INTERVIEW // Lena Dunham
„The only way to be female is to just be yourself“

09.12.2014 Menschen, box3

lena dunham interview not that kind of girlEs ist elf Uhr, mein Herz rummst so granatenmäßig, dass meine Füße auf dem Gaspedal nervös auf und ab wippen, ich bin ein bisschen bleich und ein spontaner Moment des Erbrechens scheint mir gar nicht mal so weit entfernt. Wir werden gleich Lena treffen. Die Fußgänger auf dem Zebrastreifen wittern nicht die leisteste Gefahr, sie glotzen bloß frech, weil ich ins Leere starre, während eine meiner Gehirnhälften noch immer um das Blaumachen pokert. Oder das Armbrechen. Oder das Untertauchen. Wir werden gleich Lena treffen. Sarah kurbelt die Scheibe runter, ziemlich hastig, wegen der Schnappatmung, die erst sie und dann auch mich etwas rot werden lässt. Auch das noch. Wir sind gleich da. Ich möchte rauchen, obwohl ich Nichtraucher bin.

Das Stue Hotel ist schön und skandinavisch und herrschaftlich, man bettet uns auf Designermöbel und wir warten unendliche zehn Minuten lang. Wir sehen einen Vogel Strauß und zweifeln an unserer geistigen Konstitution, aber da war wirklich einer, ein Vogel Strauß, nicht drinnen, aber draußen, man sah ihn durch das Fenster gegenüber. Noch fünf Minuten. Wir vergessen all unsere Fragen und fragen uns stattdessen selbst, ob das jetzt echtes Fantum ist, weil professionell ist das nicht, sich gegenseitig an der Hand zu halten vor Nervosität. Ihr könnt dann jetzt reinkommen.

Lena Dunham ist genau so wie man sich Lena Dunham vorstellt, nämlich einhundert Prozent Lena Dunham. Ganz klein, aber gewaltig groß, laut und herzlich und überhaupt nicht unnahbar. Als wir um die Ecke biegen, springt sie von ihrem Stuhl auf, mit ausgebreiteten Armen, um uns zu drücken wie man Freunde drückt, nur dass wir keine Freunde sind, sondern das vierte Journalisten-Team an diesem Tag. Ich schenke ihr einen Origami-Elefanten, weil mir nichts besseres einfiel und ich glaube sie freut sich, denn sie gluckst. In den kommenden 15 Minuten wird sie noch häufiger glucksen und an ihrem Ohr ziehen und lächeln und fragen, ob wir nochwas trinken wollen. Lena ist nicht nur ein Regie- und Schreib-Genie, sie ist noch dazu ein mordsmäßiger Obersüßbold mit oberviel Hirn und oberguten Ansichten. #fangirls forever.


  Oh my god you have a 6plus!

Yes! It’s a monster mobile phone. But anyways, let’s talk about your book „Not that kind of girl„. You put the subtitle ‚A young woman tells you what she’s „learned“‘ in quotation marks – because it possibly might feel a bit strange to give advice to mid twenties as a mid twenty?

Definitely! I mean as a mid twenty person it’s strange enough to say that you’ve learned anything at all. But at the same time I´ve really learned things. But I’ve learned them trough disaster. So I just tried to express that I’m not a perfect role model and that the things I’ve learned I’ve only sort of learned.

Do you anyways see yourself as a „role model“, too?

You know, I am sharing my thoughts but I never tell anybody exactly what I think they should do. I’m always trying to just say „This has worked for me and this is what I’ve enjoyed, but there’s a lot of different ways to be a woman.“ And that’s a lot what is this book about.

It’s also about not being perfect – which may be another reason why people label you „the voice of a new generation“. To be honest, every time this generation-topic is served I get a bit bored about all those categorizations: Generation Y, Generation Internship…

I think the mistake people make is saying that our generation is one single thing at all, because it’s so broad and so diverse and so global. And we’re all connected by social media, on every single continent. I think what connects us is that we really care about things and care about change and that we’re trying to live in a new way.

quote lena dunhamAnd in a very own way! I mean why do people seriously care about your short skirts? In general I can’t bear stupidity like slut shaming any more. Some girls really think being a feminist means „Don’t give your heart to a boy, never say you actually like cooking and above all stop being sexy.“

The problem is that there is not one specific kind of feminism. Feminism should allow us to be women in all different ways and there is no one right way to be female. The only way to be female is to just be yourself. You can be a feminist who wears a short skirt and you can be feminist who wears overalls everyday. Part of being a feminist is giving other women the space to make choices you don’t necessarily agree with. 

