Relationships

Lena Dunham Gives Great Advice.

Lena Dunham’s much-anticipated book, Not That Kind of Girl, comes out next Tuesday.

To celebrate the book’s release, Lena made twelve short videos, in which she answers fans’ personal questions. They’re brilliant; she comes across as intelligent, empathetic and so, so kind.

1. On dressing provocatively:

2. On being plus size:

3. On toxic friends:

4. On sleeping with bad people:

5. On being an insecure writer:

6. On dealing with OCD:

7. On bullies:

8. On having bad sex:

9. On dating someone who doesn’t make you laugh:

10. On a fear of death:

11. On jealousy:

12. On being too loud:

Will you read the book? The New York Times gave it a glowing review, and Lena, reflecting on her tumultuous past, says: “I can never be who I was…I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.”

P.S. A Q&A with the costume designer of Girls, and Mindy Kaling’s friendship advice.

  1. Great advice. I enjoyed the read and got a lot out of it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes! Just yesterday her interview with Terry Gross on NPR was so interesting that I was late to class because I stayed in my car!

  3. I think Lena is darling and, up until I watched the “Too Loud” video, I was thinking I would definitely buy her book. Here is why I waver. In the first video I watched she discusses how, as feminists, we need to embrace women who make choices that we might not make for ourselves. Great! I’m all in!
    In the “Too Loud” video, she reveals that she screamed, “I hate Republicans” on the street one day. Wait. What? This is OK? I am a Republican woman who is left scratching her head, and feeling bad about a girl who I thought could be my daughters best friend.(metaphorically speaking, of course).
    Walk the walk, Lena. Then I’ll buy your book, because I still think you are pretty cool, even though you hate me.

  4. LOVE. Lena Dunham is amazing and hilarious. I also love reading your blog, Jo.

    Amber
    20somethingfashion.blogspot.com

  5. I so enjoyed seeing who she is in this way. And I agree, Joanna, she’s so kind (and insightful). Thank you for sharing.

  6. I’m starting to buy the Lena Dunham hype. I’ve been on the fence with Girls (it’s not my generation), but ever since Mindy Kaling talked about her glowingly on Howard Stern last week, I’ve been kind of like, OK, I guess she’s legit. So, in conclusion: I will believe anything Mindy Kaling tells me.

    <a href=”http://www.mommysanest.com>Lou @ Mommy Sanest</a>

  7. oh and I forgot to add, I think people do not like her because shes “real” shes not acting or anything and no she doesn’t need to grow up have anyone heard of “this is who I am?” personality. Obviously shes grown to give advice of what shes been through, but still herself and have accepted who she is. That’s the type of growth that’s needed in all of us. That’s why I always get confused when dealing with people who are negative.Mindy is another example of this, shes a lot like Lena and its because they let no one defy them.People find things horrible because they do not fit up to their par, so it is the whole they need to grow up thing. Maybe shes not the one who has a problem. Also Ms. Jo I hope the negative comments didn’t damper your spirit. Keep doing what you do. xxx

  8. I cant wait until my book arrives shes so witty and she speaks truth. I know people are all upset political wise but hey its how she feels. Love her to death!!!!. shes too adorable. im so glad you posted this.

  9. Love this. Love her! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I already purchased her book last month from Amazon, patiently awaiting its arrival!

  10. Her politics are her own. I too am a fiscal republican but a social democrat. I think it is incredible that there is a young woman who is out there willing to be herself, and honest. Too bad she’s such a great actor. I would love her to mentor my daughters.

  11. Love her. Want to be her friend. Want to be ‘that’ friend. Thanks for posting!

  12. Very impressed! Her advice was very insightful and spot on. Thanks for posting

  13. absolutely love this! can’t wait for the book :)))
    xo, cheyenne

  14. slip4 – I hope when your daughter is in a loving committed relationship and wants to practice family planning that she CAN afford to pay for her own birth control. Sometimes I wonder if everyone thinks that those who use birthcontrol are only single. Married/committed people also want to control their fertility. And not everyone can afford to pay for birthcontrol that isn’t covered by insurance.

