Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I’ve obviously only heard about Lena Dunham through the massive social media grapevine, and I’ll be honest, I did not take an interest to know more about her. I just knew that she probably is my age and hugely successful, and so I proceed to ignore her entire existence. I had no clue about her TV series – Girls, and still haven’t tried to watch an episode or two, and was supremely clueless when a fellow alumnus, whom I respect, praised her for her brand of feminism. But he has even spoken highly of Anuja Chauhan, so I may be questioning my judgement. But maybe, I’m, the one that’s clearly in the wrong.
So when I approached NTKoG, I did so platonically – I refused to get affected by the adulation showered on her.
I do like her style of writing, in certain parts of the book though. Sometimes, I don’t get certain phrases. Maybe it’s due to cultural differences. Also, I don’t understand why she must name a chapter – ‘I didn’t fuck them, but they yelled at me’! It may seem extremely cool to uses odd phrases to explain a rather simple situation, but it gets a tad overboard.
A few aspects of her essays resonate with me, especially the parts about bodies. Yes, we generally have/had disgust and hatred for the way our bodies have shaped out to be, refusing to budge an inch when we’re on some form of diet or exercise regime. The entire circus of blaming our largely shaped bodies on our thyroid glands, followed by a trip to the doc, tests, negative results, and we’re back to being blamed for being lazy.
Of course, when L says she can easily slip to get all her sex/nude scenes done, here I’ll cringe. That is NOT me! But a thumbs up to her. It takes courage to be comfortable in the skin you’re born with. I wish I was as comfortable with my body as she is with hers.
The part that hit me the most was the one on menstruation. Ugh. The pain, the cramps and the doubling over with every step, and when you cough, you can feel your vagina ‘squirting’ a little clotted blood – it’s gross and messy. The constant feeling if mushiness and dampness between your legs is unpleasant. I don’t care if this is the wonderful sign of womanhood, a symbol of my gynaecological health and the potential to create life – I say, to hell with it!
When L relates her childhood experiences, of spending time at gallery openings, talking to artists and activists alike, of being raised in such a liberal household, I wished I’d had a similar environ. Go for annual camps and spend time in the wilderness, sit around bonfires, roast marshmallows and relate stories, make friends, go to mixers and sleepovers – yes, I wish I’d been able to do all this.
But the one of the major aspects that left me impressed was how she developed her writing over the years, fiction, poetry, essays, plays – the works. And how, despite the mind-numbing job at the baby clothing store, she and her friends came up with the Delusional Downtown Divas. This is beyond commendable. I’ve never been committed to anything for beyond a day; I’ve the attention span of a goldfish. And so, I’ve rarely got anything done.
And thanks to L, one thing I realize, I’ve got to let me be me. I’ve to discard or distance myself from the person I became thanks to societal and familial pressures. For if I can’t really let myself discover the ‘unadulterated’ me, I’ll never know where I’m heading and with whom.