Lena Dunham stirs pot with controversial 'dog or Jewish boyfriend' magazine piece

Dunham penned a piece entitled "Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz," in which she lists a number of attributes that the reader must guess is either referring to her pet or her companion.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 27, 2015 21:17
1 minute read.
Actress Lena Dunham arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California

Actress Lena Dunham arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Lena Dunham, the writer and actress best known for her HBO hit series Girls, raised eyebrows on Friday after a tongue-in-cheek article she had written for The New Yorker magazine prompted accusations of anti-Semitism.

Dunham penned a piece entitled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” in which she lists a number of attributes that the reader must guess is either referring to her pet or her companion.

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A few of the passages seem to play on anti-Semitic stereotypes regarding Jews and money, including, “He doesn’t tip. And he never brings his wallet anywhere.”

There’s also a paragraph in which she refers to her subject as “…com[ing] 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.”

The article provoked strong responses from readers on Twitter as well as from Jewish officials, including Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman.

“While we understand that humor is its own special brand of expression and always try to give leeway to comedians, we wish that she had chosen another, less insensitive way to publicly reflect on her boyfriend’s virtues and vices,” he said. “We are surprised that The New Yorker chose to print it.”



“Humor is a matter of taste, and people can disagree if it is funny or not,” Foxman said. “Some will certainly find offensive Lena Dunham’s stereotypes about cheap Jews offensive. Others will take issue with the very idea of comparing a dog and a Jewish boyfriend.”

“The piece is particularly troubling because it evokes memories of the ‘No Jews or Dogs Allowed’ signs from our own early history in this country, and also because, in a much more sinister way, many in the Muslim world today hatefully refer to Jews as ‘dogs’.”

Dunham is the daughter of a Protestant father and a Jewish mother.

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