Lena Dunham, the creator/director/actor/producer of the TV show Girls, is thanking Glamour magazine for laying off the Photoshop for a cover shoot and “letting [her] cellulite do the damn thing.”
On Instagram, Dunham said she always felt insecure about her “potbelly, rabbit teeth [and] knock knees” growing up. Then, Dunham writes, her body became a central part of the conversation about her show (“always through the lens of “isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?””). Her looks became the subject of comments on social media that Dunham says made her “ache” for teen girls watching the abuse unfold in real time.
To Dunham, the cover is a victory.
Okay, here goes: throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was fucking funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move. I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let's get something straight: I didn't hate what I looked like- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it. When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of "isn't she brave? Isn't it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?" Then there were the legions of trolls who made high school teasing look like a damned joke with the violent threats they heaped on, the sickening insults that made me ache for teen girls like me who might be reading my comments. Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display. Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn't matter- my body isn't fair game. No one's is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there's a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful. Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends. Thank you to the women in Hollywood (and on Instagram!) leading the way, inspiring and normalizing the female form in EVERY form, and thank you to @glamourmag for letting my cellulite do the damn thing on news stands everywhere today ❤️ Love you all.
“[T]oday this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop (sic), my thigh on full imperfect display,” she wrote Tuesday in a post that’s since been liked by more than 100k Instagram users.
Dunham’s complicated relationship with magazine airbrushing has evolved since Girls began (HBO airs its final season this year). She was incensed in 2014 when Jezebel.com published un-retouched photos from Vogue. Then, last spring, she apologized to a Spanish magazine for accusing them of Photoshopping her on their cover (they didn’t). In the aftermath, she wrote an essay saying she was done with letting herself be retouched on the covers of magazines.
“I don’t recognize my own f–ing body anymore,” she wrote to her fans in a Lenny letter. “And that’s a problem.”