Lena Dunham is not your average woman, at twenty-three years old she created, wrote and starred in the HBO series Girls. Daughter of painter Carroll Dunham, and Laurie Simmons, a photographer, Lena grew up in Brooklyn with her younger sister Grace. She studied at Oberlin college and worked for a degree in Creative Writing. Lena Dunham is also an advocate of feminism and is seen as one of the leading role models for women in our society.
Not That Kind of Girl is a compelling autobiography. It’s not just a reflection on her life and past experiences, but it allows you to see things from a woman’s point of view in a sexist world. This a book written for women, by a woman who has struggled – and still does – with the sexism she has faced, and the misogyny which has been ingrained into her mind.
Lena touches base with many experiences all young women have gone through such as first relationships, sexual encounters and body image issues. She doesn’t just write in such a way in which you completely identify with her experiences, but Lena also manages to make you feel empowered by it. As well as making you cringe and laugh, it also conveys how sad and disappointing it is that so many women go through the same problems, and how society simply brushes them off. In one part of the book Lena recalls her food diary, which as you can imagine is a miserable experience most women have gone through. However, you can’t help but to laugh at her younger self’s feeble attempt to count calories.
Lena opens up about the traumatic experience she endured whilst at college, which of course still affects her greatly to this day. She describes the moment she was raped with agonising detail, and how at first she refused to accept the fact that it had happened because of the stigma attached. She talks about how she asked him questions such as “do you want to make me come?” during the ordeal to make her feel like it was her own choice. To cushion the psychological damage. Although it is an uncomfortable read, it is a story that needs to be heard.
Throughout the book Lena gives an honest and in-depth outlook on her life and for me this is one of the many reasons this book charmed me. Whether you are feminist or not, this book of memoirs is one worth reading.