Rosie O’Donnell: ‘God Gave Us Lena Dunham’ to Embody Feminist Movement

Arthur Mola/Invision/AP
Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Comedienne and on–again, off–again TV show host Rosie O’Donnell has declared that “God gave us” HBO actress Lena Dunham to be the “embodiment” of feminist activist Gloria Steinem–despite the fact that Steinem is still very much with us.

Usually when someone is thought of as “the embodiment” of someone it is because the original person has passed on from this mortal coil. But Rosie O’Donnell isn’t waiting for Gloria Steinem to pass on. O’Donnell has already re-assigned Steinem’s feminist mantel to the star of a low-rated HBO sitcom.

O’Donnell made her pronouncement in an interview during a SiriusXM Satellite “Town Hall” event held April 3, though perhaps April 1 would have been a better date as far as Steinem is concerned.

“It’s really hard for me, as a 53-year-old who was raised with the feminist movement and with Our Bodies, Ourselves, to see that there is no Gloria in the wings,” O’Donnell said. “Until God gave us Lena Dunham.”

“And I really feel as though, you know, she is the embodiment of…like, she’s like the child of Gloria Steinem, right, or the grandchild even,” O’Donnell added. “And I look at her and it makes me tear up to see her advocacy for women’s rights and women’s issues and representing women on television in a realistic, contemporary way.”

Steinem is, of course, one of the nation’s leading feminists, having written dozens of feminist-themed articles and helping to found Ms. Magazine in 1972. She has since won many awards and for decades now has participated in the national discussion on feminism. Presumably Steinem feels her work is not yet done.

The very much alive Steinem has yet to comment on O’Donnell’s pronouncement.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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