The Real Reason Lena Dunham Is Sick of Talking About ‘Girls' Nudity

January should be an exciting time for Lena Dunham, the millennial powerhouse behind HBO series Girls. Her show got picked up for a fourth season before the third even premiered, she’s got a book in the works and her boyfriend and buddy Taylor Swift were nominated for a joint Golden Globe (hey, we can be happy for our significant others and still call ourselves good feminists!).

The last few years have been crazy and thrilling for the 27-year-old New Yorker, but she’s weathered a lot of backlash since the release of Girls, so when she had an aggressive exchange with a reporter last week, it wasn’t much of a shock.

At a TCA panel on Thursday, Tim Molloy broached the subject of nudity on Girls, asking Dunham directly, “I don’t get the purpose of all of the nudity on the show, by you particularly, and I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you go, ‘Nobody complains about the nudity on ‘Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they are doing it… They are doing it to be salacious and, you know, titillate people. And your character is often naked just at random times for no reason.”

Dunham, who has been hearing this question in some form for years, didn’t feel like answering in a PC way, as the inquiry itself wasn’t phrased in the most elegant manner either:

“Yeah. It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals.”

Some have argued Dunham and executive producer Judd Apatow, who went on to ask whether Molloy has a girlfriend, handled the question with needless hostility. Sure they could have been polite and moved on, but the truth is Lena Dunham has been met with the same criticism since 2012 and she’s ready to talk about other aspects of her passion project. Why is nudity the most interesting thing anyone gets out of a multifaceted program like Girls? Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, you can’t deny there’s a lot more going on than Lena Dunham’s breast shots.

One of the greatest luxuries of all is having the freedom to walk around without clothes on. Pants are uncomfortable, bras are “boob jail” and even shirts can feel itchy and oppressive. There’s something liberating about sitting around with no pants on, and Hannah’s character embraces this when she doesn’t feel like working or just wants to catch up with her BFFs in the bathtub. Lena Dunham isn’t choosing to be naked to repulse anyone or even prove a point about the female body depiction in pop culture. She’s just trying to say that it’s freeing to be naked in the privacy of your own home, whether you’re in the company of your significant other, a close friend or just yourself.

Since its debut in 2012, Girls has been nominated for more than a dozen awards, covered all over the internet and embraced by everyone from Mia Farrow to James Franco. Dunham, who even got to do an event with the incomparable David Sedaris last winter, has had a busy few years, so when the third season of her show is about to air and she’s still being reminded that her boobs aren’t welcome on some TV screens, it makes sense that she’d act a little annoyed. Ask an original question, because this one is painfully boring.

Featured image via Salon

  • Caroline Jeffery

    the reporters question also WREAKS of female objectification. “Games of Thrones does it to be salacious (and i’m assuming that means he likes it), but on your show it is not (he doesn’t like it)” is basically just code for “your body is worth very little to me if i’m not turned on by it.” as if there is no other way to portray a women’s body other than as eye candy. WOOF.

  • Michelle Adams

    I haven’t seen the show “Girls” and have heard mostly good things about this. I have missed your articles Laura! I am glad that she isn’t hiding the fact about nudity in her show. I may have to find it on the internet (we don’t have HBO) someplace.

  • Kristine H. Malicse

    I just think her nudity is a bigger deal for her because she doesn’t fit society’s idea of beautiful. Cable shows like Sex and the City show a lot of nudity and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on local TV can get away with the nudity and wearing close to nothing because the women are considered hot and sexy. Plus, nudity should be something people are desensitized to by now, so I don’t see why Lena’s breasts are that big of a deal to begin with.

    • Ian Cook


  • Hannah

    It’s sad when people cannot see a beautiful thing when it is right in front of them. GIRLS is the best-written show I have ever seen. These people that only care about the “scandal” of nudity is why brilliant shows like these get cancelled. Lena Dunham is so talented, let her do her thing so we can all enjoy it.

  • Laura Murrocu

    I really like the realness of the nudity in Girls. Like walking around in your undies when at home. It’s not always a pretty sight, not all bodies are perfect but at least it’s real. That’s something I appreciate more than anything.

  • Stephanie Archibald

    What BS. So nudity of a woman can only be shown in a purely sexual manner otherwise it’s worthless and pointless? How utterly disgusting and sexist. No wonder Dunham got angry. Personally I find Game of Thrones much more offensive as I feel it sexualises incest, rape and molestation.

  • Andyrea Meza

    Have you seen her on the cover of Vogue for next months issue? Beautiful!

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