  15. I have to say that she comes across as very wise and empathetic, but I don’t really think that she is. As someone who has different beliefs than her, I find it SO hard to believe that she’d be accepting of my views. In her first clip she says that being a feminist means respecting what other women think even if you wouldn’t think or do the same. Kind of a crock if you ask me. And as funny as it may be that she says she shouted loudly “I hate Republicans”, it’s actually quite disgusting. I have plenty of liberal friends and I am (gasp!) a Republican. We don’t hate each other, we respect each other and listen to our differing views with the intent of learning from one another and maybe inspiring change. Practice what you preach, Lena. As a woman and a human being I am saddened that she is so glorified here. I love this blog and don’t have to agree with everything you put up, but want to make it clear that we all can have different beliefs AND be respected for them – and maybe actually walking the walk instead of just talking the talk.

  16. I tried to like Girls, I really did, but for me there were just too many cringe moments (when the characters are being obnoxious, spoiled, entitled, self-absorbed, etc.) sprinkled in among the very funny moments. I wasn’t interested in her book, but I thought what the heck, if Joanna loves Lena, then I’ll watch maybe just one of these videos. Oh my, was I ever pleasantly surprised. Count me a fan now. What a sweetie she is, and so wise beyond her years. A lot of pain went into helping her develop that wisdom, I’m sure, so I’m sorry for that, but look how much good she can do now with that wisdom. Her book, assuming it’s as good as I think it will be, would make a terrific gift for high school or college girls. Just a thought. Anyway, thanks for sharing these, Joanna! I’m really glad you did.

  17. These are fun! I’m cracking up over “I bought a see through rain dress. I don’t have a lot of places to wear it. But I’m gonna.”

  18. I haven’t been much of a Lena Dunham fan since she did that distasteful ad for Obama in 2012. I think I’ll be giving her book a pass.

  19. She has really won me over. As a 38 year old I feel weird taking advice from a 25 year old! I wish there was someone like this around when I was younger.

    Best quote:
    “Make a fatty to-do list and hit that shit hard.”

  20. I wish this was written instead of having the answers provided via clips. I might be silly but I don’t like to watch stuff online. I want to read. Like, choosing the book over the movie you know.

  21. She sounds really great, funny AND smart AND compassionate, yay Lena!

  22. Yes, I agree! She gives great advice. I’m quite impressed with the way she can give such thoughtful comments in a few sentences, being funny and sincere at once. I also love how she gives a shout-out to the “unfunny girlfriend”!
    I look forward to reading the book (and perhaps discussing it with you)!
    Love from Berlin, xx

  23. Ok, I’m sorry this doesn’t have anything to do with the above topic, but since you mentioned Mindy, have you SEEN the first and second episode of the third season of The Mindy Project??

    Super funny, sweet, and sexy! I’m obsessed!! :D

  24. Agree with Slip4’s comment. I’m not a fan. I have a young daughter (she’s only 10), but I hope she respects her body/self more than this.

  25. LOVE these videos, love her, can’t wait for the book. Thanks for posting – I live under a rock, and wouldn’t have seen these otherwise.

  26. As much as I want to dislike Lena, I CANNOT! She is so freaking awesome again and again.

    Love these videos. Thank you for sharing!!

    xx,
    Jackie
    http://thejedition.blogspot.com

  27. The combination of humor and humility was stunning in such a charming way. I cheer her success all the time and mostly, I hope she continues to be a role model for many young women to come. I will buy the book for me and my daughter. Cheers Lena!

  28. Ahhh, I love her oh so much! These are awesome vids. I think I’ll pre-order the book right meow.

    6000milestohome.blogspot.com

  29. Maybe I’m just the right demographic for her age-wise, but I fall in love with Lena a little bit more every time I hear or read something from her.

    She’s just so well-spoken, self-possessed, and grounded. She is everything I want to be.

    Even when she talks about things that I would never share with my friends, much less the public, her candidness removes all doubt that she’s just doing it for shock value.

    And on a superficial level, she reminds me that personality wins over objective physical beauty…eventually. I used to (sometimes still do) measure myself against females, “oh she’s prettier, but I’m smarter, oh she’s smarter, but i’m prettier, darn that girl is smarter AND prettier.” It’s a cliche, but I learned to value myself, as a person, not as a bunch of traits. I have something to contribute.

    Oh it’s frustrating being judged by your looks and exhausting winning people over, but it just goes to show, the people that bother to see you as a human beyond their gut reactions towards your physicality are the people worth your time in the long run anyhow.

  30. I love these videos! I’ve already ordered the book and can’t wait to read it! I hope she will continue to do these videos.

