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Lena Dunham just showed she’s not afraid of clichés about single women

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Jessica Rapana
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The Girls creator is here to dismantle the destructive clichés that persist around single women… by leaning into them. 

Single women are often (falsely) portrayed as lonely, sexless and eccentric, staying at home in sweatpants with their cats and a tub of mint choc chip.

Thanks to popular culture – think: Eleanor Abernathy in The Simpsons and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle in Batman Returns – the ‘crazy cat lady’ narrative is alive and well, it seems.

So, when Lena Dunham was walking to the refrigerator at 3am in her mustard-stained nightgown holding an armload of cats, the irony wasn’t lost on her.

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Posting a photo on Instagram of herself, cats in hand, Dunham wrote: “And it was then, walking to the refrigerator at 3am in her mustard-stained nightgown carrying an armload of cats, that she realized, “wow, it feels good to be a living breathing destructive cliche about single women.”

The Girls creator is now single after splitting with American singer-songwriter Jack Antonoff, who she dated for nearly six years, in December 2017.

Last year, Dunham relocated to Wales for the summer to film her new HBO series, Industry. Around that time, in a personal essay for The Guardian, she revealed that she was using that time to get over Antonoff and an “explosive and uncomfortable” relationship that followed.

“I came to Wales with all my art supplies and no lacy underwear,” she wrote. “I had zero fantasies about summer romance. I hadn’t had sex in seven months so I felt fine about eating all the Welsh cakes.” 

More recently, though, Dunham – who has been sober since 2018 after a stint in rehab to recover from a painkillers addiction – has revealed that she is dating again, after talking publicly about the difficulties of sober dating in the UK. She described the process as “a roughie”.

In the meantime, however, she is quietly dismantling these silly clichés often held against single women – by leaning into them. We love how, in true Dunham-style, she is using humour to send an important message.

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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