why lena dunham has broken up with twitter
The ‘Girls’ creator and Lenny editor feels the internet has created “a new kind of violence.”
When Larry King wants to tweet, he whips out a flip phone and dials a voicemail account he established specifically to vocally record his quips, which an assistant then transcribes and publishes to @KingsThings. The legendary television host isn't the only person outsourcing his 140 character musings; in an interview with Re/code's Kara Swisher, Lena Dunham disclosed that she also tweets "through someone else."
But tech illiteracy (King is 81, after all) isn't 29-year-old Dunham's cause for a Twitter surrogate. The Girls creator explained that she broke it off with Twitter due to the onslaught of verbal abuse and body shaming comments she received each time she logged on. "I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn't want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn't a safe space for me," Dunham said of the Twitterverse.
Although Dunham is still active on Instagram (how else could she share selfies with "bae" aka Hillary Clinton?), she told Swisher that when a selfie she uploaded wearing a sports bra and boxers "turned into the most rabid, disgusting debate about women's bodies," it tipped her over the edge. "Even if you think, like, 'Oh I can read, like, ten mentions that say I should be stoned to death' and kind of, like, laugh and move on, that's verbal abuse," Dunham said. "Those aren't words that should be directed at you ever. And so, for me personally, it was safer to stop."
Dunham also confirmed that she quit reading media sites including Gawker and Jezebel, but took the abuse metaphor too far: "And it's like, it's literally, if I read it, it's like going back to a husband who beat me in the face — it just doesn't make any sense." Dunham later apologized for this in her most recent Instagram post: "When I heard my own quote I was like 'Jesus, Lena, no.' I wasn't making a joke about domestic violence--I was over emphatic in my attempt to capture how damaging the Internet can be (not just to celebrities.)" she captioned.
Dunham has long been lauded as a millennial whisperer -- as her Girls character Hannah Horvath said in the series' very first scene: "I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least, a voice of a generation." But three years after she spoke those words, it seems the social media platforms that give voice to so many of her generation have taken on new meaning: "When I first discovered the world wide web as a teenager it felt like salvation. I've met a lot of my best friends there. It's allowed for so much magic. But it also makes room for so much hate and a new kind of violence," her Instagram post concluded.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Todd Cole