Lena Dunham was born and raised in Manhattan, New York.
Dunham has described herself, religiously, as “half-Jew, half- WASP,” because her mother is Jewish and her father is Protestant. In fact, her father’s ancestors were some of America’s first European settlers, having immigrated on the now-famous ship, Mayflower.1 So, along with her Jewish heritage, she’s got some Puritan heritage as well.
Unfortunately, it’s not something she talks much about, and when she does, it’s jokes. For example, at a New York’s Jewish Museum Purim Ball, Dunham said about her father not being Jewish:
The Jews don’t care who your dad is, unless he’s on the board of a major hospital.2
Get it? Because of Jews and doctors and stuff… Is this thing on?
Anyway, Dunham did say that a trip to Israel was “life-changing” and hoped to write a book about the experience.3 But that’s quite vague, and though Dunham seems to identify more with her Jewish roots, most everything from her about religion is not very spiritual. My guess is she’s largely non-religious.
Women, gays, and liberal
Dunham is widely regarded as a feminist, and not just because of her hit show, Girls, and it’s realistic approach to the trials and uncertainties of being a modern woman.4 She also says things like:
It completely sickens me what our culture is doing to women. Last week I wore a big top and little shorts and a bunch of stuff came out saying I was without pants… If Olivia Wilde had gone to a party with a big silky top and little shorts she might have been told her outfit was cute…What it was really: ‘Why did you show us your thighs’?5
When it comes to gay marriage, Dunham is putting her own life’s ambitions on the line to protest what she believes in. She said, when reporters asked about her relationship status with musician Jack Antonoff:
I am not engaged. I don’t want to get married until all gay people can get married.6
So, it probably comes as no surprise that Dunham is (and was during election time) an Obama supporter. After Obama won reelection in 2012, her twitter feed read:
woke up with a different set of emotions than the usual hunger & anxiety: pride in our country and hope for its future #thankyou7
The real question is: What’s with the daily anxiety? Might want to get that checked out.
- Lena Dunham – Forward 50. Forward. [↩]
- Lena Dunham cracks Jewish jokes at Purim ball. NY Post. [↩]
- For Lena Dunham, Palestine is Invisible. Mondoweiss. [↩]
- ‘Girls’ writer lays bare women’s insecurities. Jewish Journal. [↩]
- Lena Dunham – Biography. IMDb. [↩]
- Lena Dunham, Jack Antonoff Not Engaged: ‘Girls’ Star Waiting For Gay Marriage Legalization. The Huffington Post. [↩]
- Lena Dunham (lenadunham) on Twitter. Twitter. [↩]