Lena Dunham: "I Resent Being Forced Into a Position of Having to Represent All of Female Sexuality"

Makers: Women in Hollywood airs October 7 on PBS

By Zach Johnson Oct 03, 2014 12:05 PMTags

Cut Lena Dunham some slack.

Since HBO's Girls debuted in 2012, the actress' name has become synonymous with onscreen nudity and explicit sex scenes. And yet, after winning two Golden Globes, critics are still questioning her motives. "On Girls, I didn't know if I was necessarily going to get away with casting myself as this lead character. I didn't know if I would get away with some of the just, like, sexual content," Dunham, 28, says. "I didn't know what was allowed. I just kind of went in thinking everything was allowed, and then it mostly was."

Dunham insists she's not trying to cause controversy.

"My work must, on some level, be a reaction to the way sexuality has been fed to me and people of my age, but I'm not coming at it from that perspective," the hit TV show's creator and producer explains in Makers: Women in Hollywood, which airs Oct. 7 on PBS. "I'm also not coming at it from a perspective of wanting to, like, elicit any shocked reactions. I just want to express honestly what I've seen and felt."

Paula Weinsten, a producer and former studio executive, is impressed with Dunham's fortitude in spite of her haters. "I think what Lena has done is groundbreaking in a way that makes me so happy, where you see a woman comfortable in her body who doesn't have that body, that Vogue model body. Just that alone is a life-changing moment for young girls to see the confidence that she has," Weinstein says.

Dunham feels as though she's been targeted in a way that her male counterparts have not been. "When someone asks, 'Are the girls on Girls good role models?' I'm like, 'Are the guys on Entourage good role models? Is Larry David a good role model? Is Woody Allen a good role model?'" the Not That Kind of Girl author asks. "And I resent being forced into a position of having to represent all of female sexuality."

To see what Girls' executive producer Judd Apatow has to say, watch the clip now.

Makers: Women in Hollywood airs Oct. 7 on PBS.