Lena Dunham’s Thoughts on Gay Marriage Are Mostly About Herself


Marriage equality has done a lot to upend traditional and patriarchal notions of weddings. Without the gender-role rigidity that was once inherent to the wedding custom, it can evolve into a ceremony much more focused on commitment and parternship than on the traditional nuclear family — for everyone.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no baggage left around the institution of marriage, particularly for some women who grow up with the white dress fantasy. One such woman is Lena Dunham, who writes about her ambivalence in her favorite outlet, The New Yorker, explaining that she had taken a common “we won’t marry until everyone can marry” stance with her boyfriend, Jack Antonoff. This was a stance that the Supreme Court had now rendered moot, thereby throwing her into confusion. “I also liked that our anti-marriage plan wasn’t absolute, and that it teased at a brighter future for all (a future where I might get to wear the fluffy white dress),” she writes.

That future, of course, arrived not long ago, when the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a right for all, regardless of gender identification or sexual preference. Like so many people around the country, I awoke to dozens of joyful messages from friends and family… Soon after, another kind of text started to trickle in: “Now you can get married!” “Hello, bride to be <3” “So, when’s the wedding??” There were tweets from awesomely excited gay guys,… from my aunt Bonnie, who knows that if I ever do get married I’d want to wear her simple and beautiful dress.

Feminist ambivalence around marriage is often a worthy topic for the well-armed writer and thinker — and some of what Dunham touches on here will resonate with her fans and other marriage-agnostic folks.

Yet in the wake of a historic LGBT victory and a nationwide push to look at rights beyond marriage for the most disenfranchised members for that community, Dunham’s essay about gay marriage her own personal struggle with marriage angst ends up reading as something the often brilliant actress, writer, and feminist rarely is: pedestrian.