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Lena Dunham harassed by misogynist director: “You would show anything. Even your a**hole”

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Kayleigh Dray
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As the creator, writer, and star of Girls – often hailed as the grittier, modern-day answer to Sex And The City - Lena Dunham has become something of a feminist icon.

In the critically acclaimed show, we often see her challenge difficult, sometimes taboo topics, such as abortion, masturbation, and infidelity - and appear naked on numerous occasions.

As Dawn O’Porter described it to Stylist: “Her countless nude scenes are not about the fact that she isn’t a size six with perfect boobs. She is just a girl who plays a girl.

“Hannah doesn’t go on about her body, it’s so refreshing and as a result, way more powerful than what society has become used to seeing from women on TV.”



However, while her decision to strip off has been lauded by many for tackling the issue of what women are expected to look and act like on television, it apparently recently caused a misogynist director to feel as if he had the right to show her photos of a sexual nature.

Girls producer and co-showrunner Jenni Konner recounted the incident for the most edition of their Lenny Letter newsletter, expressing her disgust at the unnamed man.

Explaining how he “cornered” the actress and showed her an “iPhone photo of a mutual friend with a cock next to her face”, Konner went on to reveal how the director harangued Dunham into helping him to persuade another actress to go nude on screen.

“The director asked Lena to have dinner alone the following night with an actress on the show he works on. Not because he thought they should meet, but because he wanted Lena to persuade the actress to ‘show her tits, or at least some vag’ on TV.

“Surely Lena could make a compelling argument. After all, he continued, ‘You would show anything. Even your asshole.’”

Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner

Lena Dunham with Girls producer Jenni Konner

Konner added: “This is something a man felt compelled to say to a Golden Globe-winning actor, showrunner, and best-selling author who just happens to be female.

“So it's easy to speculate what might be said to women working with him, under him, dependent on his approval.”



Konner, anticipating the comments that her essay would provoke, explained that working on “one of the filthiest shows” is completely different to marching up to a stranger and subjecting them to an uncomfortable conversation.

“The writers’ room is a space where creative people need to feel safe taking chances,” she explained. “This man approached a woman at a social gathering and asked her to help convince an actor to show her tits.

“It’s another planet.”



Konner noted that this was not the first time that Dunham had faced such sexist conduct, insisting that it is “fairly common with strangers”.

She explained that the majority of people do not even realise that they are being inappropriate, and that their comments usually stem from nervousness and their desire to make a connection with someone that they feel they know intimately from watching them on television.

But, despite this, Konner insists that it is time for women to speak out and help to put a stop to the rampant behaviour.

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

“It's not enough to be mad. It's not enough to know it's wrong. When we share, we unlock other women's stories, and suddenly secrets don't seem so necessary.

“The only thing standing between men and outdated, hideous behaviour is their ability to get away with it.”

You can read her full essay, titled Our Voices Are Our Superpower, here.

Images: Rex Pictures, Instagram

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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