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Lena Dunham Wanted To "Avoid Tokenism" In Casting "Girls"

First HBO's Girls was celebrated for finally accurately depicting the lives of young professionals in their early twenties living in New York. And then came the onslaught of criticism about its racist casting and privileged point of view. Creator Lena Dunham responded to the backlash on NPR.

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On the lack of black women in the cast:

Something I wanted to avoid was tokenism in casting. If I had one of the four girls, if, for example, she was African-American, I feel like — not that the experience of an African-American girl and a white girl are drastically different, but there has to be specificity to that experience [that] I wasn't able to speak to. I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me. And only later did I realize that it was four white girls.

On what it's like to live halftime with her parents:

I feel like I'm constantly asking them to please stay out of my work life, but also to please bring me soup. It's this weird moment where you just don't have a sense of what age-appropriate behavior is because there is no age-appropriate behavior.

On her "favorite" movie genre, romantic comedies:

[T]here is a certain kind of film that is not fun to me in a guilty-pleasure way, and there is a certain kind of chick-lit book that isn't even fun to me in a guilty-pleasure way, because I don't see any of myself in it. Because none of my actions — and maybe this is speaking to my age, because I'm 25 — but none of my actions have ever been [determined] by the search for a husband, or wondering if I was going to have a family someday, or wanting to live in a really great house, or thinking it would be really great to have a diamond.

And an explanation of her tattoos:

When I started getting tattoos, it was before I had any sexual relationship to anybody, so it was really about my relationship with myself. I kind of like that they come from that spot. They were never sensually motivated, they were personally motivated.


Lena Dunham at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Lena Dunham at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

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