Lena Dunham Endorses Hillary Clinton, Opens Up About Her Love–Hate Relationship with the Internet
“Cool is when you do whatever the fuck you want.”
As Harper’s Bazaar’s “Daring” issue cover girl, Lena Dunham discusses “adventurous courage,” her longtime and long-distance relationship with Jack Antonoff, supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, not caring about being “cool” and much more.
She told the magazine, for which she posed topless,
I don’t feel cool now, and I certainly don’t feel cool when I go to industry events. If I do feel cool, I see a picture of myself later and I’m like, ‘That was a disaster.’ What I do feel is a freedom from certain kinds of pressures. Now I don’t give a shit if you know that my jacket is from Ann Taylor…Ann Taylor, I want to help you guys do the capsule collection of the millennium. We’re secreting this into the world.
Dunham doesn’t care about being cool, and with the amount of success she’s amassed all before the age of 30, she of all people certainly doesn’t have to. The almost-30-year-old has sometimes (jokingly, seriously, or mockingly) been characterized as the “voice of her generation,” something her character on Girls, her show about being a mid-twenties female, so confidently stated early on in Season 1.
On that joke, Dunham “lightly protests,” Harper’s notes: “I never claimed to be that voice. Except once in a character as a joke, when my character was stoned.” Her mission, rather is “to spread positivity. I know I’m not most moms’ idea of a role model, but I try to use the attention that comes with that wisely and not foolishly.”
And indeed, her audience listens when she voices her opinion on social media. “Yes, I will tweet about my issues with underpants,” she joked. “But I also want to say things that matter. I don’t want to be out on the town spreading messages I can’t get behind. Which is good because I never leave my house.”
In addition to her show, she’s recently created Lenny Letter, a feminist e-letter with her Girls co-producer Jenni Konner. For example, Jennifer Lawrence recently penned a brilliant letter on gender equality and the wage gap for Lenny.
“There were all these incredible young women there—radical, smart,” Dunham explained. “I felt like there should be a space for these girls who care just as much about politics as about how to color their hair pink or whatever. Our grand ambition is to really becomes a safe place for women on the Internet that’s funny and not snarky.”
The Internet, of course, is a controversial haven for Dunham. She’s received her fair share of backlash for comments she’s made on Twitter as well as things she’s written in her book. Dunham explains that her relationship with the Internet is complicated:
I’ve been put to bed for weeks from reading things about myself on sites that used to be considered feminist gospel. I love the Internet because every piece of true pain I’ve experienced as an adult—with the exception of death in the family and breakups—has come from it.
Celebrities can complain all they want about how cruel Twitter is, but we signed up for it. Who didn’t sign up for it are the teenage girls who bully each other to suicide using Twitter. There’s no shortage of stories of how Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, these incredible tools for self-expression, have also led to girls feeling ostracized, alone, slut-shamed. We just want to restore some semblance to safety.
Therefore, Lenny does not have a comments section. “It never ends well,” Dunham added. “I mean, have you ever read, ‘Girls, let’s all go meet for drinks! You guys are such nice people!’ “
In addition to her work life, there’s her personal life and romance with singer and songwriter Jack Antonoff (of fun. and Bleachers). Going on four years, the pair are often long-distance. Dunham explains that’s why the live together: When people ask her “What’s the secret to a long-distance relationship?,” her reply is, “I’m like, ‘It’s hard.’ That’s why it’s really important that we share a home because you see the person’s stuff, and you’re like, ‘Okay, you’re coming back here.'”
It’s easy to see that Antonoff and Dunham are two peas in a pod. He described Lena’s funny daily routine: “For Lena? Set an alarm for 7. Hit snooze until 9:45 or 10. Go to work. Have a major physical issue that sends her home from work, potentially an hour later. Take a nap, go back to work. Have lunch with a friend, enjoying another nap. Quick visit to the hospital, pick up the dog, meet me for dinner, write all night.”
And she praised his musical talent: “I couldn’t be with someone whose work I didn’t respect. I would be so resentful about him being on the road if I didn’t think, ‘You being out there is bringing joy to people at your shows.’ You have to go, ‘my relationship makes everything else possible because it’s love.’ “
On endorsing and campaigning for Clinton, who she interviewed back in September, Dunham said, “I can say passionately that I think Hillary Clinton should be our next president. I believe in her skill, I believe in her expertise, and, yes, I want a female president. But that’s not random. I mean, I wrote my third-grade end-of-the-year paper on Hillary Clinton. So I’ve clearly been in it for the long haul…”
As for her future, and hinting that Girls might be coming to an end now that she’s turning 30 next May, Dunham told Bazaar, “I want to go back to making movies. It’s how I started. I want to keep writing books, and I want to keep cultivating the social justice part of my life…Also, I really want to pay attention to my life. All the interesting travel I’ve done was before the age of seven. So I would like to travel; I would like to be a mother; to find a different way to spend time with my friends and family.”
All in all, she’s looking forward to 30: “I’m psyched about it because I think that being in your 20s—especially as a woman—there’s an inherent tension. Ageism exists in all directions, but it isn’t the sweet spot for being taken seriously in the workplace. I’ve been really lucky. I got to do a lot of things before I was 30 that most people don’t.”
Lastly, as for the “If I met myself at a party question,” Dunham responded (expectedly): “‘That’s a polite lady who seems interested in other people but also has a mind of her own and a fun perspective.’ I also hope I’d think, ‘Her outfit seems like it was thrown together with speed yet panache, and her attitude is positive even in the face of adversity.’ “
Watch her explain what bravery and daring means to her in the video – below.