Lena Dunham's 'AHS: Cult' Role Is Radically Feminist

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At this point, it's a major Hollywood compliment to be cast in a season of American Horror Story. The show has launched major stars like Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters and showcased established personalities like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Lady Gaga. Now, in her first post-Girls television role, Lena Dunham will be joining the prestigious ranks of American Horror Story as Valerie Solanas. While it's exciting to see two of the biggest names in television of the past decade (Dunham and AHS creator Ryan Murphy) team up, this collaboration won't last long. Which episodes of AHS: Cult is Lena Dunham in? Her brief appearance is designed to make a big impression.

According to Deadline, Dunham will make her AHS debut in Episode 7 of the season, though she probably won't be a part of the prime story. This season of American Horror Story is subtitled Cult, but it seems to have some pretty broad ideas about what that word means. The main narrative takes place in the wake of the 2016 election, in Michigan, but the series will also flash back to tell the stories of real, well-known cult leaders. The Hollywood Reporter has already confirmed that Dunham will only be appearing in one episode of AHS: Cult, and chances are very good that the character of Valerie Solanas will be appearing in one of these flashbacks. While it may be disappointing to hear that Dunham won't be a major character in the series, fans should still be excited to see Dunham playing a controversial historical figure. Dunham has already proven to be an accomplished actor, but she's never had a role like Solanas before.

Dunham's role as real-life figure Solanas is a far cry from her previous acting roles. Her Girls character Hannah Horvath was a lot of things, but she was never a radical thinker who used violence to make her point. But AHS's exploration of cults will be taking the show all the way back to 1968, when Solanas attacked pop artist Andy Warhol. As reported by the Village Voice, Solanas fired three bullets at Warhol at his studio, The Factory, wounding him and also shooting Warhol's associate Mario Amaya in the hip. After fleeing the scene, Solanas turned herself in to the police. When asked about a motive, she responded, "I have a lot of very involved reasons. Read my manifesto and it will tell you what I am." Solanas' manifesto, entitled S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men), was a controversial, passionate plea for control of the world to be taken away from men and given to women in the hopes of undoing the damage of men. According to The New York Times, she plead guilty to assault and served three years in prison.

Valerie Solanas' shooting of Andy Warhol could have been chalked up to a variety of factors — including his artistic rejection of her work — but it's interesting to think about it in the context of American Horror Story: Cult. Why is Murphy using Dunham to portray Solanas? What does Solanas' anger at Andy Warhol say about post-election America? Is Murphy saying that Solanas was attempting to start her own group by getting international attention for this act? No matter how you interpret this message, it's clear that Murphy has something big planned for Dunham's sole AHS: Cult appearance.