Lena Dunham Doesn’t Feel Guilty For Taking Up Space, And Neither Should You

lena dunham

This morning, as I went through my everyday routine of inspecting my hips in a full-length mirror to gauge which stretch marks look newest and which acne scars are most offensive in this lighting, my mind wandered to a quote from Girls. Lena Dunham‘s character is naked (naturally) and explaining her wide array of tattoos to a guy she’s with. “Truthfully, I gained a bunch of weight very quickly,” she says, “and I just felt very out of control of my own body. It was just this Riot Grrrl idea, like ‘I’m taking control of my own shape.’”

Say what you will about Dunham (actually, don’t bother– I don’t think it’s possible to contribute anything new to the discussion at this point), but that attitude is badass. That is a badass attitude.

Dunham recently sat down with Salon to discuss, among other things, how she feels about the way women are conditioned to feel guilty for taking up space. When asked how she overcame that guilt, Dunham gave a pretty awesome response:

You know, it’s funny, I think part of inquiry into that kind of stuff started when I entered into high school and went from being a really tiny kid to a chubby teenager and had to figure out how to handle that shift in my body. It’s interesting because I was looking at that transition and trying to figure out how to deal with my new body. It’s funny, I don’t know, maybe it’s a selfishness thing, but when there are only a few chairs or something, I’m never the person who is like, ‘I’ll stand.’ I always sit down, because I prize comfort highly.

A lot of people’s issues with Dunham stem from the fact that it’s difficult to mentally separate her from her character, but this is one time when I’m glad to see (privileged, self-centered, oblivious) Hannah Horvath come to life. I’d love to reach the point in my own self-confidence where I’d feel comfortable taking the last chair.

She goes on to praise Lily Myersviral slam poem, “Shrinking Women,” which flawlessly exposes the way boys are taught to “grow out” and girls are taught to “grow in.” Dunham says, ”I found it very moving, because she was asking a question that doesn’t get asked very often. It was really profound.” Indeed.

This isn’t a problem that’s going to disappear on its own, and it’s really good to see someone in a position of power working to expose it. Here’s hoping more women will feel encouraged to occupy space– unapologetically.

Via Salon / Photo: WENN

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    • Lindsey Conklin

      I really appreciate this, Lena!

    • over her

      She and Tavi are so annoying. Why are women so obsessed with weight. It’s really not that hard to get in shape. Honestly, if you really wanted to you could loose weight. Eating healthy and exercising does not cost anything extra. It’s all mental. They complain more than they work. She isn’t even fat! She looks totally normal to me. Even for Hollywood. If she lost even the slightest bit of weight due to illness or something she would loose her stance as an outsider thus her entire career. She has put herself in a box. The only stick thin people are runway models. What about girls with rosacea or eczema or excess body hair or vitiligo or alopecia. I mean that is hard emotionally and takes lots of money to resolve. Weight is a non-issue, sorry. You had your whole life to turn things around before it got to that point. Not everyone can afford laser hair removal.

      • Ell

        I agree with you 100%.