Going into the fifth and penultimate season of her hit HBO series Girls - and approaching her 30th birthday - Lena Dunham talks about feminism, politics and what comes next in her career.
What role has Girls played in the feminist movement? "I don't think our show by any means put feminism back on the map, but I think it was part of a moment where a lot of female-driven television started being recognised, and that was exciting … And it's fun as a lifelong feminist to see a conversation about these issues being taken away from the margins and being part of pop culture at large."
How do you measure the success of feminism? "It's easy to think feminism is about being allowed to wear whatever you want [and] being allowed to sleep with people and not be judged for it. All of that is 100 per cent true, but feminism is also about equal rights; so wage equality, health care for women and access to family planning. Not having to constantly fight against repeals of Roe vs Wade [a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on abortion], or abortion laws; those things we have not got to the bottom of as a country. And until we do, we cannot hope to consider ourselves a place where women are equal and have the same privileges that the men do."
Will that take a female president? "I don't think only a woman can do that, but I do think Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person. When I was a kid, I didn't even think you were allowed to have a female president. I just looked at who had been president before and went, 'Oh, the rule's clear that it has to be a man.' I said to my mom, 'Has there ever been a woman?' She said no. I said, 'OK, great.' The rule is Barbie's a girl and the president's a boy, or whatever. And now I feel really excited that I could give birth to a child in a world where that's no longer the case. I might have a baby who's born and thinks the president's supposed to be a girl, and wouldn't that be exciting?"
What will you do post-Girls? "I'd love to keep writing and directing. I feel more focused on that than on the idea of going out and trying to get acting parts. I love acting, but I'm totally aware that there are people who are true professionals at it. I love the chance to direct those people and work with them. So my hope is that I can spend my time and make my living on the other side of the camera."
What tires you out and what excites you? "I'm tired of being asked questions about getting naked on TV. And I'm excited about seeing what happens in this [US] election year and seeing young people gather around causes that are meaningful to them."
The fifth season of Girls begins on HBO tomorrow, at 11pm.