Lena Dunham Calls Hollywood Sexist: ‘Something Has to Change’

Leah Bourne
Lena Dunham Keynote And Greenroom Photo Op - 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival

Photo: Getty

The message of Lena Dunham’s SXSW keynote speech yesterday: “Something has to change.” That something that she alluded to, is the sexism that she has experienced firsthand in Hollywood since rising to fame as the creator and star of HBO’s “Girls” in 2012.

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”Our male lead, Adam Driver, has had a bang-up year in movies, which could not be more deserved because he’s a ferocious genius with an incredible work ethic, and I’ve learned so much from him,” Dunham told the SXSW audience. “But the girls are still waiting patiently for parts that are going to honor their intelligence and their ability.”

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She continued, “The world is ready to see Adam as a million different men—playing good guys and bad guys and sweet guys and scary guys. The world is ready to see Adam do all that. It’s not ready to see Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, or Jemima Kirke stretch their legs in the same variety of diverse roles.

“Allison is relegated to All-American sweetheart. Zosia is asked to play more flighty nood-nicks. Even though both are capable of so much, they’re not asked to do it. And this is not a knock on Adam’s talent, which is utterly boundless and he’s exactly the actor who should be doing all this. 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.”

Dunham, similarly, hasn’t had much luck in her own film career, where she’s been limited to starring in her own films, an upcoming role in indie movie “Happy Christmas”, and a small role in “Girls” producer Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40”. “There’s no place for me in the studio system,” she said.

Since Dunham’s arrival on the small screen she has been a magnet for debate, particularly around her body because she is not a typical Hollywood size O. When Dunham appeared in Vogue in February, Jezebel offered $10,000 for the un-retouched images from the shoot.

All of the criticism my explain why Dunham told Glamour magazine this month: “I don’t know if I’m going to want to act anymore. I’m always relieved on the days I don’t have to. I’d rather give parts to other women than be the woman having the parts.”

Do you agree with Dunham’s assessment of Hollywood typecasting? Share your thoughts in the comments!