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Lena Dunham answers criticism of lack of diversity on ‘Girls’

It has been almost a month since the HBO show “Girls” premiered, and it continues to stir controversy.

At first it was talk about nepotism, with each cast member of the show about four 20-somethings having a parent who was prominent in the media/cultural spheres. Then it was the blunt sexual content and critics saying the show is “narcissistic, lacks racial diversity and showcases whiny, privileged millennials complaining about topics only relevant to whiny, privileged millennials.”

Show creator Lena Dunham, who rose to prominence by winning the best narrative feature prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival at only 23, addressed the criticism on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”

“I take that criticism very seriously,” Dunham said. “This show isn’t supposed to feel exclusionary. It’s supposed to feel honest, and it’s supposed to feel true to many aspects of my experience. But for me to ignore that criticism and not to take it in would really go against my beliefs and my education in so many things.”

In addition, Dunham attested: “But I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs. 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.”

“Girls” airs every Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

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