In an article for Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, titled Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars? Lawrence talks about her experiences.
It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early…But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*ck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard
On the Re/code Decode podcast Dunham tells Swisher she has quit Twitter and Gawker citing verbal abuse and body-shaming.
I don’t look at Twitter anymore. I tweet, but I do it through someone else. I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn’t want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn’t a safe space for me.
She says the decision was prompted after she posted a picture of herself in her boyfriends’ shorts:
It wasn’t a graphic picture. I was wearing men’s boxers, and it turned into the most rabid, disgusting debate about women’s bodies, and my Instagram page was somehow the hub for misogynists for the afternoon.
She also says she has stopped reading Gawker and Jezebel:
I used to read Gawker and Jezebel in college and be like, ‘I can’t wait to get to New York where my people will be to welcome me.’ And it’s like, it’s literally, if I read it, it’s like going back to a husband who beat me in the face — it just doesn’t make any sense.
During a preview of an interview with Dunham, Clinton urges young women make pragmatic political choices even when they can’t get excited about candidates.
Whenever I’m talking to young women about politics, I always say, look, you don’t have to run for office, you don’t have to be actively involved, but you do have to exercise your brain in deciding what you believe and who you will support. And sometimes, it is choices between people that none of whom excite you, but study it enough to figure out, OK, if I vote for this person over that person, I’m more likely to see progress on something I care about.
Clinton also urges young women to not get turned off by negativity in today’s politics.
You kind of can cut through that and say, look, I not only have a right, I have an obligation to make a choice. That’s part of the service I pay for living in our country. So I’m going to vote for X or Y. Not because I think that person is perfect, but it’s going to be better than the alternative. If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic and do it anyway.
Palin criticizes what she sees as the double standard in media treatment of the Duggar case, compared to that of Dunham.
HEY LENA, WHY NOT LAUGH OFF EVERYONE’S SEXUAL ‘EXPERIMENTS’ AS YOU HAUGHTILY ENJOY REWARDS FOR YOUR OWN PERVERSION? YOU PEDOPHILE, YOU. I’m not defending the Duggar boy’s obvious wrongdoing over a decade ago. The main victim in any story like this isn’t the perpetrator, it’s the innocent ones so harmfully affected. I’m not an apologist for any sexual predator, but I’m sickened that the media gives their chosen ones a pass for any behavior as long as they share their leftwing politics. Case in point, they suggest Lena Dunham’s sexual assault on her sibling is cute, and she’s rewarded for it with fame and fortune. Meanwhile, they crucify another, along with an entire family.
Following the appearance of posters on Columbia campus calling both Dunham and and Sulkowicz liars, Dunham tweets her support:
In a New Yorker article Dunham posts a 35-point quiz:
Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?
1. The first thing I noticed about him was his eyes
2. We love to spend hours in bed together on Sunday mornings.
3. He’s crazy for cream cheese.
4. It hasn’t always been easy, but we currently live together and it’s going O.K.
Dunham appears on the cover of the February 2015 issue of Elle magazine. She talks about the future of Girls and how she handles criticism.
I realized early on that I was not going to be able to have a comfortable relationship with celebrity if I didn’t feel like I was using it to talk about things that were important to me. It was always going to make me feel gross, for lack of a better word. I was like, ‘Oh, this attention is something I’m going to figure out how to use in a way that feels productive, healthy, and smart. And not just like as an excuse to collect handbags.’ Although, I love handbags.
Dunham gives Swift a handpainted Irene Neuwirth charm for her birthday. Swift:
My birthday present from Lena Dunham is my new most cherished possession
Dunham will amend a section in Not That Kind Of Girl to make it clear that she is using a pseudonym when she refers to a ‘mustachioed campus Republican’ she calls Barry, who she says sexually assaulted her in college by taking off a condom without her consent during sex. Another man named Barry, from Oberlyn, feels that the description matched him too closely and began legal action. Random House:
As indicated on the copyright page of Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, some names and identifying details in the book have been changed. The name ‘Barry’ referenced in the book is a pseudonym. Random House, on our own behalf and on behalf of our author, regrets the confusion.
The new editions of the book will contain a footnote in the relevant chapter noting that Barry is not the man’s real name.
Dunham writes for Buzzfeed that she published the details of her alleged sexual assault in college in order to highlight the shame she felt and to deal with it, not to expose the perpetrator or bring him to justice. She says she didn’t report the incident to the college or to police, like many other assault victims, and says she was ashamed and confused when telling her gynecologist, as she had been drunk and high at the time it occurred.
And I was afraid. I was afraid that no one would believe me. I was afraid other potential partners would consider me damaged goods. I was afraid I was overreacting. I was afraid it was my fault. I was afraid he would be angry. Eight years later, I know just how classic these fears are. They are the reason that the majority of college women who are assaulted will never report it.
In an essay to Buzzfeed, Dunham apologizes to a man falsely identified as her attacker due to the name and description used in her book Not That Kind of Girl, which details the rape that occurred while she was in college. Dunham says ‘Barry’ is a pseudonym she used in the book to protect her attacker.
To be very clear, ‘Barry’ is a pseudonym, not the name of the man who assaulted me, and any resemblance to a person with this name is an unfortunate and surreal coincidence. I am sorry about all he has experienced.
Dunham buys the apartment in Brooklyn to replace her previous $500,000 apartment. Antonoff is seen moving their stuff into the new pad.
Random House apologizes to a man who hired an attorney after feeling he was the target of Lena Dunham’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl, where Dunham claims she was raped in college by a man named ‘Barry’.
As indicated on the copyright page of ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ by Lena Dunham, some names and identifying details in the book have been changed. The name ‘Barry’ referenced in the book is a pseudonym. Random House, on our own behalf and on behalf of our author, regrets the confusion that has led attorney Aaron Minc to post on GoFundMe on behalf of his client, whose first name is Barry. We are offering to pay the fees Mr. Minc has billed his client to date. Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.
The conservative news site investigates Dunham’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a ‘campus Republican’ she identifies by the name of Barry when she was a 19-year-old student at the Oberlin liberal arts college in Ohio. Dunham says the man worked at the campus library and having a flamboyant mustache, and identifies the name of the radio show she says he hosted, Real Talk With Jimbo. In total she gives around a dozen clues to his identity, including hard-to-verify traits such as being a poor loser at poker and having worn purple cowboy boots. It says she is deliberately identifying a man named Barry who attended the college at the time:
For weeks, and to no avail, using phone and email and online searches, Breitbart News was able to verify just one of these details. Like everyone else interested, we immediately found that there indeed was a prominent Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin at the time in question.
Whatever her motives, Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man. But as you will read in the details below, the facts do not point back at him. Not even close. This man is by all accounts (including his own) innocent.
It refers to the person as ‘Barry One’ and declines to use his real name:
Lena Dunham might have been raped at Oberlin College, but the “Barry” she describes in her memoir is a ghost. The man we call Barry One, however, the man legions have found online using details published in Not That Kind of Girl, is very real. And what’s unforgivable is that, through an incomprehensible malice or a combination of breathtaking carelessness and a number of unthinkable coincidences, in the courtroom of public opinion, Lena Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man and screaming “rapist.”
The investigation concludes that Dunham is not cooperating with authorities, who are taking her charges seriously, to get justice served for the person who raped her but is instead casting suspicion on somebody innocent.
Dunham gives a statement to TIME about the passages in her book that dealt with her sexual play with her sister while they were young:
I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.
Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.
As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.
Dunham responds to the allegations in a series of tweets:
The right wing news story that I molested my little sister isn’t just LOL—it’s really f–king upsetting and disgusting. And by the way, if you were a little kid and never looked at another little kid’s vagina, well, congrats to you. Usually this is stuff I can ignore but don’t demean sufferers, don’t twist my words, back the f–k up bros. I told a story about being a weird 7 year old. I bet you have some too, old men, that I’d rather not hear. And yes, this is a rage spiral. Sometimes I get so mad I burn right up. Also I wish my sister wasn’t laughing so hard.
An article by Thomas in Truth Revolt, notes that in her book, Dunham describes experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using “anything a sexual predator might do.” The article highlights book passages where Dunham bribes her sister to kiss her for prolonged periods using what she says “anything a sexual predator might do”, masturbates while she is in the bed beside her, and plays with her one-year-old sister’s vagina (p. 158-9):
One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked. My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”
My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just got on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.
Dunham and Ellen discuss being naked on TV on The Ellen Show.
It’s not like death and taxes, it only happens to a select few.
While speaking to a crowd at the New Yorker Festival, Dunham reveals she is working on adapting Karen Cushman’s young adult novel Catherine, Called Birdy into a film. The novel, set during the Middle Ages, is a coming of age tale of a young girl growing up circa 1290.
This is actually my first time talking about it publicly. I’m very excited about it. I’m not sure when it’ll happen, but I’m in the process of (working on it). I’m going to adapt it and hopefully direct it. I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.
Law enforcement officials say they are taking Dunham’s claims seriously but they aren’t able to do anything about the allegations unless she is prepared to step forward. Lieutenant Mike McCloskey of the Oberlin Police Department:
Information published in a memoir is not enough to pursue an investigation. Unless Ms. Dunham comes forward, there can be no active case.