Was it you who once said „If today someone says „I´m not a feminist“, I want to lay down on the floor and scream and cry“?  If so, I totally feel you.

I totally do feel that way! And I also feel that if they say something like this, they just don’t know what feminism really means. It means you believe in equal opportunities.

I truly believed in equal opportunities until I gave birth to a baby boy two months ago.

What? Look at you now! Congratulations! What’s his name? Oh wee!
quote lena dunham
Lio Jonathan. Thank you! But what I wanted to say is that I really started to ask myself if something like true equality really can exist as long as I am the one feeding the baby with my own breast and stuff. I mean it’s pure biology.

 It’s really complicated. What we have to do as a society is to support women. To acknowledge what they’re dealing with as mothers and to put structures in place to actually support them. Because I think the problem now is that as a working mother – because of the fact that your body is feeding the baby – you’re naturally in the position not being able to just do whatever you want. I’m pretty sure your boyfriend does. He can go to work for as many hours as he wants, because he doesn’t have to worry about making sure that Leo is getting fat. He cares, but he can’t literally physical do anything. Even if he wanted! So rather than pretend that reality doesn’t exist, what we need to do is to make place for women who have child care in the work place or extended payed maternity leave or opportunities to get the kind of support they need, not to be expected to handle it all and hide that it’s hard.

Exactly. Sometimes the new emancipation kind of feels fake to me. We do have the freedom. But we also do have the pressure to be everything at the same time: Business chick, mummy, girlfriend, friend, intellectually stimulating and so on…

 It is a new kind of pressure. And I hear all those women in the U.S. say „I have a baby and I went to work after two weeks and I did this and I did that.“ Then I’m like: But you shouldn’t be expected to go back to work after one week because we should live in a society that understands that as much as you love your job, once you had a baby you need the resources to take care of that baby. And you need to be able to do that as long as you need before returning to  your job – without being afraid that you’re not gonna have a career any more. That’s a real big problem.
quote lena dunham
Lena, tell me something: Is it realistic to stop comparing yourself to others? Because for me, that’s maybe the ultimate key to luck and satisfaction.

 I think it’s always hard. Because life is looking at what other people have and using it as a model to decide what you want and that’s one of the great challenges of being human and being alive. At the end of the day I think we can’t expect to never look to others. But we can become more satisfied with our own reality. It’s always better to use your energy to focus on your own work and own goals instead of focussing on others and try to analyze what they got and how they got it.

Have you ever been jealous?

It’s funny. I haven’t ever been a jealous person. I have so many problems and so many issues in my brain. But that’s not the big one. 

And you have the same therapist since you’ve been nine years young! Did she become a friend during all this time?

No! We never see each other anywhere but during the therapy! I once invited her to a reading, but she said „No, thank you“. She said „That’s inappropriate. I can’t come to your reading, you have to stop asking me!“. And once I asked „Can I take a picture of you?“ and she said „NOO“.

That’s mean!

 Well. She has really good boundaries, much better boundaries than I have. Which is good! 

What about your own privacy? While reading the book, I felt like you’re telling us EVERYTHING. Did you give up privacy as part of your therapy and maybe also somehow to help others with your story or is it just a Zeitgeist-thingy to be as open as you are?

The complicated thing about privacy is that I want to be up the share what I believe and the realities of my life. But I don’t necessarily want other people to poke around and make assumptions about me. You can always have it your way. And so I have to accept, that when I share my stuff and things about my life, other people might feel entitled to talk about it. And I can’t control what they do – that’s basically the hard complicated thing about it.

Do you get angry sometimes? I mean do you even read it?

I try not to, but, well. Do you read all your comments?

I wish I wouldn’t.

Yes it can be hard and painful sometimes and I do get angry. But I try to protect myself.

Ok, let’s go back to fun things. In my head, every single GIRLS actor is so authentic that I truly started to believe that there can’t be any difference between their roles and their real life personality. I mean Zosia Mamet – she must be exactly like Shoshanna! And what about Jessa?

Zosia is not at all like Shoshanna!

No way! Lalala, I don’t wanna hear it!

No, she is just like a cool hipster girl with tattoos, someone who is chilled. Jemima and Allison are both a lot like Jessa and Marni – but more enjoyable versions. Jemima is a mother and she is responsible. And Allison is like if Marni was less annoying. But they are pretty close to their characters.

