Lena and Anne
A few weeks ago I ran across articles discussing whether Lena Dunham was pretty enough to appear naked on Girls – a show she created, acts in, writes and directs.
… over on HBO Lena Dunham, star and creator of the acclaimed series Girls, was busy baring it all with impunity. Well, nearly all. The top half of all. Yes, for in no way the first time, Dunham’s character Hannah was seen topless throughout the episode, in situations both sexual and, well, ping-pong-related. Hannah and a new guy in her life, played by known dreamboat Patrick Wilson, spent a sexy and intimate pair of days together in Wilson’s character’s gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone, and in one scene they played ping-pong together, Hannah without her shirt on. And the Internet went crazy!
We don’t get HBO, and I’ve never seen Girls, so I didn’t have much to go on, but it seemed like an odd complaint. I have seen a few stills of Dunham. She’s cuter than some of the girls I was really stuck on in my youth, but she doesn’t have one of the body types we’re taught to expect in an actress.
It is my pet theory that we are wired to find beauty in people we love or want or admire or even share good experiences with, and that the entertainment industry knows and exploits that wiring. Even though you can find girls as pretty as most actresses in any shopping mall, we allow ourselves to be trained to think that starlets are exceptionally desirable. One fellow I read was complaining about the selling of Sarah Jessica Parker as a sex symbol – he didn’t find her all that attractive. I might complain about the Kardashians.
I expect that Dunham is already being accepted, and that her audience is finding the beauty in her – though some critics aren’t.
But this week seems to be all about hating Anne Hathaway, who has already been marketed as attractive. I’ve seen Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain, Rachel Getting Married, and as the White Queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. My impression is that she works hard and always does a good job. And Hathaway has one of the allowable body types – she’s very thin. But some people hate her anyway, claiming she acts so nice that she must be faking it.
Hathaway is the subject of more vituperative, angry scrutiny than perhaps any actress working today. “Shut up. Shut up, Anne Hathaway. I honestly don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m jealous, but I don’t feel jealousy. I watch her in outtakes, and I feel like she’s not a real person,” wrote a blogger for women’s-interest site Crushable. ”I don’t find her perfection charming. I find it annoying.”
“She always seems like she’s performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness,” said a blogger quoted by Brian Moylan in a piece for Hollywood.com.
The Oscars this year, far from an opportunity for Hathaway to overcome her deficit with the audience, just gave the so-called Hathahaters more ammunition — from her apparently revealing dress to her awed acceptance speech, which Hathaway began by whispering, “It came true.”
“Deep down, we loathe celebrities,”
I think we, in this case, is the media who will fan any flame to keep our attention. It says a lot that Dunham spoke out, or maybe tweeted out, for Hathaway:
On the day post-Oscars, the only person who had Hathaway’s back was Lena Dunham, actor and star of HBO’s Girls, who herself generated harsh feedback for her support of the actress.