Lena Dunham Speaks Candidly About Relentless Body-Shaming She’s Endured In Her Career

"People had a very swift and strong and allergic reaction to what I looked like."

Lena Dunham has opened up about the body shaming that she endured as a public figure and how it took an effect on her.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dunham spoke candidly about her experiences, after remaining rather tight-lipped about all that she’s gone through for so many years.

“People had a very swift and strong and allergic reaction to what I looked like, and they made it very clear to me,” she told the publication. “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.’”

The Girls creator explained that at least half of the abusive messages she received weren’t from men, but rather, came from women. And to Dunham, she saw it as another example of how women are under pressure to look a certain way, and the self-hatred that comes with that.

Lena Dunham

“I think people would think it would be like Trump-loving men in the heartland,” she said. “But it was women. Probably women with similar body types to me who had internalised the kind of hatred that we are supposed to have of our bodies. If they weren’t going to enjoy their body, then I sure as hell wasn’t supposed to enjoy mine.”

Discussing the prominent nudity on Girls, the 35-year-old made it clear that it was never her primary motive and that she had been dealing with her own issues on her body image. 

“I had all the issues with my body that every young woman has,” she admitted, adding, “I just happened to not be self-conscious naked.”

However, Dunham’s honesty was far from over. After discussing her journey with a body shaming audience, she spoke about her struggle with fertility following a hysterectomy. 

“I’ll be 36 this year,” she said. “I don’t feel like turning 38 without a child.”

In 2018, Dunham had a hysterectomy in the hopes of relieving her painful endometriosis. For Dunham’s hysterectomy, the procedure involved removing the uterus, cervix and one of her ovaries.

In a moving article for Harper’s Magazine, Dunham spoke candidly about her decision to attempt IVF following the procedure, in the hope of harvesting from her one ovary. However, their attempt was unsuccessful since the remaining ovary was not producing viable eggs.

“The irony is that knowing I cannot have a child—my ability to accept that and move on—may be the only reason I deserve to be anyone’s parent at all,” she wrote.

“I think I finally have something to teach somebody.”

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