You either love or loathe Lena Dunham, admire or admonish her honesty and fearlessness, applaud her fearlessness and confidence or laugh at how full of herself she is, or you respect her but still want her to go away. A lot of celebrities get similar treatment (the Kardashians and Kanye immediately spring to mind) but there’s something about Dunham that is especially divisive.
The Girls star’s latest take on Photoshopping might win over some of the haters though. Sure, she’s spoken up about it before, but she is officially over it. In the March 8 edition of her newsletter Lenny, Dunham announced that she will no longer allow magazines to Photoshop her image.
“Not done with getting my picture taken (once an insufferable ham, always an insufferable ham) but done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world,” she wrote in an essay called ‘Retouched by an Angel.’ “The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now.”
Dunham added that if that means no more magazine covers, “so be it.” She gets that the people who create those magazines have jobs to do but insists, “I bid farewell to an era when my body was fair game.”
Oh hello El Pais! I am genuinely honored to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous. BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like- the magazine has done more than the average photoshop. So if you’re into what I do, why not be honest with your readers? Much love, Lena. credit to @peguerillo_ for this 📸 of a 📸
Lena’s decision came last week, after she saw a picture of herself on the cover of a Spanish magazine that features “some skillful Photoshop.” She further described her chin (“strong and defined, practically another continent from my neck”), and arms and legs (“lean and milky white instead of their usual mottled pink”).
Dunham also recalls the other time Photoshop has plagued her, when in 2014 she covered Vogue magazine looking long and sleek, which resulted in Jezebel offering $10,000 for the original unshopped photos. Lena addressed what happened then in this week’s newsletter too.
Lena’s Vogue spread had even her staunchest supporters feeling betrayed but she explained it all in this week’s Lenny. And this time it’s not just her words but her actions that will be lauded. Swearing off Photoshop is a hugely brave thing and her acceptance of her own self is something no one can hate.