Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Don't We Want to See Lena Dunham Naked?

From The Week

"When watching Girls with a former boyfriend, he would roll his eyes when the nudity warning preceding the episode flashed across the scene. "Ugh, it's probably just Lena Dunham's butt," he said. I was annoyed by his callous and immature response, and that he didn't understand Dunham's purposeful use of her naked body. Sadly, he wasn't the only man who felt this way.
At a Girls panel at the Television Critics Association's winter conference, Tim Molloy at The Wrap asked Dunham why she appears nude so often, a fair question about her creative choices. But he did so in a fairly obnoxious way that revealed his own misunderstanding of the potential use for nudity on screen. He said to Dunham:

I don't get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you particularly. I feel like I'm walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they're doing it. They're doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.
Did Molloy not realize that his question would come off as him telling Dunham, "I am not sexually excited by the sight of your naked body, so why bother with it on TV?" Because that's how she, along with executive producers Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner, took it.

Dunham responded pretty curtly, suggesting she was insulted. "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."

So, one answer to Molloy's question about why Dunham is naked if not for the purpose of being sexually arousing is because the show is committed to a certain realism. And as Apatow later stated, "I have people naked when they're willing to do it." Not all the actresses on Girls are willing to be naked, but when they are, the show uses nudity to bring that extra touch of reality to their interactions.
But there is another layer to Dunahm's nudity. Some narrow-minded critics suggest that Dunham's body doesn't meet the conventional standards of hotness defined by the ladies of Game of Thrones, and as a result, she is the one who needs to justify why she appears naked.
But by appearing naked so frequently and so confidently — or better yet, nonchalantly — Dunham is making a huge statement to viewers who struggle with her nudity because they don't find it attractive. She isn't challenging them to change their notions of attractiveness, but as Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel pointed out, she is challenging them to question the way they use attractiveness to view a woman's behavior and what she deserves in life.

Link to the rest at The Week

I find it disturbing how annoyed people are with Lena Dunham's nudity. The fact that she's okay with her body seems to be a sin in the eyes of many. They are unwilling to see her if she doesn't meet their standard of beauty. She is defying the natural order - put your clothes on because we don't want to see how comfortable you are in your own skin. If we don't think you're sexy, then there is no point to your nudity. Your body should only be seen if we approve of it because it is for us to decide if you are beautiful - not you.

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