It seems like Lena Dunham exploded onto the Hollywood scene overnight. With her widely popular HBO series “Girls”, her incredibly controversial book “Not That Kind of Girl” and her role as one of Taylor Swift’s minions, Dunham has managed to stay relevant through a continuous output of content. Dunham has repeatedly used her relevancy to her advantage by posting controversial pictures and topics on her various social media accounts. One of these posts depicted Dunham in her boyfriend’s underwear, which she later deleted. This particular picture sparked disgust from other Instagram users calling Dunham a “fat pig” among other derogatory terms. This kind of body shaming and cyber bullying is unacceptable and cruel, but the bad attention that Dunham receives in other ways is truly indescribable. It’s a phenomenon. A phenomenon that pegs Lena Dunham as a fun-to-hate target.
Let’s start with “Not That Kind of Girl.” Lena Dunham’s memoir was initially praised for being insightful and inspiring. But after further close readings of the publication, many readers believed a particular section made Dunham look like her sister’s childhood rapist. The scene Dunham describes involves touching her sister inappropriately because of her naive curiosity. Dunham played off attacks in interviews, citing her immaturity and young age as the root of the incident.
After being accused of rape, Dunham remained in difficult territory in the eyes of the public. The ambiguity of Dunham’s popularity then turned to outright hatred after Dunham was accused of lying about being a rape victim. Dunham falsely accused a man of raping her during her time as a student at Oberlin College. The specific details of her “rapist” lead an innocent man to be hated and threatened by countless supporters of Dunham and the general public. After a lengthy investigation of the apparent rape, it was determined that the accused was, in fact, innocent. Only after this investigation did Dunham and her publisher Random House state that the rape was fictitious. The prestige of the award Dunham received at Variety’s Power of Women New York Luncheon and the comfort of public approval vanished with the news that pinned Dunham as a liar. The public’s disgust resulted in Dunham’s downfall on social media, in print and on television.
Lena Dunham receives hate on a daily basis, just like any celebrity would. But the combination of her controversial social media presence and intense advocacy of many hot-button issues makes Dunham the perfect person to hate. Aside from being pinned as a liar, Dunham is disliked simply because she is Lena Dunham. In the summer, Dunham was featured in one of Jimmy Fallon’s infamous “Lip Sync Battles” where she ultimately flopped. The YouTube video of Dunham’s lip sync failure boasted an unusually high dislike-to-like ratio, and thousands of unkind comments. One user comments, “I get a really weird vibe from her, I don’t know why, but she seems really unlikable, and not funny.” Another user who knew of Dunham’s past writes, “I dunno what’s worse. The fact that she’s so terribly unfunny and always pushing her radfem agenda, or the fact that she is a child molester.” This hate that follows Dunham wherever she goes takes a toll on both her social media accounts and her output of content on her HBO series “Girls.”
During a recent morning show podcast with Elvis Duran, Dunham announced “Girls” may come to an end after the sixth season. This could be due to bad ratings, but many believe this is the result of social media hatred. Dunham’s lies and “personality,” as one Twitter user puts it, make Dunham an easy and justified target. The Lena Dunham Phenomenon is truly remarkable because of the speed at which Dunham fell from her pedestal. The combination of deceit and a “fake” personality will continue to lead Dunham in a downward spiral with the wrap up of “Girls.” So believe me, you’ve got it better than Lena Dunham.