Lena Dunham and Hillary Clinton Get Real About Feminism: #NowWhat

Hillary Clinton's Lenny Letter interview was pretty great.

ColumnLove or hate Lena Dunham, you’ve got to admit that the young woman has a lot of interesting ideas. One of her better ideas that was recently released into the cyber world is the Lenny Letter.

Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, Dunham’s recurrent creative partner in crime, created a newsletter called Lenny Letter. The newsletter is targeted to entertain 20-and-30-something women who are progressive, feminist, and diverse. In Letter No. 1, Dunham and Konner describe the letter as a place where “new voices” could feel comfortable speaking loudly about issues they care about. And, the duo hopes this medium can remain “a snark-free place for feminists to get information: on how to vote, eat, dress, fuck, and live better.” We hope so, too.

While Lenny only has one issue so far, it’s off to a solid start. The premiere issue is filled with great writing and diverse topics, but it’s the Lenny Letter interview with Hillary Clinton that really made this opening issue shine.

Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly known for giving kick-ass interviews. Clinton tends to come off as ridged and monotone whenever a reporter asks her about her impending presidential run. Honestly, though, who could blame her? All reporters ever ask Clinton about is her email scandal, her husband, and her likability — who wouldn’t respond to that line of questioning in an unenthusiastic manner?

Luckily, Lenny doesn’t have to follow the normal journalistic formula that other news outlets do because it is a niche publication. We’re wondering if it’s because of this newsletter’s relatively small reach that allowed Clinton to do what we consider to be one of the better interviews in her career.

Dunham had a great collection of questions she asked Clinton during the interview. She asked about police brutality, student loan debt, Clinton’s youth, and more. But it was Dunham’s question about feminism that got us most excited:

LD: I think the question on every Lenny reader’s lips is: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

HC: Yes. Absolutely. I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman, of whatever age but particularly a young woman, says something like, ‘Well, I believe in equal rights, but I’m not a feminist.’ Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights! I’m hoping that people will not be afraid to say [it] — that doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean that you want to separate out the world so that you’re not part of ordinary life. That’s not what it means at all! It just means that we believe women have the same rights as men, politically, culturally, socially, economically. That’s what it means. And if you don’t believe that about yourself as a woman, please, go ask yourself: Why? What is holding you back? And it’s not going to be good for you as a woman to be denying the fact that you are entitled to equal rights. And so, yes, I’m a feminist, and I say it whenever I’m asked.

LD: Hallelujah!

We’ve got to second Dunham’s “hallelujah” response, too. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a smart and successful woman shout out loud that she is, indeed, a feminist. It also was nice to read Clinton’s thoughts on how she feels about women who don’t consider themselves feminists. Her response was kind and thoughtful — women who think that feminism isn’t needed should be asked (in a kind manner): why?

And while Clinton’s thoughts on feminism were great, it also was enjoyable to read her reflections on her youth. Clinton was an incredibly talented young woman herself, but she was still confused about what she wanted to do with her life. It was quite surprising to read that Clinton wasn’t sure she wanted to get married and was scared she’d lose her identity. All women have these feelings and thoughts, and it was great to read how Clinton worked through that period of time.

Now, we’re not saying that this interview has put all of us at EcoSalon in the “Clinton For President” camp, but we’ve got to admit that we do like her a heck of a lot more now.

Related on EcoSalon

The War on Women: That Happened

Marie Bello and the Modern Family: That Happened

Articulating Change: 10 Women to Watch

Image of Lenny Letter from the newsletter’s Facebook page

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.