Dunham writes a memoir Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned.” She dedicates the book to her family, her boyfriend, and to “Nora” — Nora Ephron, the writer and director, and Dunham’s mentor and friend. In the spirit of Helen Gurley Brown’s Having it All, Dunham doles out advice to young millennials, recounts tales of therapy sessions, boyfriend choices, terrible life choices, and her penchant for appropriating her family’s stories into her work.
There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.
In Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl, she writes she was raped when she was a college student at Oberlin, but did not realize it was rape until she told about her encounter to her roommate.
Audrey’s pale little face goes blank. She clutches my hand and, in a voice reserved for moms in Lifetime movies, whispers, “You were raped.” I burst out laughing.”
After having sex with a guy while high on Xanax and Cocaine and inebriated, Dunham recounts how she saw his condom hanging on a plant near the bed. She kicks him out, but in the essay it is clear that the man had taken advantage of her intoxicated state.
I don’t know how we got here, but I refuse to believe it’s an accident . . .
Dunham also tells the story to reporter Terri Gross, explaining why she included the story in her book.
In a reverse decision, Dunham decides to compensate performers who were originally signed on to perform opening acts for her book tour without pay.
As an artist raised by artists, no one believes more than I do that creators should be fairly compensated for their work.
Dunham’s decision comes after controversy emerged when Gawker listed Dunham’s projected revenue for her book, and disclosed that the performers would not be compensated for their work.
In a controversy fueled by Gawker, Dunham does not pay the seven performers she hand-picked to “warm-up” the crowd for her 11-city book tour. To enliven her book tour, the actor-cum-writer chose from among 600 applicants who applied online to perform for her tour. Gawker claims that since she is expected to make $304,000 in ticket sale revenue alone, she should compensate her performers who willingly signed up for the act knowing it would be pro bono.
Dunham begins at Barnes & Noble’s Union Square location in New York. part of her 11-city tour promoting her collection of personal essays Not That Kind of Girl. Dunham chose seven performers to act as “warm-up” for her tour, which includes live music and food trucks. Tickets to the scheduled events cost $38 and include a sign copied of Dunham’s book. The tour will feature appearances by the actor Carrie Brownstein, and novelist Zadie Smith. Her publishers want to rebrand Dunham as a writer, according to Theresa Zoro, director of publicity at Random House:
We’re trying to establish her as a writer, a very serious literary writer, so we put her in conversation with authors who are very literary.
Dunham publishes videos to promote her book Not That Kind of Girl on her Youtube channel “Ask Lena.” Dunham fields questions from her fans against a backdrop of a cartoonish representation of a New York City office. In the first installment, she answers a question from a fan about whether she can still be called a feminist even though she dresses provocatively when she goes out.
Dunham appears on the cover of the culture issue of The New York Times magazine. She talks about her book being leaked, her boyfriend, and big career moments.
I think there’s a part of my parents and a part of me that is consistently excited and surprised that I am in any way functional. I’ve had a lot of moments in my career where I’ve had to just say, ‘I’m picking my jaw up off the floor and carrying on,’ Because you don’t get much work done with your jaw on the floor.
Lena talks about being hungry at the Emmys and she explains what it’s like to bring her parents there with her.
It’s an amazing honor to be nominated, it’s a long night.
Dunham talks about writing for Archie comics and reveals that she’s a lifelong Archie fan on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I’m pretty excited, it is one of those child hood dreams.
The value system is off from my own, I think it could use a feminist.
Dunham gives an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live and discusses her high school reunion.
I am avoiding who I was.
Dunham reacts to the death of Rivers:
Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she.
Dunham is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards for portraying Hannah Horvath on Girls.
It’s an honor to be recognized with this incredible group of fierce and funny women. This list of nominees would also be the list for the best dinner party in history. Many thanks to the academy and to HBO.
Dunham says she learned that her alleged rapist, who she refers to as Barry, hurt at least two other women:
The next semester [following her alleged rape], after Barry is gone, my friend Melody tells me that once her friend Julia woke up the morning after sex with Barry, and the wall was spattered with blood. Spattered, she said, ‘like a crime scene.’ But he was nice, and he took her for the morning after pill and named the baby they weren’t having.
She adds another anecdote about the person:
There was a story about him punching a girl in the boobs at a party.
Dunham appears on the cover of the April 2014 issue of Glamour magazine. The cover photo ia taken by Tom Munro and styled by Katie Mossman. Dunham talks about her future acting career.
