Lena Dunham and Girls producer Jenni Konner's feminist newsletter Lenny landed in email inboxes today for its debut issue, featuring a lengthy interview with presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton right alongside a piece about denim trends and an article in collaboration with Planned Parenthood called "Is My Period Weird?" There's also an introduction to under-the-radar writer and architect June Jordan, and an essay by Kira Garcia on the reasons she chose to marry her girlfriend.
"We wanted to create a space where new voices were safe to speak loudly about issues they care about. We want those voices to inspire you, envelop you, and even anger you. Mostly, we want a snark-free place for feminists to get information: on how to vote, eat, dress, fuck, and live better," Dunham and Konner write in Lenny's introduction.
Clips of the interview with Clinton for Lenny grabbed plenty of media attention prior to the launch. In addition to addressing serious issues like student loan debt and race relations in America, Clinton also shared some throwback photos of herself in college and talked about the year she spent post-graduation working odd jobs like gutting salmon in a fishery in Alaska.
Dunham also used the opportunity to ask Clinton about her Donna Karan "cold-shoulder" dress and to request that she wear it again for a future presidential inauguration. "Donna always says that no matter your age, your size, your shoulders always look good," Clinton said. "I’m hardly a fashion icon," she said, adding:
But I do love to fool around with fashion and have some fun with it. And so I wore this, and a lot of the political pundits [said]: "What is the meaning of this?" and everything. I thought it would be fun! You’ve got to still have fun in all of these different roles that you’re in or I’m in or anybody is in their life. So this was one of my favorites. It’s in the Clinton library, if anybody ever wants to see it.
In an interview with Re/code about the making of Lenny Letter, Konner and Dunham call out Jezebel as too snarky and cynical. Here's what they said:
"We need to find a space on the Internet; I don’t want to do this in 140 characters anymore," said Dunham. "We had a frustration with the feminist Internet as it stands … a lack of sort-of snark-free, intelligent spaces for women who didn’t want to participate in feminist infighting."
Added Konner, referring to the Gawker site aimed at women’s issues: "I have been really disappointed with Jezebel, which was something I used to love so much, and now it feels almost entirely full of snark and cynicism."
The goal, said Dunham: "Can we create a space that’s snark-free, but where you’re still laughing?"