This is just the 108th reason we love Lena Dunham and her show hasn’t even aired yet. Last week when Two And A Half Men creator co-creator Lee Aronsohn said, “Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods … we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation,” the media went crazy but Lena Dunham, creator, producer and writer of the upcoming HBO show Girls, stayed quiet. But this week she told The Huffington Post her brilliant response. She said:
“It’s such an assholic thing to say. It’s so dickish … I think Sarah Silverman had a quote where she was like, “Sometimes with an old guy with misogyny you’re just like, ‘You cute old guy. You misogynist.’” I almost feel like that man is holding on desperately to a world that no longer exists … I felt especially bad for him because it’s not even a funny joke. If you had a good quip, I’d be like, “Well, you’re a dick, but at least you’re a good comedy writer.” But with that, I was like, “Come on, dude. ‘Labia saturation point’?” It’s also so dumb. There’s three shows on TV about women, so I guess we really reached our limit. It’s not like three-quarters of the world is comprised of women, you idiot.
I almost wanted to do a tweet, but I didn’t do it: “Since we’ve reached our labia saturation point on television, I’ve decided not to release Girls.” Like, “HBO’s behind me on this decision and we’re so sorry for anybody we’re disappointing, but we really can’t over-vagina the TV.” Lee has spoken.”
Well, Lena could not have put it more perfectly. Perhaps that is why she has her own show on HBO and I do not (yet.)
There are so many things wrong with Aronson’s statement. First, we are no where near “peak vagina” on television or in films. Bridesmaids, unfortunately, has become the benchmark for showing how funny women are and that they can write a movie and make a ton of money off of it. It is unfortunate because women were always funny, they just hadn’t gotten the credit for it at this level. The success of that film then helped get more comedies, created by and starring women, on the air. But like every trend, it takes time to get it right. And I don’t see how we can be anywhere near “saturation.” There have been comedies about men doing stupid things and talking about their men problems for decades. But no where have we ever said we have reached the saturation point with comedies about men. There are a whole bunch of new ones coming too (Men at Work is one) and no one has said diddly.
Women are ruling Hollywood now, especially women in comedy, so there was bound to be some backlash. But the fact that it is coming from the creator of a show that was a huge hit but is now probably heading for its demise is a little sad.
As one of those women ruling, Lena told HuffPo she does feel a lot of responsibility with this show (she has already been called the voice of her generation) to portray women accurately. She knows she has a lot of power right now. “I’m really proud of the fact that a lot of department heads are women. That’s really meaningful to me. Whenever I get a tweet or something from a girl in college who’s like, “This makes me think I could actually work in TV” — that’s all you could want,” she said.
At a women in television panel in February, Winnie Holzman, creator of My So-Called Life (another show that was hailed as the voice of a generation,) said younger women are more comfortable stepping into the showrunner role (Girls’ showrunner is also a woman.)“My generation is still asking, can I lead? It’s different than just being a writer. Many writers are very introverted and shy,” she said.
But Lena said she is very careful not to make her show find itself fitting into Aronsohn’s accusations.
“Sometimes, when I’m writing I will go, “Even if this period joke might have some truth to it, I’m not really going to throw it into this scene.” That’s one point where I don’t really want to satisfy expectations. I don’t really want everyone getting their periods in sync. I don’t want anyone stress eating chocolate. If you’re gonna stress eat, it’s going to be cheese, or a cupcake in the shower.”