IF YOU don’t know the name Lena Dunham yet, you soon will. Described as the female Woody Allen, she is the creator and star of the show that has got America talking.
On Monday her Emmy-nominated show Girls hits our screens and it is one of the most eagerly anticipated television happenings for women since Sex and the City. But, although Lena’s show is also set in New York, that is where the similiarities with Carrie and co. pretty much end.
While Ms Bradshaw maintained a steady supply of Manolos and lived in a cool brownstone on income gleaned from writing one newspaper column a week (not possible, believe me, I have tried), Hannah – the character played by Lena – and her friends cling on to their Big Apple dreams working rubbish jobs and unpaid internships.
And, unlike the Park Avenue princesses of SATC, Hannah and the other Girls – Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna – are more grungy than glossy and Lena herself is far from the cookie cutter starlet we are used to seeing on red carpets.
Going off her interviews, she does not seem to give a Fendi bag about dieting or being slim or having dimple-free thighs.
And she has no qualms about getting her thighs out for some rather unflattering sex scenes in Girls.
She also got her thighs out on a red carpet recently creating quite the media storm as the bloggerverse went into overdrive pillorying her for going out sans pants.
Lena – who was actually wearing shorts – was quick to respond saying: “I don’t think a girl with tiny thighs would have received such no-pants attention. I think what it really was (was)...‘Why did you make us all look at your thighs?’ My response is get used to it, because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die.”
And there, in that statement, Lena Dunham poured cold water on my blossoming fondness for TV’s newest icon.
By making her indifference to her less than perfect figure a big deal, all Lena does is make everybody talk about her body instead of her show and don’t we do that enough with women already?
And I disagree. A skinnier star would have received the same “no-pants attention”. She would probably also have been attacked over her stick-thin legs and, if she is lucky, accused of having an eating disorder.
At the other end of the spectrum model Alexa Chung spoke out this week against the constant criticism she receives about her figure, saying: “How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going: ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’
“But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that...”.
That said, Lena’s unwavering self-belief is impressive. I particularly like her quote: “In my brain I’ve always been gorgeous – and they just don’t get it yet” and, come Monday, I will be perched in front of the TV for the first instalment of Girls.
I just won’t be expecting it to change the entire world’s attitude to women’s bodies. Not straight away anyway...