Lena Dunham’s first time, all over again

October 27, 2012

Lena Dunham, writer, director and star of the HBO series “Girls.” (Reuters)

The multi-talented and seemingly inexhaustible writer, actor and director, Lena Dunham has captured a following among a certain cohort of arty, literary, college-educated female millennial adults-in-training, by exploiting her own awkward and embarrassing coming-of-age moments.

Although much of her work unabashedly features Dunham having sex, being rejected by boys, obsessing about her body image, and abusing her parents’ generosity, Dunham’s tongue-in-cheek (among other places) outspokenness has empowered many girls to doggedly embrace their own work-in-progress womanhood, however incomplete or poorly-expressed.

The 26-year-old star of “Girls” was nominated last summer for three television Emmy awards for her hit HBO comedy, has recently scored a $3.5 million book advance to write her quarter century ‘memoirs,’ and now has become a political spokeswoman and pundit.

In support of President Obama, Dunham this week joined other liberal artists making campaign videos to underscore their candidate’s feminist platform (see Lesley Gore’s reissued cri de coeur that inspired a previous generation of women to “just let me be myself”).

In her signature self-referential style, Dunham talks to the camera on behalf of Obama for America about the importance and significance of her “first time” casting a ballot for president, while slyly implying she is reminiscing about her first coital encounter.  (For the record, Dunham has elsewhere written, in great specificity, about her actual first sexual experience in an essay for Rookiemag.com — but I, for one, am much more charmed by her election virginity tale than by the carnal one.)

Meantime, conservative groups have called the Dunham campaign video and its crafty suggestion of sexual attraction to the president inappropriate. Independent Women’s Forum issued a  press release headlined “OBAMA’S FIRST TIME AD IS UTTERLY SEXIST” condemning the Dunham video — but was silent on the GOP ad issued recently that turned on a young woman’s romantic disenchantment with the president.

I guess campaigns are like love affairs. One woman’s dream date is another’s bad boyfriend.

Bonnie Goldstein’s first time was before Lena Dunham was born, and she first voted in 1972. Follow her on Twitter @KickedByAnAngel

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Delia Lloyd · October 27, 2012