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 recognise what you are up against. Even as you seek to redefine it.
I know that when I m drying, looking back it will be women that I regret having argued with, women I sought to impress, to understand, was tortured by. Women I wish to see again, to see them smile and laugh and say. It was all as it should have been.
Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
Hurrah it is Friday! This feels like a long week doesn’t it? Today I’m bringing my first proper book review to Tea in Your Twenties. You may remember me mentioning back in January, that I really felt that this space didn’t dedicate enough time to probably my first love in life. Reading. So time to rectify that.
When I was growing up, I was the book worm kid. I would devour books, quicker than my parents could buy them, but that was ok, I wasn’t picky, if I didn’t have a book of my own to read, I’d read one of my little sisters (including a large percentage of her Mary Kate and Ashley collection) or even one of theirs (hello, grown up world I didn’t really understand). For a long time, I believed I was Matilda. Part of me still does. As I covered on Wednesday, I write and perform children’s stories myself, and to me their is noting more important than taking regular trips into your imagination. But as I have grown older, like Matilda, I also have a thirst for knowledge, and last year I began to look at my (admiteddly virtual) bookshelf, and decided it was time to branch out from fiction, and find out the real stories behind this crazy wonderful world we lived in, and in particular, the story behind some of the crazy wonderful women I watch, look up to and admire.
I started off with Mindy Kaling’s ‘Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?’ (loved it) moved on to Tina Fey’s ‘Bossy Pants’ (again loved it, but thought it probably would have struck more of a chord with me, had I been American) and then when Lena Dunham brought out ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ I knew I needed it in my arsenal of lady books (ooer).
I haven’t watched all of Girls not because I don’t like it, but more just that I haven;t had easy access to it. I have no doubt that one quiet Sunday (maybe even this one) I will sit and binge watch a whole season. What I have seen I liked, so I was intrigued by Lena as a person. It’s a sad fact that most of what we see on our tv, is made by men for men, even shows with strong female leads, and female writers, have the balance of male to female characters waaaay off (it pains me to say this, but The Mindy Project in particular is guilty of this). This makes what Lena is doing, and so young, not only impressive but I think pretty significant. Plus she is good friends with Taylor Swift now, and any one who can influence Taylor Swift can influence me (apart from Harry Styles).
I think when reading and reviewing an autobiography there is the danger of reviewing the person. For example there was a lot in the book, about Lena’s arty upbringing, and the things that shaped her into being an ‘artist’ that I felt suggested there was a tick box of kooky things you had to check off before you could call yourself an artist. But this is Lena’s story, and if she felt those things got her to where she is, then she needs to tell them. And she tells them beautifully and truthfully, and in a way that lets you layer your own story on top of hers, like you would relate to friend, but where she really shines is where she is talking about being a girl.
The quote at the top of this post, really stuck with me. I know being a girl isn’t easy, I complain about sexism, inequality, and having cramps once a month, but I have never wanted to change that. I wouldn’t want to live like a man, and have the same privilege as a man, because I don’t want privilege I want equality, and Lena reinforced this to me. She highlighted that with every naff thing we have to put up with there is something beautiful like female friendship and diversity, and for that alone I would reccomend reading this book.
Lena Dunham may not be that kind of girl, but she is the kind that will make you laugh, cry and generally want to stand up and say yes to being the kind of girl (or person) you are.
Live life & read about those who inspire you x