I don’t know if I’m going to want to act anymore. I’m always relieved on the days I don’t have to. I’d rather give parts to other women than be the woman having the parts.
Seacrest interviews Dunham during On Air With Ryan Seacrest and questions her about why she wants to quite acting after the series Girls is over.
I don’t know if I’m going to want to act anymore. I’m always relieved on the days I don’t have to. I’d rather give parts to other women than be the woman having the parts.
Dunham appears on the cover of the February issue of Vogue. Beside her photo it reads:
Hey, girl. Lena Dunham: The New Queen of Comedy
Dunham appears on the cover of the October 2013 issue of Marie Claire. She talks about her parents and how she learned to love her body.
My parents both have really healthy attitudes about their own bodies but also about the range of things that can be beautiful. But they also just always made me feel pretty and cool and smart, even in the moments when I have known — and still know — that my body wasn’t fitting into a traditional Hollywood idea of the female body.
Dunham is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards for portraying Hannah Horvath on Girls.
This is amazing. It’s a very exciting boost to go to set with something to celebrate beyond just the fact that the breakfast truck serves quesadillas.
Dunham and Jenni Konner plan to develop a comedy series on HBO based on the life of personal shopper Betty Halbreich. The duo have been tasked to write the pilot for the show. HBO has not officially announced the show but it has confirmed that Dunham and Konner will work to adapt Halbreich’s memoir All Dressed Up and Everywhere to Go. Halbreich made a name for herself working as a career shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, buying clothes for rich Manhattanites. Halbreich:
We’re holding on, until the (my) book comes out. And she has a book coming out right after me! I will tell you something: I adore her as a human being. We are, if nothing comes of this, we’re very attached at the hip.
Dunham signs a more than $3.5 million book deal. After submitting a glossy 66 page proposal to publishers for her collection of personal essays entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned, Random House signs Dunham on for the project, buying both American and Canadian book rights. According to the publisher, the book is slated to cover love, friendship, and “frank and funny advice on everything from sex to eating to traveling to work.”
(I am) thrilled to be working with and learning from the brilliant minds at Random House, and to be among their incredible roster of authors. I look forward to digging deep with Andy and co. (book editor) to produce the most thoughtful and personal book I can.
Dunham is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for the 64th Emmy Awards for portraying Hannah Horvath on Girls.
I have had the shriekiest morning of my life. I literally feel like I got asked to the prom and engaged and told I was going to the moon all in one day. Not to be too dramatic.
Dunham’s cable television series Girls debuts on HBO. The series purports to chronicle the lives of four twenty-something single women living in New York. The show, produced by Judd Appatow, features Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver, Zosia Mamet, Alex Karpovsky. Dunham conceived of the show, and is its principal creator, as well as starring in the leading role of Hannah Horvath. On personal experiences the show reflects:
I am a working woman out in the world, but I still live with my parents half the time. I’ve been taking this long, stuttering period of moving out. … I feel like I’m constantly asking them to please stay out of my work life, but also to please bring me soup. It’s this weird moment where you just don’t have a sense of what age-appropriate behavior is because there is no age-appropriate behavior.
In the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, Dunham screens her feature length film Tiny Furniture. Dunham wrote and directed the film, which tells the story of a young woman freshly graduated from college trying to find her next step while living in her parents apartment in TriBeca. The film wins the festival’s best feature film award. On her character’s low self-esteem:
It’s trite to say, but when you’re not sure about who you are, or what you’re worth, or what your purpose is, there’s a way that you’ll let people who you think have a clearer sense of those things [into your life] and be thankful for any attention those people will give you.
Dunham makes a low-budget, low-fi sixty minute film about Ella, a college student (played by Dunham) who has ambivalent feelings about her dorm-mate Chris. Ella is a virgin, and the film wrestles with her anxieties about sex as she tries unsuccessfully to complete a screenplay she has to finish in order to graduate. The film premiered at the New Filmmakers festival and was included in Austin’s South by Southwest festival.
A lot of it. An embarrassingly amount of it is autobiographical . . . . On a film-making level you can do it. An incredibly low- budget, low-fi way of working. If I can make a movie, really, anyone can make a movie.
Lena Dunham is born in New York City to artist parents Carroll Dunham, painter, and Laurie Simmons, photographer and painter. She has one sister, Grace. She attends St. Ann School in Brooklyn, and divides her time between New York and her family’s home in Salisbury, Connecticut. Dunham writes about her life at age eight:
My name is Lena Dunham. I am eight almost nine. I was born May 13 1986. My grate grandmother who I never met was named Lena. My papa is namd Carroll dunham. My mama is Laurie Simmons.