ludicrous because she’s a lady and ladies are supposed to be the smooth, shiny ones. I get it now, this is just your basic old-fashioned double standard. Got it, glad we’re all on the same page.

But Seth Rogan is so scruffy and adorable! But Adam Sandler is so hilarious! But Kevin James is so cute and cuddly!  Women have other reasons for falling for these dudes in the movies, so it all makes sense. Actually, doesn’t that seem about right? We all want to end up with someone we find physically pleasing, but most adults acknowledge that there will inevitably be a thousand other things we love about a person too. Even though not everyone can look like insert-your-dream-hunk-here, we will “compromise” because they are delightful and lovely in all of the ways that really count. You know, kindness, smarts, humor, that kind of lame “personality” stuff.

Why is this such a shocking concept when the genders are reversed? I find it both offensive to the ladies (you are nothing if not decoration!) and insulting to the dudes (you are shallow and only want decoration!) Why is it hard to imagine, in theory, that Patrick Wilson might have found this overly earnest quirky hipster girl on his doorstep sweet, cute, funny, or interesting? Or also hot? Which brings me to my second point…

I would like to brag about something now. It will seem like just straight-up patting myself on the back, but it is in service to a point, so stick with me. I have slept with some good looking gentlemen, some if-you-polled-America-they-would-tell-you-that-he-is-fiiiiiine kind of men. Here’s the kicker: back in the day (young, naive, blah blah blah), I used to be surprised that they wanted to sleep with me. Not like, “oh poor little old me, I’m not a supermodel” surprised, but just kind of curious, the kind of curious you are when you’re a plus size girl who is most definitely in the Lena Dunham camp, the she-of-the-thunder-thighs camp, not the Salma Hayek/Amber Valletta/Katherine Heigl camp.

So here’s what I know. People like all kinds of things. They like all kinds of bodies. They like all kinds of people. This is in spite of the Esquire Hot 100 list, or the Maxim Ladies We Love, or the Bro Mag Chicks We Dig column. There is certainly a segment of men who would only go for the willowy model-types (just as there are women who won’t date men under 5’9″). But there are also men (more than you think), that have a wide ranging palate. We are deluding ourselves if we let the beauty mags tell us what men like, because men will tell you that, yeah, that 36-24-36 is nice, but so is this, and this, and that, and sometimes this, and when I’m in the mood, that too. Human sexuality is a complicated thing, yo, and it’s pretty freaking arrogant to think your taste is the only one that makes any sense.

So I guess what I’m saying is no, I don’t think it’s impossible that Patrick Wilson went for Lena Dunham, and yes, I do think y’all are seriously narrow-minded if you can’t see that.

Related Post: My kind of porn tumblr (NSFW).

Related Post: Does being fat-positive mean you have to throw skinny girls under the bus?


Filed under Body Image, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Sex, Uncategorized

Monday Scraps 89


1. SNOW: This epic John Branch story is a freaking commitment (took me about an hour to read, I think), but one that’s well worth it. With amazing graphics and video, he recounts the avalanche at Tunnel Creek.

2. THIEVERY: Super fun profile of “supernatural” pickpocket Apollo Robbins by Adam Green for the New Yorker.

3. FASHION: Girls is coming back! Yippee! Get excited by reading about how Jessa, Marnie, Shoshanna and Hannah are dressed and styled.

4. MONSTERS: As part of a promotional campaign for the new Monsters Inc. prequel, check out the parody website “Monsters University.”

5. MATT + BEN: Who doesn’t love a good oral history of a much beloved cultural landmark? (Side note: The Friends oral history in Vanity Fair was excellent.) For Boston magazine, Ben, Matt, Stellan, Robin and more recount how Good Will Hunting got made.

6. EDUCATION: I dare you to not get weepy at this NYT video of a very special physics teacher.

Related Post: Sunday 88: Boobs, doubt, the Rockaways, Moloch

Related Post: Sunday 87: Deb Perelman, Amy Hempel, Pinterest for cops


Filed under Advertising, Education, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Sunday Scraps 80

1. WOMEN: A slew of famous and not-s0-famous ladies (Lena Dunham, Tavi Gevinson, Tracee Ellis-Ross) lip sync to Leslie Gore’s 1963 classic “You Don’t Own Me” to protest the GOP’s anti-vagina policies.

2. ICELAND: Can a constitution be crowdsourced? Iceland thinks so, incorporating ideas and suggestions from Facebook and Twitter into their new document.

3. HALLOWEEN: Comedians Emotistyle have a break-out hit on their hands with soon-to-be-classic Halloween anthem “Things You Can Be on Halloween Besides Naked!”

4. ECONOMY: McSweeney’s, of all places, has a really clear, interesting, well-articulated essay from economist Robert Dittmar on why we’re in debt. I think I might get it…

5. BREAKING BAD: Taylor Swift + Breaking Bad = This parody video on the dissolution of the Walter/Jesse relationship, “We Are Never Going to Cook Together.”

6. COLBERT: God, Stephen Colbert is so freakin’ smart. For Playboy, he’s interviewed about his history with family tragedy, maintaining two personas, and how he still convinces people to be on his show.

Related Post: Sunday 79: The Clintons, Harper Lee and Oprah, and Spanish immigration.

Related Post: Sunday 78: Reddit trolls, Stop and Frisk, Rebel Wilson


Filed under Advertising, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Why This Emmy Season Rocked for Ladies

Anybody else watch the Emmy’s over the weekend? Too busy watching the Patriots game get fumbled by the newbie refs? TOUGH CHOICES. If you did watch the first of the major awards shows, you may have caught my favorite moment, the Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus swapped speech gag.

It got me thinking about how pleased I’ve been with the range of ladies on the TV these days. Between Poehler, Louis-Dreyfus, Juliana Margulies, Christine Baranski, Anna Gunn, Khandi Alexander, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Archie Punjabi, Claire Danes, I have even more excuses than ever to tube it up. Plus, these women are having seriously interesting conversations about what it means to be a 21st century gal (the bimbo comedy debate on 30 Rock? the 2nd wave/3rd wave feminism debate on The Good Wife?).

For Role/Reboot this week I discuss why its important to have complex, substantial, nuanced portraits of womanhood displayed in the mainstream:

Related Post: Louie addresses sexual double standards in my favorite two minutes of tv this year.

Related Post: I tally the lady-presence in Golden Globe nominees for Jezebel.


Filed under Art, Guest Posts, Hollywood, Media, Republished!