Current megastar Lena Dunham is smartly trading on her success and wide name recognition and sold her first book, a book of advice to young women, entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned for a whopping $3.7 million.
Of course people are jealous. That is a lot of money. There has been some sexist buzz on the internet about the fact that 25 is too young to write a book of advice, and all the other shit that goes with that fact that a young woman is the toast of the town.
There are people that are always going to have issues with Lena. Shit, she gets naked on her show regularly and she even got naked on the Emmys. She’s so out there and visible right now that on occasion she will make a mis-step, but I love watching her navigate the entertainment world with her ballsy size 10 confidence.
I was thinking this morning about how smart and lucky she is that her show went to HBO and not to a network. Last year at this time we were greeting another young female writer/creator named Whitney Cummings. While her two shows get more eyeballs then Dunham’s show Girls and both got renewed, both Whitney’s and Two Broke Girls are middle of the road schlock hitting on every stereotype that seems to be rampant on most sitcoms. And sadly, Whitney Cummings never lived up to expectations.
But Dunham using the freedom of HBO created a boundaryless young woman struggling with well, everything. Look around, it sucks to be a young person today. There are no jobs. Young people are going to have less opportunities than their parents. I thought things were bad for us folks in Gen X when we got out of college in the last recession. But that’s nothing compared to the fact that now people are questioning whether it is even worth it to go to college.
Lena Dunham has arrived on the scene at just the right moment. Her generation needs a voice that can be related to. Her generation needs a win, it needs someone who has hit it big. (Yes, I know she comes from privilege. But in my book that only takes you so far. If you don’t have talent you will rise and then fall.)
As a person a generation older than Dunham I love watching what she is doing. I relate to Girls. I will buy her book. I will support her because the more she is successful the more room there will be for others like her. I also love the fact that with this book she is fulfilling the dream of her Girls character Hannah – she has become not just a voice of her generation, but the voice of her generation.
Here’s a clip from Lena at this past weekend’s New Yorker festival. If you want to see the whole interview, you have to pay for it.