Shalom Life | March 28, 2015

Op-Ed: Lena Dunham’s 'Dog or Jewish Boyfriend' Piece is Thoughtless and Offensive

In her latest literary endeavour, 'Girls' star Dunham tries to come across as funny by comparing her boyfriend to a dog; she doesn't

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: March 27th, 2015 in Culture » TV » News

Photo: Lena Dunham and boyfriend Jack Antonoff of fun.


Lena Dunham, the star and creator of the hit show Girls, has recently published a piece in The New York Times which has left (and should leave) everyone feeling deeply offended.

Her newest literary piece entitled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz” was intended as a lighthearted piece to make readers laugh as they try and guess which of the two she’s speaking about.

But, as everyone knows, it’s not the intention that counts.

There are several alarming issues that Dunham brings up in her piece but the first, and perhaps most upsetting thing, is the casualness at which she’s able to compare her Jewish boyfriend to a dog.

This isn’t the first time Jewish peoples have been compared to them, nor will it be the last. And while the tone of her piece is clearly intended to be anything other than humorous, it comes across as anything but. Nazis used to compare the Jewish people to dogs, and recently a cafe in Belgium posted a sign in their window saying, “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not, under any circumstances.”

With a clear rise in global violence against and discrimination towards Jewish peoples, Dunham’s thoughtless comparison between her Jewish boyfriend and a dog serves as a reminder of how casually people treat anti-Semitism.

Additionally, this Girls star’s treatment of women in her piece is equally astounding. She speaks of Judaism as a woman-hating faith. In her eighth point in the quiz she writes, “I feel that he is judgmental about the food I serve him. When I make something from scratch, he doesn’t want to eat it, but he also rejects most store-bought dinners.”

She then follows this up in points nine and ten by explaining that, “This is because he comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates,” and “As a result of this dynamic, he expects to be waited on hand and foot by the women in his life, and anything less than that makes him whiny and distant.”

Lastly, the overall tone of her piece gives the impression that her (and she stresses this) Jewish boyfriend is a whiny brat who needs constant attention, doesn’t pay for anything, and is a burden to her. In fact, Dunham gets this point across so clearly that by the end of the article she makes it sound like she’d be better off with a dog than her current partner.

While Dunham has been made famous by sharing her bold opinions, and provocative soundbites with the world, this time she’s gone too far. Unless her next piece is an apology to the Jewish community for her thoughtless article in The New Yorker, maybe it’s time we all stop listening to her.

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