Do you like Hanna?

I love her! I love playing her, I mean she can definitely be annoying and crazy, but yes, I love her.

Would you be her friend in real life?

Yeah, but I don’t think she’d like me.


She’d be jealous!

Because she isn’t able to work hard?

Sure. And she’d think I was a bitch and stuck up. So no. She totally wouldn’t wanna hang out with me. 

 Lena, at the end of the second season, it’s Adam who safes you. Why on earth wasn’t it Jessa? Would’t it have been a stronger statement?

It’s interesting and complicated at the same time! Well, Adam saved Hanna, but Hanna also kind of saved Adam from himself and then they also have a relationship that is really destructive. So even if we have that romantic comedy ending of that episode, that wasn’t the truth of the entire series. That was just one romantic moment. Just like we all have romantic moments – And then you find out two weeks later that your boyfriend is just clinically insane. In fact a guy who basically insulted someone only two episodes ago and who is an after hole and anonymous alcoholic is now going to pick up a mentally deranged girl out of the bed – so if you really analyze it, it’s not quite as romantic as it appears. And Jessa is too selfish to save anyone, I’m sorry. She’s not a very good friend!
Yes, I can tell.

In real life Jemima is a real good friend! Every time I give her the script she is like „Why is this character such a bitch and why are you making me do so many horrible things?“

Isn’t it sometimes very hard to constantly be surrounded by such great and talented people? How do you stay true to yourself while moving around in this golden world?

There is nothing better in the world than having talented friend, it’s just the most wonderful thing. I have so many friends I trust and I can reach out to at every given point and this is amazing and what keeps me down the ground. 

Your opinion about social freezing?

I heard that it’s such a topic here in Germany! In my opinion everything that gives women more choices is great.  Some women do it because they have a disease, some do it, because they are not yet with the person they feel comfortable having a family with. No matter what, it’s a great thing.

So it wasn’t a big thing in the U.S.?

No, not in the same way. People can freeze in their eggs for a while there.
What was the debate here?

People basically just asked why your boss would rather pay for frozen eggs than caring for the opportunity to have kids and a career at the same time.

Well they definitely should give women the opportunity. But let´s face it: I, for example, do have a lot of friends who are maybe 35 and single, but of course they still want to have children some day, so they’re freezing their eggs. We also shouldn’t forget about women who are maybe fighting cancer or something like that. And I do have endometrial. So, there are lots of reasons to do it beyond, but actually we should give women this option AND the support that they need to be mothers at the time that they want.


Ok cool, maybe we should ask something about fashion, as we run a fashion blog, huh? Didn’t even think about it till now.

Girls, this is funny.

I mean, you always dress so great and look so cute. In my opinion.

This is so nice of you to say – not everybody agrees with you! But I love having fun with fashion, I love wearing things that are playful and energetic and make me laugh. And for me these are the great requirements of fashion. It’s not about always looking like the most sexy woman in the world. I love your eyeliner. Is that your signature?

Yes! I stopped doing it for some reason, but now I’m back on track.

Love it. This was so much fun. Should we take a picture of the three of us?

YES! Aber Sarah, was muss ich jetzt machen? Ich hab’s so Angst, die Aufnahme zu löschen. 

10808988_869286989758601_1259107349_nEnde gut, alles gut, Lena happy, wir auch.

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL – A young woman tells you what she’s „learned““ ist im Fischer Verlag erschienen und ab sofort hier erhältlich.

17 Kommentare

  1. Anna

    Großartig! Was für eine Situation, mit dieser Aufregung vorher! (Was ist das mit dem Vogelstrauß? Das habe ich nicht verstanden…) Das kann ich gut verstehen, mir wäre es da genauso oder nein, viel schlimmer gegangen. Ihr habt echt Mut bewiesen. Lena Dunham klingt tatsächlich sympathisch und es klingt auch überhaupt nicht nach den koordinierten Interviews mit Stars, die man sonst so liest, ihr konntet ja anscheinend echt alles fragen, was ihr wolltet. Bei der Frau hätte ich aber auch vergessen, nach der Mode zu fragen 🙂
    Ich finde es total super, dass ihr als gesellschaftlich sehr reflektierter Blog dahin zum Interview eingeladen wurdet und nicht nur die größeren Zeitschriften, von denen einige daraus sicherlich ziemlich langweilige Interviews fabriziert hätten…

