Reading Lena Dunham’s Book Proposal Feels Both Awesome And Terrible

Today has been a confusing day for me. First I had to look at Megan Fox‘s stupid sexy body and struggle with my feelings of inadequacy, and now I have too look at Lena Dunham‘s stupid sexy $3.7 million book deal proposal and struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Because the thing is, I can’t decide how I feel about Lena. I really really like her show Girls, but I don’t always like that I like it, y’know? I think it’s really truthful and brave, and I really admire that, but I also feel like I’m kind of rewarding Lena’s infatuation with herself. Which she already gets enough help sustaining.

Speaking of which. This book proposal. Earlier this year, Lena submitted a 66-page proposal for a book she wanted to write called Not That Kind Of Girl, mimicking the old advice-style books written by women much older and wiser than she. Hers is much more irreverent, with chapters about losing her virginity and the diets she’s put herself on, and excerpts from a childhood journal. It’s not so much advice as it is sixty-six pages of awkward, quirky Lena Dunham trivia. And she was rewarded for this trivia compilation with an offer of a $3.7 million book deal. Which she promptly snapped up. Because duh.

And now Gawker somehow has access to said book proposal, and I skimmed it because I’m a masochist. And now I have some really confusing feelings. On the one hand, it’s frustrating to me that we’re encouraging this entitled twenty-something narcissist to be even more entitled and narcissistic. But what’s even more frustrating is that the work is actually really compelling. She’s so goddamn open with her thoughts and her feelings and her experiences that even though I’m cringing, I’m still interested to keep reading. Even though I’m mad that she’s successful and I’m not, I have to give her props for putting herself out there in a major way, and at the same time that I pseudo-resent her success, I actually have to give the media major props for rewarding it, unconventional as it is. I guess bottom line, I have a very confusing, human relationship with this woman whom I’ve never met, and it doesn’t get more compelling than that.


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    • Caroline

      I think what Lena Dunham has that the rest of us don’t is supreme confidence one usually sees only in men. She’s flat out convinced that if she feels it, so do the rest of us. She doesn’t buy into the inferiority we’re all supposed to feel for not looking anything like a super- model. She doesn’t buy into the stricture that you can’t be naked onscreen unless you’re perfect, or that women shouldn’t curse or talk about, well, all the things she talks about. She’s my hero. I wish I could be like her. Too late for me, I fear, but I hope many women follow her example.

    • Lastango

      Put your mind at rest. This is quid pro quo. Dunham made herself valuable to the Democratic Party and its constituencies, and she’s being rewarded for it. That’s how the system works. Someone who does enough can become, say, our ambassador in London or Paris.

      • Lastango

        I should add that the payoff is not just for services rendered; she’s also a valuable political asset for the future — the demographic she appeals to (young, single women) is growing in numbers, with no end in sight, and is critical to the Democrats’ success. So she’s going to be cultivated… doors will be opened, and favors will flow her way. Don’t be surprised if you get up one morning to read about her blockbuster movie role, Vogue spread, and circuit of exceptionally lucrative speaking engagements.

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