In February, Flack was found dead in her home aged 40 after having taken her own life.
“Her death hit me with a sickening power,” wrote Dunham in The Guardian. “While I am not often at a loss for words, I felt that weighing in – especially with a Twitter micro-tribute – would be useless and borderline disrespectful.”
Dunham used the op-ed to call out society for reserving its “deepest rage” for women, and for making “a sport of building up, then tearing down, the people we elect to entertain us”.
She said she does not “claim to know what Caroline Flack felt when she took her own life” but she does know “that none of us benefit from a culture in which young women are told that being revered by people who do not really know them… is the answer to ancient feelings of low self-worth”.
Dunham condemned “history’s habit of erecting monuments to women, and then dismantling them just as quickly”. S
he also urged people to “accept contradiction, complexity and grey areas in the women we idolise, and consider the violence of suspending them in mid-air above us and then cutting the harness”.
The writer and actor acknowledged the fact that Flack was awaiting trial for an assault charge before her death, but maintained her point that “public vilification, especially as it follows public celebration, is almost too painful to bear for most, and a trauma like any other”.
She wrote: “I know what it feels like to be cast out and away, for some valid reasons and other arbitrary ones.”
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