Jewish “Girls” Creator Lena Dunham at SXSW Rips Hollywood, Ratings and Republicans - The Jewish Voice
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Jewish “Girls” Creator Lena Dunham at SXSW Rips Hollywood, Ratings and Republicans

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 In her keynote speech at this year's SXSW conference, the
In her keynote speech at this year’s SXSW conference, the
Lena Dunham, the 27-year-old creator of the HBO series “Girls,” was a featured speaker at this year’s Austin-based SXSW festival, where she riveted the crowd with her sharp criticism of Hollywood’s treatment of women.

Haaretz reported that Dunham discussed her entrance into the entertainment industry, where, she said, she was glad to work in a place that allowed women to act and express themselves. She even cited the actresses Mindy Kaling, Claire Danes and Julia Louis-Dreyfus − who, she said, are doing the best work of their careers – as examples.

“[Hollywood] is a world where women are typecast and men can play villains, Lotharios, nerds in one calendar year. Something has to change, and I’m trying.”

This is coming full circle for Dunham, since her first film “Creative Nonfiction” was first screened at the SXSW Festival in 2009. The festival, which is an annual set of film, interactive and musical performances and conferences, has evolved since its initial 1987 festival  into Austin’s signature event and an industry standard as well. According to Haaretz, she spoke about the first time she was accepted to the esteemed event.

“I almost fainted, and the joy and disbelief were so wonderful and so massive that I remember just having one of those very rare and exciting ‘first day of the rest of my life’ feelings. And I’ll never forget where I was: I was sitting with two little boys I babysat, waiting for their piano lessons to start. Actually, I was helping one with his math worksheet while the other played ‘Jailhouse Rock’ really badly. And I was so happy that I started to smile and cry at once. And I listened to the message over and over, and then the little boy who was sitting next to me stabbed me really hard with a mechanical pencil. And I was like, ‘Why did you do that? What happened?’ And he said, ‘I hate to see you smile.’”

Dunham said several things were important to her in her career, Haaretz reported. “I want to make people laugh. I want to be of service to the causes that are dear to me and be an agent of change specifically for women and girls, and on a purely selfish level, I want to continually challenge myself to grow as an artist.”

The things she does not care about include ratings. “HBO would like me to feel differently [but] I never expected to have a television show, and now that I do, I never expected to have one with blockbuster ratings. It’s enough to have the platform,” she said, explaining that hre goals as an artist are her focus over ratings.

In addition to ratings, other dislikes rank high on Dunham’s list, including Republicans (“I’m sure there are some really great ones, but I haven’t met them”); “all of Deadline Hollywood, especially the commentators; and male comedians saying women aren’t funny.” And wrinkles.

What Dunham sometimes cares about, she told the crowd, include “Twitter replies, fashion blogs and calories, Dunham reported.


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