Lena Dunham: Half of Hateful Body Slams Came From Women

Actress/director wants next phase of life to be about work, not 'apologizing' all the time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2022 3:43 PM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2022 3:55 PM CST
Lena Dunham: Half of Hateful Body Slams Came From Women
Lena Dunham in a 2019 photo. She had a serious bout of COVID and says the isolation it necessitated ended up being a boon to her creativity.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Lena Dunham has been lying relatively low the last few years after being a seemingly constant focus of tabloid headlines. Now a profile at the Hollywood Reporter magazine suggests the 36-year-old is in a much better place. She's sober and in a stable marriage, and she fended off a COVID diagnosis at the start of the pandemic that was potentially fatal because of pre-existing health issues. (COVID even brought an unexpected bonus: The isolation it necessitated was a "boon to her creativity.") "I'd love the next decade to be less about apologizing and just about openly making art," she says. Dunham is currently promoting a new film, Sharp Stick, and has several other projects in the works. The profile runs through her early rise to fame via her HBO creation Girls—"I'm proud of myself," she says, recalling her first day on the set as a 24-year-old—along with the negativity that came along with that and hasn't stopped.

"I was getting messages—many, many, many of them a day—about what I looked like. Things most people will never have said to them in their lives because most of polite society keeps people from walking up to each other at a Target and going like, 'You're fat, you're ugly and you deserve to die.'" One surprise to her: She estimates half of those messages came from other women, perhaps ones who looked like her who "had internalized the kind of hatred that we are supposed to have of our bodies." The profile is not a boo-hoo-for-me interview, however. Dunham acknowledges her mistakes, including "huge blinds spots" when she was younger about issues such as racism (Girls frequently took flak for its lack of diversity) and even the Me Too movement. (Read the full profile, which explains why a Girls reboot is possible, though not anytime soon.)

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