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Lena Dunham Schools Hollywood On Gender Bias, Wins SXSW

Mar 10, 2014 at 3:51 PM Chime in now

Lena Dunham

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We all know Lena Dunham doesn't pull punches when it comes to voicing her opinion, and her keynote speech at SXSW in Austin, Texas today was no exception.

In a talk earlier this afternoon, the Girls star spoke candidly about her journey to stardom, as well as the challenges she currently faces -- especially in terms of sexism in the film industry.

"It's a rough scene," she told the audience. "It's hard to always offer comforting words on that topic." Dunham drew stark comparisons between her co-star Adam Driver, and the female leads of the show.

"The world is ready to see Adam as a million different men -- playing good guys and bad guys and sweet guys and scary guys," but Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, and Allison Williams are relegated to more one-dimensional roles, like "All-American Sweetheart" for Williams and "nood-nick" for Mamet.

But Dunham said this wasn't to slag Driver's talent or reach, but a critique of the current landscape of the film industry. "It's a knock on a world where women are typecast and men can play villains, Lotharios and nerds in one calendar year and something has to change and I'm trying."

Despite the fact that the Academy Awards ceremony this year was a complete sausage party (did you see that hero montage? I'm surprised Oscar Mayer wasn't a sponsor ), there have been some signs that things are shifting in H-wood.

Take Frozen, a Disney princess film so vanguard that it actually doesn't revolve around falling in love with a bland prince. (Crazy.)

Or Cate Blanchett's eloquent Oscars acceptance speech, urging producers to recognize the appetite for female stories in film. 

Movies -- and amazing TV shows -- have been passing the Bechdel test with flying colours.

Of course, there's more ground to cover, and more parts to be made. I, for one, would love to see Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams and Lena Dunham in an entire cacophany of roles -- not just tame, banal characters that some casting director thinks would suit them.

Because it really is time to hang up the female stereotypes in movies, and continue to explore deeper, nuanced female characters -- the type of character Dunham herself is so good at creating.

Let this be a message to all Hollywood writers, producers and casting directors: if you cast them, we will watch. 


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