    1. Kathi

      Ihr Lieben, tausend Dank für das Interview! Ich, als riesiger Lena-Fan, hätte wahrscheinlich keinen vernünftigen Ton rausgebracht.. Schon das ZEITmagazin-Gespräch hat mich sehr fasziniert, da sie so wahnsinnig authentisch ist. Besonders beeindruckt hat mich auch, dass sie trotz der teilweise sehr ernst zu nehmenden Themen, wie etwa die Feminismus-Debatte, den Grad von intelligentem Kommentar und typischer Lena-Humor-Aussage fabelhaft meistern kann. All das spiegelt euer Interview perfekt wieder! Und sehr sympathisch, dass ihr die Mode bei all den spannenden Gesprächsthemen nur ganz zum Schluss noch flüchtig dazuwürfelt. Ich bin eh pro mehr gesellschaftskritischer Texte eurerseits – die gelingen euch einfach immer zu gut! <3

  2. Laura

    Ein wirklich tolles Interview! <3 Ich selbst konnte zum zweiten Termin der Lesereise ja leider nicht nach Berlin kommen, weshalb ich mich über diesen detaillierten Einblick natürlich umso mehr freue. Eure Aufregung kann ich nur zu gut nachvollziehen. In meinen Augen ist Lena Dunham bei aller Kritik, die ihr in den letzten Wochen entgegengeschlagen sein mag, einfach eine der grandiosesten Personen unserer Zeit. Sie ist eine Frau, die nicht dem herrschenden Schönheitsideal entspricht und trotzdem eine Angst hat, sich modisch auszutoben. Zwei Dinge, die in unserer Gesellschaft ja leider sehr oft gegeneinander gestellt werden. Sie verhält sich absolut weiblich und hat dabei gleichzeitig keine Angst, offen zu zeigen, wie viele (relevante) Gedanken ihr im Kopf herumzugehen. Das ist endlich einmal das, was für mich wahren Feminismus ausmacht. Sich in keiner Weise in irgendeine Art von Korsett pressen zu lassen, sondern schlichtweg zu sagen, so bin ich, mit all meinen Facetten.

    Danke euch beiden, für dieses tolle Interview, wodurch auch ihr wieder einmal beweist, dass nur, weil "frau" einen starken Crash für Mode hat, damit nicht automatisch ein oberflächlich, debil grinsendes Püppi ist. <3

  3. Johanna

    Einfach großartig! Tolle Fragen, tolle Antworten, tolle Frauen. Und ich find es so unendlich toll, dass ihr euch der ganzen Feminismus-Thematik so sehr annehmt. Alle Daumen hoch!

  4. Lena

    Ein sehr tolles Interview! Die Fragen schwirrten mir auch im Kopf herum. Jetzt freue Ich mich noch mehr auf mein Geburtstaggeschenk!

  5. Eva

    Ich finde die Frau hat was sehr unaufgeregtes und entspanntes, was sie wahrscheinlich auch so authentisch und sympathisch erschcheinen lässt. Zugegeben, ich habe mich schon dabei ertappt, wie ich gedacht habe: „Echt jetzt? Die führt ihre talgigen Speckschenkelchen in Hotpants aus, muss das sein?“ In solchen Momenten fliegt mir die eigene Intoleranz um die Ohren und ich meke, dass ich ein erbärmliches Opfer des gängigen Schönheitsideals bin, dann schäme ich mich für mich selbst ganz gewaltig- zurecht!
    „Leben und leben lassen“, ein schönes Lebenscredo- was diesem ganzen Pseudofemminismusgelabere den Wind aus den Segeln nimmt, das ist wahre Gleichberechtigung!
    Übrigens habt Ihr ganz tolle Fragen gestellt. Ich kann mich meiner Vorrednerin Johanna nur anschließen: „Einfach großartig! Tolle Fragen, tolle Antworten, tolle Frauen.“

  6. Karlie

    Was für ein tolles Interview. Freu mich für euch, daß alles super geklappt hat und es macht wirklich Freude diesen Blogeintrag zu lesen.

  7. Pingback: Wochenendklicks: Einsame Heldinnen, eine verlassene Stadt und trotzdem große Weihnachtsgefühle | Flecken, helle

  8. Alina

    nettes Interview, süßer Tipp-Fehler: „He can go to work for as many hours as he wants, because he doesn’t have to worry about making sure that Leo is getting fat.“ fat wäre dann wohl fed gewesen 😉

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