Lena Dunham Confesses She's Thinking (A Lot) About Marriage

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
Before last month's historic ruling from the Supreme Court that finally made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, Lena Dunham was one of many celebrities who had publicly declared that she wouldn't marry until everyone could. Well, now that everyone in the country can, has the Girls star changed her outlook on marriage and possibly walking down the aisle with her love Jack Antonoff? Sort of. Kind of. It's complicated.

In a new essay for The New Yorker titled "The Bride in Her Head," Dunham writes about her complex feelings about the concept of marriage. Dunham, a proud feminist, shares that as a young girl, she would often daydream about and doodle her own dream storybook wedding, fluffy white dress and all. As she points out, it's certainly not exceptional behavior for a little girl, but considering that she was raised by a feminist mother with her own reservations about marriage, "My work as junior wedding planner could only have been a disappointing mystery to her," Dunham writes.

Dunham's essay is filled with sharp, funny, and relatable sentiments for any woman who has ever waffled on the desire to get married, and especially for those who've considered what its impact may be on their individuality (though, I have sort of a hard time believing that at the tender age of 11, Dunham found traditional weddings to be "patronizing, outdated, and terrifying"). Dunham, like so many like-minded women, also struggled with the idea that if the LGBTQ friends and family in her life couldn't wed, "Weren’t we supporting and promoting a bigoted and outdated institution?"

The writer-actress goes on to talk about how her partner, Antonoff, shared a similar stance on marriage equality. (As she puts it, "The struggle was real and raw for Jack, and so it somehow became understood, between us, that we wouldn’t even consider marrying until every American had the same right.")

So what happened when marriage finally became legal for everyone in the United States? Well, aside from the onslaught of giddy, if not leading questions from friends, family, and fans? More complication. Though Dunham's feelings about marriage, which she'd previously set aside, were thrust back to the forefront by the SCOTUS decision, she realized that Antonoff's hadn't been — because, as she astutely writes, "as a man, his entire life has not been shaped by a desire for, or a rejection of, a fluffy white dress." Right. On. Lena.

She also writes that in the time since the landmark decision, she's felt "lonely, crazy, guilty…and unsure" about wanting to get married and about the institution as a whole. It's a complex mix of feelings that many women know well, and Dunham captures the agony of trying to "detangle personal preference from social conditioning, our deepest desires from the codes we have been taught to follow."

Whether or not Dunham and Antonoff ever do decide to marry (she would have one hell of a dress, especially if she decided to go with the teenage-inspired "shredded lace gown and combat boots" look she describes), the evolving conversation (and confusion) many of us feel with regards to marriage and our personal identities is always one worth close and insightful consideration.

Read the essay in its entirety here.

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