From the first time Lena Dunham’s unabashedly naked form shimmied onto our TV screens in season 1 of HBO’s Girls, we fell in love faster than you can say #GirlCrush. Never one to shy away from subjects like mental illness, sexual assault and body positivity, Lena’s been empowering her fans ever since (and usually making us LOL in the process). We’ve rounded up the top six ways she’s reminded us to embrace who we are, dimpled thighs, OCD, and all.
1. We’re all a little crazy Lena’s vocal about her own bouts of anxiety and depression and in season 3 of Girls, her character Hannah shoved a Q-tip deep into her ear in an OCD-fuelled panic. Did it make us squirm? Yep. Did it make us feel less self-conscious about our own stuff? Hells yes.
2. You don’t need to be ashamed Lena wrote for the first time about being sexually assaulted in her 2014 book Not That Kind of Girl and said that finally sharing her story was about exposing her own shame about the experience. Her admission prompted discussions on consent and victim-blaming and showed millions of women that it’s not their fault.
3. Man, woman, or somewhere in between, #YouDoYou Lena showed her support for Bruce Jenner and his gender transition with a sweet Instagram post. As we’ve come to expect from our gal, she’s promoting acceptance through her own kindness. It’s not a new idea but it’s one that’s easy to forget: be nice.
Dear Bruce Jenner: Your words will have an incredible effect on so many… Not just people struggling with our culture’s restrictive and binary concept of gender, but anyone experiencing shame around what they perceive as their “otherness.” The bravery it takes to face an often unforgiving public and speak openly about your identity is stunning and to be celebrated. I hope we can all show you our best selves and meet your honesty with love and compassion. You are beautiful in whatever form you choose to inhabit. Congratulations. Love, Lena A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on
4. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain Lena’s been a poster girl for body acceptance, but that hasn’t stopped her from hitting the gym in recent months and documenting it on Insta. Just because she’s taught us a thing or two about loving ourselves at any size doesn’t mean she can’t choose to work on her fitness.
Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: it has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain. Thank you @tracyandersonmethod for showing me the light (and @bandierfit is where I bought my Florida mom inspired workout look.) #notsponsored #stillmedicated
5. If you feel good, share it
Let’s be real. Lena posted this lingerie pic because she was feelin’ herself. No one ever said body positivity can’t come with a sprinkle of vanity once in a while.
6. Don’t hate, celebrate Whether she’s making a cameo in the most #SquadGoals-inducing music video ever, or fangirl-ing over another amazing woman in television, Lena’s all about female friendship and celebrating each other’s successes. A quick read of the recent Hollywood Reporter roundtable with fellow comedy powerhouses Amy Schumer, Ellie Kemper, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kate McKinnon, and Gina Rodriguez shows nothing but praise for her fellow females.
“I want women to have all the things,” said Lena. We couldn’t agree more.
Lena Dunham on Aggressive Dieting and Sexual Aggression
Why We Love Lena Dunham’s Instgram in 10 Pics
Feelin’ Yourself: 10 Ways to Set the Mood Solo
10 Breakthrough Moments for Transgender Positivity