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'Girls' Creator Lena Dunham Poses for Playboy and Answers 20 Questions

by Ryan Lattanzio
March 14, 2013 4:02 PM
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Lena Dunham in Playboy
Lena Dunham in Playboy

On newsstands Friday, readers will find media habituée and 'Modern Woman in Control' Lena Dunham posing and waxing dirty in Playboy's 20 questions, which usually features men. Dunham’s HBO series "Girls" is week after week the subject of controversy and speculation (yet also the topic of shrewd think-pieces such as this one in the L.A. Review of Books). Given that Dunham is challenging how our culture depicts male and female sexuality, Playboy is a great venue for continuing that dialogue.

The 26-year-old writer-producer-director-actress answers some probing questions from Playboy’s David Rensin about her series and its often cringe-inducing but honest portrayal of sexuality.

“My goal is to have a sexual verisimilitude that has heretofore not been seen on television,” she tells Playboy. “I felt that the depictions of sex I had seen on television weren’t totally fair to young women trying to wrap their brains around this stuff. I didn’t do it to be provocative. I did it to be educational.”

In "Girls," Dunham is frequently seen completely nude, though this is not so in Playboy. Instead, she’s holding up an “I Posed Today” t-shirt.

“I don’t want to go through life wondering if people are talking to me because I have a big rack,” she says in the interview. “Not being the babest person in the world creates a nice barrier.”

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More: Girls, Lena Dunham, Media


  • Joe L | March 26, 2013 2:11 AMReply

    She's not even the funniest woman on HBO, let alone the funniest woman in TV. Show is okay. bring on Julia and VEEP

  • Armand | March 23, 2013 1:27 PMReply

    Reading these comments would make think that every one in the USA is about 1.85 m (6'00") tall and bodies like Greek statues. I've been there and most of the people don't look anything like that.

  • Delores Dee | March 20, 2013 12:15 PMReply

    I would like this show more if it focused on the young women's inner psyches than on gratuitous sex. It feels very superficial and we don't need sex to keep our interest. I would blame Executive Producer Judd Apatow for this singular focus because that is very much akin to his own films. Judd, you're in your 40's but remain a horny teenager producer.

  • tyler4all | March 23, 2013 3:13 PM

    I agree, Delores. Just because its HBO and you can take your shirt off doesnt mean you have to do it. I want characters that bare their souls, not their bodies.

  • Matrices | March 21, 2013 11:45 PM

    I think in the sex scenes, much is conveyed about the characters and where their relationships are at. I'm surprised you think they are gratuitous..

  • star jonestown | March 19, 2013 6:24 PMReply

    K. She's not a 'whore' just b/c she likes sex or depicts it or constantly has her naked body photographed by her own carefully-controlled productions...

    She IS an attention-whore. I have never in my life seen someone of such middling talent but giant self-obsession grab so many magazine covers in such a short time. Lindsay Lohan will hopefully come up with some great post-treatment shtick, or maybe Britney could go crazy again?

    Sick of Dunham's mug. Not its relative 'Prettyness'... Its fucking ubiquity. Tell her publicists it's OK. Loudest 15 minutes of fame Ever. yes, there may be more, but really. TINY FURNITURE was so fucking boring. Are people really so easily fooled as all this?

  • Emma | March 18, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    Seeing Lena naked is probably the very first time I have ever, in my 27 years life seen an average/ not traditionally beautiful woman naked on TV. It obviously shocked me. And to be completely honest, even though I love myself, my own ideal is truly to have a body like a supermodel, only with a bit more curves. Not to have that makes me unhappy since I was about 14. PRETTY scary

  • tyler4all | March 15, 2013 1:05 PMReply

    I think its refreshing to see average body types on TV but she takes her clothes off so often that its starting to border on exhibitionism. Nothing wrong with that but its jarring, as a viewer, to see that every week. well, used to see that every week. I stopped watching because the writing is just trying SO hard to be edgy and cool and different. she should try less hard.

  • tyler4all | March 23, 2013 3:09 PM

    Jones, you nailed it on the head. The focus of the storytelling is not on love, but on sex, which is so superficial. it shows the work of a lazy writer who thinks that showing sex is being edgy. meaningful relationships make for great stories. good fucking without a meaningful relationship makes for plain ol' porn!

  • Incremental Jones | March 17, 2013 9:45 PM

    Exactly. In "Tiny Furniture" she displayed her average body without going nude and it was refreshing. But then she hooked up with Judd "Box of Porn" Apatow and her direction has gone trashy and creepy. I stopped watching after the 1st season because there is no love or intimacy in the relationships, just the physical act of sex by a generation raised on internet porn. Where might her career have gone had she not gotten involved with Judd "Box of Porn" Apatow.

  • Lautaro Bt | March 15, 2013 12:35 PMReply

    Boy she IS more overrated than overweight.

  • Roy Munson | March 14, 2013 11:06 PMReply

    She doesn't have a big rack -- Who told her she did?

  • Shush | March 15, 2013 4:54 AM

    That's her point. Her not having a big rack/not being the babest person in the world is an advantage.

  • MDL | March 14, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    It's amazing [but not surprising] the amount of hate that gets directed at women like Lena who are unafraid to court controversy. If she were a man few would care. Our society has a long way to go yet....

  • Jeff | March 18, 2013 12:54 AM

    Agreed. Men get criticized every day on stupid sitcoms, commercials, in the movies. It's really about even at this point.

  • Roy Munson | March 14, 2013 11:07 PM

    Men get criticised every day

  • Ted | March 14, 2013 6:55 PMReply

    It's becoming increasing clear that Dunham is a less interesting Von Trier - a narcissist whose success is driven by publicity stunts.

  • AJ | March 14, 2013 5:36 PMReply

    So she frequently appears naked on her show, but complained about Seth McFarlane singing about seeing boobs.. okayyyy.....

  • T | March 14, 2013 5:05 PMReply

    This males thinks she's WAY sexy in MANY ways! I don't get HBO. Can't wait to see it (edited, damnit) it syndication!

  • D | March 14, 2013 4:40 PMReply

    Ugh, why? Girls already alienates the male fanbase, because of how unpleasant she is to look at topless, why post for a Men's magazine?

  • LMNOP | March 16, 2013 1:29 PM

    Okay, I get that some folks don't like Girls (I find it really uneven), but why do male viewers get offended if a woman isn't attractive to them? It's such a weird logic--like "she's going out of her way to bother me by not being sufficiently and stereotypically attractive."

    What a narrow way of understanding the world: expecting other people to cater to one's desires at all times.

  • nightgoat72 | March 16, 2013 10:29 AM

    Speak for yourself, buddy. I'm a male, and I think Girls is the best thing on television. If you seriously won't watch a show because "of how unpleasant she is to look at topless," then you have a lot of maturing to do.

  • Jinx | March 15, 2013 9:53 AM

    Did you read the article? She's not posing nude in the magazine...

    And you don't want to see her topless, then don't watch the show. There are loads of folks out there who are and will watch it.

    I think her realism is refreshing, though I will agree its not for everyone. If you can't handle a real woman then please renew your subscription to the men's magazines you seem to love. Most of the women featured in these mags are fake (surgically, photoshopped, or hired actresses... or a combination thereof). I will say there are some nuggets of gold in these mags (like Lena and a few others), but mostly sex sells and this is why a lot of men are terrified of real women and their expectations are way too high. Not to mention the fact that real women have to compete with these high expectations and unrealistic ideals.

    D, I'm not trying to rag on you... just making an overall point.

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