QUEER VOICES

Grace Dunham Gets Candid About Gender, Style And Liberation

The writer strips down while sharing their journey for “The What’s Underneath Project."

Popular web series “The What’s Underneath Project” is back for another season, bringing together artists, creatives and activists to discuss their relationship with their identities and bodies while removing articles of clothing.

The latest episode features writer Grace Dunham, the younger sibling of Lena Dunham of “Girls” and “Tiny Furniture” fame. Dunham, who uses “she” and “they” interchangeably as personal pronouns, engages in a candid and compelling conversation about their personal journey with gender, identity and their sense of self, as well as the trappings of fame.

The full interview is available through Fullscreen, but check out a clip above as well as our brief interview with Dunham about style and liberation below.

The Huffington Post: What do you want people to take away from this video/project?

Grace Dunham: In terms of my portion of the project, I simply hope that people will watch it and come away feeling a bit less like identity is some point of completion they need to arrive at. I don’t believe that one “becomes” them self; I believe that “becoming” is a process that doesn’t end.

It’s been said that queer style “is one of the most fashionable forms of resistance.” What are your thoughts on this? What is queer style to you?

Style is one way that people resist structures which tell us who to be and how to act. I think it’s amazing when people resist norms and dictates (and express themselves) through style, but I also think it’s one form of resistance that not everyone has access to ― because clothes cost money, because clothes can be unsafe to wear, because some people have bodies that most clothes aren’t made for, because lots of institutions like prisons don’t allow people to fully express themselves through style. That being said, it’s deeply inspiring how people find ways to express their style despite and against these forces. 

"I don't believe that one 'becomes' them self; I believe that 'becoming' is a process that doesn't end."

Also, I don’t believe there is a “most fashionable form of resistance.” Resistance is also about resisting hierarchies of value. It’s true that certain trends associated with queerness have gained attention and visibility in the fashion world, and it’s true that other political movements ― like disability justice, for example ― don’t have the same cache in these markets. But that doesn’t mean queerness matters more, it just means it is profitable right now. 

What does queer liberation look like to you?

Queer liberation looks like black liberation looks like disability justice looks like trans justice looks like indigenous liberation looks like climate justice looks like prison abolition. Basically, I’m not interested in or committed to a queer liberation that moves, thinks, and acts on its own.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

The full episode of Grace Dunham on “The What’s Underneath Project” is available on Fullscreen. While Fullscreen is a paid subscription service, all eight episodes in this season will be available for free with a month-long trial.

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