On Tuesday night, Lena Dunham made an impassioned plea for a particular type of medical research — endometriosis.
“Medical research is really misogynistic,” she said while being honored at Padma Lakshmi’s Blossom Ball in New York City, citing that the uterine disorder affects 10 percent of women but the National Institutes of Health spent less than $10 million on its research.
“They have sunk far more money into diseases that affect far fewer people, and I think we all know that’s because of stigma that surrounds reproductive health in this country,” she continued. “Let’s give to a cause that may not seem sexy or essential to some, but hey, what is sexier or more essential than vibrant healthy women?”
The Girls creator and star was introduced by Allison Williams, who read a humorous letter addressed to the chronic condition itself. “Dear Endometriosis, screw you. … She is too good for you as are all of the women here so leave them alone,” she said to laughter and cheers. Since both Dunham and her Girls co-showrunner Jenni Konner have the disorder, Williams warned, “Whether you’re endometriosis or a misogynistic reporter, you do not f— with Lena and Jenni.”
Giving “her condolences to anyone who has tried to hurt Lena,” Williams concluded, “Like Achilles before her, only a part of Lena’s own body will wound her, and even then, she will win.”
Dunham hit the Pier Sixty stage after a “weep fest” from Williams’ introduction, but also shared a comical take on the condition. “I’d like to start by thanking my uterine tissue for growing in places where it shouldn’t, give a shout out to my fallopian tubes for their hard work, my ovaries — you know I love you, ovaries, even though you’ve acted pretty bitchy and weird for the last 15 years — and most of all, my bladder and urethral sphincter for really holding up through some rough times this year. My team’s been amazing this year, and I gotta give love to my team.”
The evening — which also drew Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Gail Simmons, Joel Schumacher, Selenis Levya, Michelle Collins and Geoff Stults — also honored the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s longtime supporter Susan Sarandon, fresh from the Tribeca Film Festival screening of The Meddler.
The actress stressed the importance of education, to “make women understand that they don’t have to suffer. This is such a cultural, subversive thing that’s going on here because we’re taught to just put up with these things, that this is part of being a woman. It informs a lot of our attitude of what we tolerate in life and what we don’t.”
“This isn’t part of being a woman,” she added. “Something can be done.”
From left: Susan Sarandon, Padma Lakshmi, Allison Williams and Lena Dunham