Past Sunday the New Yorker producer / actrice / newcomer author Lena Dunham paid us a visit in Berlin. The proud owners of one of the precious tickets could see Dunham at Deutsches Theater in an one-hour talk with editor in chief, Christoph Amend from Zeitmagazin. The interview was part of the series “Im Gespräch mit” from Zeitmagazin. So much said so far: the author didn’t read a single word from her book “Not That Kind Of Girl” (the official reason of the event) but there was a lot to laugh about.
The light goes off, a devoutly silence in the hall and there she comes – slightly ducked and a bit clumsy thanks to her platform heels in a green summer dress – Lena Dunham enters the stage. She scans the audience with a searching gaze against the bright spotlight until she seems to recognize someone. With ostentation she sticks out her tongue. The audience is delighted. The first quite professional seeming Christoph Amend seems rather bashful after gushing welcome from Dunham (including a kiss on the hand). But he luckily recovers rather quickly and begins a relaxed conversation about Dunham’s celebrity dog and her parents. Private questions seem to be no problem for the American artist as the 28-old reveals almost everything in her TV series “Girls” as well as in her autobiography “Not That Kind Of Girl”. How practical that questions about her work reveal intimate confessions of the New Yorker girl. But is there still something we don’t already know?
Lena Dunham is notorious for her bluntness in everything she does. Nothing is sugar-coated or kept – especially what isn’t perfect is set into focus. With one or two kilos too much on the scale, the permanent urge to talk about herself (no matter if with the best friend or the whole world) and the thematization of compulsion neuroses Dunham is perhaps the most human star one can imagine.
„My name is Lena, I´m from New York City, I´m a feminist and I love snacks!“
A lot of the things she shares this night in her loud voice feels familiar. The people she describes remind me of caricatures of people I know and so feels probably the rest of the audience, too. They smile knowingly around me when Dunham talks about “platonic bed sharing” (if you share your bed with a guy without sleeping with him, so you don’t feel lonely). Also the girls around me all look as if they could be playing a role in “Girls” themselves. So where is the difference between the girl on stage and the ones following her each and every word?
To be honest, there is no big difference. Dunham’s book is a similar read to my sister’s diary: very amusing but rhetorical not outstanding. And also the question about her political position as a feminist, Dunham answers quite simple with the explanation “I’m not a politician.” (Btw. she thinks Obama is “hot”). Just to be clear, I have no intention to place myself on the side of the “Dunham haters” (from which you can actually find quite a lot). Even if this event seems more like a mass-fan-event where the book is only decoration on the little coffee table between the two talkers, I do think that Dunham has something important to say.
In opposite to the character Hannah who Dunham plays in her TV series, who wants so much but fails again and gain by blocking herself, Dunham has found a way to point attention to subjects that matter. Of course her book tells us nothing outstanding but the fact that she talks so freely about issues that are rather taboos in society makes it a sensation itself. In “Girls” it is said that Hannah doesn’t want to be THE voice of her generation but A voice. Lena Dunham herself managed this quite successful. It is more important to her to share her personal experiences (however intimate they may be) instead of protecting herself. By doing so Dunham gives her voice to a generation of mid-20s girls (and probably also guys!) and as a sort of best friend makes all the issues public that secretly drive us all nuts. Thanks for that dear Lena!
In fact there was unfortunately no discussion of the truly interesting passages of “Not That Kind Of Girl” (I only say: condom in the indoor plant alias the rape scene), as Christoph Amend preferred to read his favorite passages from the book, but I still took a few new thoughts with me when I left the theater:
1. You can be a feminist and be on a diet at the same time.
2. Sharing is truly caring!
3. It doesn’t matter what you do, it only matters that you really do it.
4. The new season of “Girls” (in Germany from April 2015, in the US from January) will be the best of all.
written by Marie Krutmann.