Thursday, September 17, 2015

When Comedy Ladies Write Books

I hate Lena Dunham's book. Whew that feels good to get off my chest. I hated it. I remember running out to buy it and thinking why I didn't like it at all. I loved Mindy Kaling's book and Amy Poehler's and Tina Fey's. Why didn't I like Lena Dunham's? When my comedy friends, especially the women asked me, I couldn't articulate an answer. Only after I took the time to re-read Kaling's, Poehler's and Fey's book did I realize: Dunham's didn't follow the formula. The former mentioned followed a strict formula of an advisory tone, an objective assertion of truth and a promise that being a woman in comedy is a universal union. Dunham's was a book about herself because, as promised, it was a memoir.

This same truth carries into these women's shows, in the formers' shows they are all working professionals, unapologetic about their opinions and goals. While Dunham's show, GIRLS, is a more objective portrayal of how women can sometimes suck. Like her book, Dunham's show also receives more criticism because of what it asserts. It doesn't propose a truth that women are strong and powerful, it represents a truth that sometimes they're not and she is not the authority to say that they are. With her book Dunham was trying to say "this is me" while the other three were trying to say "this is me and you" and I hated Dunham's because I wasn't represented in the equation.

I bring this up because of the release of Mindy Kaling's new book, Why Not Me? A book I hope lives up to the standard of the other one but that reaches it in a new way. I want to work an industry that allows women to be varied in their portrayal even if I'm not part of it.

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