Keeping Lena Dunham out of trouble on social media isn’t a one-person job.
During a packed panel at South by Southwest in Austin on Saturday entitled “Authenticity and Media in 2018,” the often outspoken 31-year-old — who was making her first public appearance since her hysterectomy — revealed how she tries to keep herself out of hot water on social media.
Acknowledging her history of creating controversies — and then issuing public apologies — Dunham admitted during a talk with new Glamour editor-in-chief Samantha Barry that the pattern had become somewhat of a running joke (there’s even a Twitter bot called “Lena Dunham Apologizes”).
“These articles come out that say, ‘Lena Dunham apologies for like the 87th’ time,’ [but] that was how I was raised,” she said. “We try and we fail and we try again. We think the problem from another angle and we grow.”
So how does she safeguard herself in the future from the backlash the apologies repeatedly stir up?
“I have about 19 people ready to stop me from tweeting. Many of them paid,” she joked.
But while Dunham has been known to stir up controversy, she said that the “shame” from causing an uproar “goes away really fast.”
“I’ll have two moments. One is full of shame and like, ‘I should never have been let out of my house in the first place.’ Or like, ‘Nobody even deserves me or my truth.’ But it goes away really fast and it’s kind of the only thing that I know how to do,” she said.
Opening up about her recent hysterectomy, the Girls star noted how much the outpouring of support has meant to her — and how she wasn’t expecting it.
“The only person I’d heard of with hysterectomies was like my 67 year old grandmother, I just didn’t know that we were out there,” Dunham said.
“The amount of people I am having conversations about gynecological health with in public places is off the charts. But I like it,” she said. “I’d rather do that then exchange fake pleasantries. It was only three months ago.”
The often self-deprecating writer also poked fun of her own tousled hair style saying, “Well I hoped that the hairstyle would speak to the authenticity of this panel.”
Although Dunham went on to say that she doesn’t have “whatever the skill set is that allows you to program your own image from the outside and make calculated decisions about how you want to come across,” she pointed out that she didn’t think that was always such a bad thing.
“I think authenticity comes in many forms and it doesn’t just have to be that you didn’t just do your hair right. People confuse authentic with the idea of messy or broken and I think Anna Wintour is authentic and she’s had that haircut for a f— long time.”
Dunham also admitted that “a big part of” growing up for her has meant “moving away from this sense that I need to have an opinion about everything.”
“I didn’t get in to this to be a perfect celebrity model. I don’t know how to do it,” she said. “That is not where my skill set lies and I think a big part of my 30s is moving away from this sense that I need to have an opinion about everything and taking a moment to think before I speak,” she added.
“Now I find myself wanting to slow down and think about how I can give other women the platform that was given to me. How I can speak through my work. And I hope that this is maturing. I think it is. I can’t be sure. I still wear my hair like this.”