  31. #1 what a genius way to promote her book
    And I put my name on the library list a couple weeks ago, yet I have a feeling it will still be awhile…
    I’m excited though!

  32. Thank you for posting this!! I loved every second of it and this was exactly what I needed to see tonight. She is just so amazing, so original, and so genuine and basically brilliant. I am obsessed with her. Just preordered her book because I really need to have it and devour it the second it comes out. Saw that an earlier commenter said that she reads the audiobook…that would be great because her voice and mannerisms just add to the whole package.

  33. Agree with @Claire and @slip4 — It’s good to see the world embracing an unconventional beauty/wit, but she still has some growing up to do. (Who doesn’t in their 20s?!) Her interview on Marc Maron, especially, reminded me she’s still very much a celebrity persona. In 20 years I think I’ll be a fan.

  34. “I wish you luck in your journey of self love and acceptance….and i’m attracted to you”

    These are gracious, hilarious and most importantly well thought out and honestly smart.

    Well done, Lena and thank you Joanna for posting all of them up here :)

    Makes me want to get the book.

  35. I guess I’m the only one, but for some reason she’s just never appealed to me. I find her annoying, rather than approachable, and could never get past the first season of “Girls” which had me cringing. I do like many of the ideas she stands for, but Lena just doesn’t do it for me. I love Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler, though!

  36. This was an eye-opening post. Thanks for sharing the videos. Lena Dunham’s responses are so intelligent and insightful. I do want to read her book!

  37. I am NOT a Lena fan, but I found some of these snippets to have good advice. Call me old-fashioned, but I am not happy with the free sex, especially with guys you aren’t serious with, everything is OK. I have a 22 year old daughter and I hope that she will love herself enough to not sleep with every person she goes out with. And I have raised her to not expect other people to pay for her birth control. Thank you for sharing this post, as I enjoyed quite a bit of Lena’s advice. I love your blog!

  38. Am I the only one horrified by how much they photoshopped her in that photo?

  39. Love her! Ordered the audio book which she reads herself, can’t wait!

  40. It’s snippets like these that make me wish that Lena Dunham (and the bazillion other intelligent, empathetic, and generous women in this world) could be one of my co-workers/best friends who I see on a daily basis. I’m so glad you shared these!

  41. Love these! And love Lena! Thanks for sharing.

    PS: Her intro….it’s just the best.

  42. She’s perfect. Love her.

  43. So excited for her and to read her book. As a woman in my early twenties it is so so wonderful to see more female media personalities than ever before being ” true to their nature”, honest and strong, empathetic and intelligent. I really do wish she had been around as she is now 10 years ago – I’d probably have a completely different opinion of myself!

  44. Wow that quote stuck right to my insides. I’ll be reading for sure!

    dakota barber
    stateandoccupation.com

  45. You know, I didn’t really like her all that much before, but after reading her pieces in the New Yorker and some interviews, she’s growing on me. In these videos, she really comes off like your best friend. I just don’t like the way she talks. Too many women my age talk in lilting voices where everything sounds like a question and I hate when anyone does that high and low thing where they start out at one pitch and gradually move to a lower one. It’s as if you only think part of what you said is important enough for someone to hear you!

  46. Wow-these were great! Just watched all of them. can’t wait for the book.

  47. This is so addictive. I kept saying just one more then bed, okay one more!

  48. Soy fan de las mujeres fuertes que luchan por la igualdad. Gracias Joanna porque demuestras que eres una de ellas en todos tus artículos.

    Un abrazo.

  49. I adore how simultaneously honest and hilarious she is. Her advice is all so well founded. I especially liked her advice on relationships and jealousy. Can’t wait to read her book in one sitting.

    Lena Dunham, you should do a TED talk.

  50. I pre-ordered it, so it will be automatically downloaded next Tuesday. So looking forward to it!

  51. So glad to see this side of her creativity and personality. I laughed out loud at ,”running around Brooklyn in a romper and it was raining men”.

  52. I’ve had it pre-ordered for months. I’m a huge Lena Dunham fan. Yes for feminism! @MidwestAcess

  53. I can’t wait for her book to come out – I have a ticket to see her on her book tour next Thursday in Boston and am so looking forward to it!! Her pieces in the New Yorker (previews and excerpts of some of the chapters) have been hilarious and poignant.