In a feature for UK’s The Independent, Laurie Simmons, mother of Girls star Lena Dunham, opines about the pressures young girls face today and discusses her feminist influence on the young television actress.
Simmons is an artist herself, having worked for four decades as a photographer and painter. According to a feature on her work in the Telegraph, Simmons’ photography involves blow-up sex dolls dressed as geishas and Barbie figures placed in interesting poses.
Simmons told the Independent that despite all the progress women have made since the seventies, the pressure these days has been “amped up to a hysterical level.”
“I’m always shocked at how many problems are the same now as when I was in my twenties,” Simmons told the outlet. “We are still fighting to hold onto our basic rights. We are still paid less than our male counterparts. And this is just in America. On a global level, the continuing violence towards and injustices for women are shocking and unacceptable.”
In a 2013 interview with the New York Observer, Dunham said of her mother: “She introduced me at an early age to concepts of equality and gender equality that I really carried with me and that have been a huge part of my identity.”
“Lena was raised by two feminists,” Simmons told the Independent. “I would say her father and I have equally influenced her worldview. We’re at a point in history where I question what it would mean for anyone to say they’re not a feminist.”
Still, when it comes to Dunham’s work on Girls, Simmons was hesitant to say that she was a principal influence behind the show.
“I feel like Lena makes work that is honest in some way, with an eye towards what she really knows and has experienced,” Simmons said. “That’s what I think she’s most likely (and most hopefully) gotten from me.”