Why Lena Dunham Votes (And Why You Should, Too)

In case there was still any question about it, yes, Lena Dunham did, in fact, vote in the 2012 presidential election. But she didn’t always vote — something that is, according to her, “embarrassing, more embarrassing than being naked on TV or being told you look like a ‘baby giraffe’ when you walk in heels at awards shows.” She’s seeking to end the trend of eligible Americans not voting, though: In a Wednesday blog post penned for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Women Are Watching initiative, Dunham listed her top five reasons for voting — as well as why everyone should vote.

Although a concerted effort has been made in recent years to encourage people to vote, a mind-blowingly large number still don’t head to their polling stations on Election Day. As of July 6, here’s where our voting stats stand:

  • Total number of Americans eligible to vote: 206,072,000
  • Total number of Americans registered to vote: 143,311,000
  • Total number of Americans who voted in the 2012 presidential election: 131,144,000

That means that 12,167,000 people who are registered to vote in the US didn’t exercise that right during the 2012 election; 74,928,000 people who are eligible to vote didn’t vote, either; and most shockingly, 62,761,000 people who are eligible to vote aren’t even registered to do so. Only 64 percent of Americans voted in 2012. Yikes.

Head over to Women Are Watching to read the full post, but the short version of Dunham’s reasons for voting is as follows:

  1. It makes you feel good.
  2. All votes are equal, and yours definitely matters.
  3. The people running for office could end up controlling your sex life, whether you want them to or not.
  4. It’s a way to ensure that women in particular have their health needs met.
  5. Voting is the first step in taking the action we need to take in order to make our world a better place.

Not going to lie — points three and four are the ones that really drive the whole thing home for me. I will never understand what gives a bunch of strangers the right to dictate what I do with my body, when I do it, and who I do it with. I will never understand why those strangers seem to think that women don’t deserve to have access to the care and services they need to stay healthy and happy. Dunham feels the same way — but, she writes, “rather than go deep into a rage spiral, I vote. It’s healthier, more effective, and infinitely more pleasant.” And she’s right. The way we make change happen is by speaking up about it and by being the change we want to see — and voting is a way to make that happen.

Launched in 2011, Women Are Watching fights not only to make sure that Planned Parenthood itself can continue to provide the health services women need, but moreover, to halt legislation that will curtail women’s health overall. Even though National Voter Registration Day has already passed, it still only takes a moment of your time to register to vote. And if you’re already registered? You’re on the right track — but make sure you actually go vote, too. There’s only a little more than a month go before Election Day on Nov. 4. Make it count.

Images: Giphy (2)