Lena Dunham Talks To Hillary Clinton About Feminism And Marriage To Bill

Lena Dunham says there’s no such thing as too much information, at least when it comes to her soon-to-launch digital newsletter. Lenny goes live on September 29, and Lena recently sat down with Hillary Clinton for an interview that will be released in the first issue, People reports. Dunham immediately got down to the heart of the matter, asking the Presidential hopeful about her marriage to Bill.

Lena didn’t ask for the Hallmark card version of their courtship, though. Instead, Dunham asked Hillary if she’d had anxiety about “losing herself” in a marriage to someone who had such ambitious political aspirations. Her response was candid, introspective and perfect.

“I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the kind of wake of Bill’s force-of-nature personality. I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him.”

Lena Dunham went on to ask Clinton quite a variety of questions, hitting on such topics as her life when she was 20-something, her thoughts on the debt students pick up in the process of becoming educated and women’s health issues. Lena also asked the liberal politician if she considered herself to be a feminist, reports the Huffington Post. Clinton responded with an unequivocal “Absolutely.” She went on to describe what the word “feminist” means to her, and her confusion over women who don’t consider themselves feminists.

“I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman of whatever age, but particularly a young woman, says something like, ‘well, I believe in equal rights but I’m not a feminist.’ Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights. I’m hoping that people will not be afraid to say, that doesn’t mean you hate men, it doesn’t mean you want to separate out the world, so you’re not a part of ordinary life — that’s not what it means at all! It just means that we believe women have the same rights as men — politically, culturally, socially, economically — that’s what it means.”

Not surprisingly, Clinton’s response to Lena Dunham has gotten a lot of attention on social media. The tweets range from supportive to outright insulting.

Clearly, a lot of people took some negative stuff away from the Lena Dunham interview, despite the fact that her guest’s words don’t appear meant to be insulting. Lena is no stranger to controversy, though. She was harshly criticized by when her memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, was released. In the book, Dunham describes childhood sexual interactions with her younger sister that many considered to be abusive, the Guardian reports.

“Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying.”

It didn’t take the right-wing media long to call Lena Dunham out for her admissions, and her name notoriously became rapidly tied to molestation. Her social media response to the allegations was swift and angry, a reaction Dunham later referred to as a “rage spiral.” Lena intially publicly defended her activities with her sister, which took place when she was seven and her sister just one, as being a normal part of childhood.

Dunham later took on a more apologetic tone as the backlash grew.

“First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances. Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention.”

It remains to be seen if her interview with Hillary will help or hurt the candidate, but either way, it’s garnering Dunham a lot of free press for her new endeavor. The interview will be available in its entirety to subscribers of Lenny when it launches next Tuesday, along with other candid Lena Dunham sit-downs.

[Image Courtesy: Brian Ach / Getty Images]