Lena Dunham, creator of “Girls,” is very glad to be, well, a girl.
At the New York Women in Communications organization’s annual Matrix Awards luncheon on Monday, she revealed her true feelings during a game of “Plead the Fifth” with host Andy Cohen and the crème of media executives and influencers onstage. For the game, participants may choose not to answer some provocative questions. (A sample: “Which of your clients is the biggest PR nightmare?”) Dunham took no such easy route when Cohen asked what she would do if she woke up one day as a man.
“Kill myself,” she replied, laughing.
Actor and activist Gloria Steinem later introduced Dunham onstage with a reminder that the writer-director-producer’s response was completely in character.
“[Dunham] is deeply political, because she knows that life itself is political,” Steinem said. After taking the stage herself, the honoree clarified her comment from “when Andy Cohen went around the table and scared the living shit out of us” in lieu of a prepared speech.
Lena Dunham doesn’t hate men — she’s simply proud to be a woman.
“The reason I said that wasn’t because I’m subscribing to an old binary,” she said. “I love that fact that we’re in a time where we get to determine what gender looks and feels like to us. It was not because I wouldn’t know what to wear. It was because I feel so passionately lucky to be doing the work of being female right now.”
Dunham, of course, has been an outspoken proponent of women’s rights in reproductive health along with issues in the workplace, and she has so far lent a confident voice to two Democratic presidential campaigns. Onstage Monday, she praised Steinem and others at the event for their past and present support of feminist causes.
“I feel [progress] happening every day, and it gets me fired up. It’s what makes me want to wake up in the morning. It’s what makes me want to live a really long time. It’s what makes me eat well. It’s what makes me do yoga,” she explained.
Rounding out her acceptance speech at the Waldorf Astoria, the honoree compared her feelings on living as a feminist in 2016 to her experience with the mushrooms she took in college.
“I ran into a bathroom and looked in the mirror,” she said, “and suddenly felt the connection not just to every woman who had come before me, but everyone who would come after me. And the understanding that we were just drops in the greater pool of water, and our job was to move forward together. Thank you, mushrooms.”
Thank you, Lena.
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