When Lena Dunham first entered the world of Hollywood, she came out swinging with a powerful feminist fist. The star of the HBO smash hit series Girls was never going to be the stereotypical simpering starlet, and from the get-go hers was a narrative of social equality and strength in the sisterhood.
In 2015, Dunham and creative partner Jenni Konner launched Lenny Letter, an online feminist newsletter that’s garnered high-profile support from the likes of Jane Fonda, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Keys and a slew of other feminist icons clamouring to join the conversation on gender inequality.
For any woman who’s experienced issues relating to gender inequality (namely all of us), Lena Dunham has created a safe space to raise a voice on feminism, politics, style, sex and friendship in Lenny Letter. And voices have indeed been raised.
Expanding the Conversation
With the resonance of the newsletter approaching a crescendo (more than 400k subscribers and counting), Dunham and Konner have expanded their reach into other media, with the release of Lenny, a series of short films made by women, for women. Or, as Dunham puts it, “made by female-identifying people based on short stories by female-identifying people”.
The HBO-funded series comprises episodes featuring a number of short pieces unified by a common theme. Provocative, thoughtful, controversial and whip smart, the pilot episode, entitled “Women in Pursuit”, was offered a coveted screening slot at the 2018 Sundance Festival in Utah.
Women in Pursuit ofâ€¦Everything
The themes of “Women in Pursuit” deal with a range of hard-hitting and intimate issues including sex, death, culture and identity. The filmmakers successfully turn gender norms on their heads with the topics and their sensitive yet compellingly (and at times heartbreakingly) honest portrayals.
â€¢J’Adore Narwal depicts a group of Muslim women in a small hair salon in Illinois.
â€¢Dead is Better has the writer delving into her most feared subject and facing up to it.
â€¢Laws of Another Universe is an animated portrayal of a young high school girl who allows a computer game to dominate her life.
â€¢Funny Girls follows a group of high school girls at a comedy camp as they explore their vulnerabilities in order to find their comedy voices.
â€¢In Orgasmic Meditation, women experience healing from traumatic experiences by using the technique of partnered hyper-conscious orgasm.
How to Find Yourself and Find a Voice
If you’re dealing with trauma, discrimination, gender inequality, stress or relationship and sexual problems, it’s easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. Lenny has opened a dialogue on previously taboo subjects as diverse and confronting as rape, racism, abortion and domestic violence. Nurturing the lines of communication is one of the most important steps in any kind of healing, and Lena Dunham’s project appears to be have touched a nerve in our collective thinking, with ramifications that stretch far beyond her original idea.
Through the online newsletter and now the highly acclaimed HBO series, Lenny speaks to women all over the world. By promoting communication, sharing stories and encouraging unity and equality, Lena Dunham has proved she’s more than just one of the “Girls” – she’s the everywoman of her generation. And, thanks to this insightful and intuitive feminist, if you really want to learn how to find yourself, you’re probably right there in the stories of Lenny.
Juliette Karaman-van Schaardenburg is a director at TurnOn Britain and a qualified OneTaste coach and Orgasmic Meditation trainer. She works with both couples and singles and can teach you how to find yourself and achieve intimacy with your partner or aid recovery from trauma by tuning into your body and intuition.
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