The $3.5 Million Dollar Woman

The scandal isn't really Lena Dunham. It's all the potential Lena Dunhams who get nowhere.

By Sady Doyle

First things first: Lena Dunham's book deal, when compared to the deals afforded most authors, is enormous. She received $3.5 million dollars for her proposal. To put this in perspective, if her book comes in at around 270 pages (Tina Fey's Bossypants, the book to [RETURN TO ARTICLE]

  • Reader Comments

    Fuck yeah. Exactly this.

    Posted by Amanda Marcotte on Oct 10, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    “Lena Dunham has always lived in a universe where someone like Lena Dunham could happen. And yes: With its overwhelming whiteness, the privilege of its characters, and the unfortunate decision to cast only the children of other famous people as her core set of friends, her work shows the limitations of her upbringing and privilege. Ignoring this, or claiming not to give a shit about it, is, let us say, not very productive.” Everything about this is articulate and considerate. Thank you, Sady!

    Posted by Victoria Uren on Oct 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    This is a great article. I agree she’s talented and hard-working, but I think the last half of the Girls season showed her ambition and desire to be famous winning out over the most interesting parts of her. She’ll be around forever because she started out seeming like she was doing something daring and original, and then pulled her punches in order to be more accessible. The end of the season was beyond foolish and disappointing.

    Oh, and that Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook is a lot better than that! Great recipes for low-key dishes. Great for last-minute, family setting. But, you have to overlook the intro by greedy a**hole Mario Batelli.

    Posted by Louis on Oct 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Not sure the point of this other than to whine that life’s not fair. Of course people of privilege are given more opportunities. Dunham is talented as hell and I think it’s awesome she’s accomplished what she has so far. Women shouldn’t attack each other like this.

    Posted by Kim on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I never knew this woman even existed until now.  But she must have enjoyed some celebrity status.  I couldn’t even get an agent to look at my book and eventually had to self-publish.

    Posted by beechnut79 on Oct 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    This article did nothing.

    Posted by Gonzo on Oct 14, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    In defence of Whedon and Bambauch, they’ve both delivered, and Whedon slogged away as a fairly anonymous writer until his 30s(I think he’s actually estranged from his father) ...

    But I *have* felt this way about some privileged dudes. I have to admit that I rolled my eyes when Nick McDonnell got not just published but praised by family friends like Joan Didion. But yeah, I can’t see any direct connection between her parents (had anybody ever heard of thm before this?) and her getting the series.

    What I think *is* safe to say is that had she been te daughter of schoolteachers from Iowa she might not have gone to Oberlin. So… Yeah.

    Posted by D on Oct 14, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    But does anyone need $3.5 mill to write a book?

    Posted by D on Oct 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    What a sad pathetic article and the person who wrote it must be.  I’ve never heard of Dunham and yet we’re made to feel as if she’s some important figure in modern culture.  Did she get too big of an advance?  Who knows.  Let the market (i.e. people) decide.  You can be sure if her book sucks she won’t be getting anything next time and her career will most likely be in the toilet.  In the meantime, all this high-school level bitching about someone who’s got more, is prettier, blah blah and crying “it’s not fair” like some upper-west side spoilt brat does nothing, nothing, to convince me of their case (meager as it is).

    Posted by p on Oct 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM