How Lena Dunham Sets the Standard for Women in the Workplace

As the producer, writer, director and main character of HBO’s hit show Girls, Lena Dunham has developed a large fan base for her confident, uninhibited spirit on and off the screen. As a fan myself, I was thrilled when she came out with her memoir, “Not That Kind of Girl.” Like so many other avid Girls viewers, I was curious to learn what seemingly twisted, yet intriguing, things influenced Dunham to become the carefree screenwriter she is today. By advocating for what she believes in and sharing life stories in her book, Dunham has demonstrated that it’s easy for women to be their own publicists without having to conform to what the media expects of them.

One of Dunham’s essays that really resonated with me explained how she was working at a high-end baby’s clothing boutique after graduating from college. Although she was paid decently under the table and worked with some of her best friends, Dunham realized she was bored of scanning items and folding clothes every day. She missed the creative side of her work that she had fallen out of touch with. “But ambition is a funny thing,” she writes. “It creeps in when you least expect it and keeps you moving, even when you think you want to stay put. I missed making things, the meaning it gave this long march we call life.” I realized, like Dunham, I have the power to set my own standards for what I want out of life and will always push myself to exceed those expectations. Beyond that, I will never settle for a job that reduces my creative drive or makes me feel like I’m not making a difference in the world.

Dunham also describes feeling envious of men in o-NOT-THAT-KIND-OF-GIRL-facebookthe workplace who appear to be unapologetically at ease, while she feels the pressure to be a people-pleaser just because that’s what is expected of women. Dunham writes, “It’s a special kind of privilege to be born into the body you wanted, to embrace the essence of your gender even as you recognize what you are up against. Even as you seek to redefine it.” This quote encompasses a major theme that seems to motivate Dunham as a female artist. She contradicts this envy of the male population by being unapologetic in her own words and actions. Her authentic, autonomous personality and work ethic proves that women don’t need to be people-pleasing robots to be successful in the real world. They just need to be themselves.

By: Michelle Sachs

Michelle Sachs is a sophomore communications major and advertising minor. She is an active member of PRSSA-UD and is a member of Spoon University UD’s marketing team. Follow her on Twitter: @michelle_sachs and @spoonu_delaware.

Photo credit: The Huffington Post

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