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in brief: lena dunham responds to jezebel’s publishing of her un-retouched vogue shoot


Remember this article that we published here on Lip a couple of weeks ago? Well, Lena Dunham has responded, after keeping quiet about it. She broke the silence on US talk show, Grantland with host Bill Simmons. 

In short, she didn’t like it one bit.

‘I think Jezebel is really smart and funny, I think it’s just like once you’ve been attacked that way it’s hard to enjoy.’ Dunham adds: ‘it’s hard to enjoy once you feel like they’ve made such a monumental error in their approach to feminism. It felt gross.’

She then goes on to state that the difference between the before and after photos in the Vogue spread bore little difference in terms of how she looked pre and post air brushing. ‘I felt completely respected by Vogue. I felt like, “thank you for removing the one line from my face because I’m 27 years old and shouldn’t have that there.”’

I have to say, I totally agreed with Lena from the get-go. No disrespect to the Jezebel team at all, but the entire thing felt, well, kind of majorly blown out of proportion. Lena looks awesome in the photos and the kind of airbrushing that was performed was totally minor and barely even noticeable. It was the subtlest of differences and it comes as no surprise that the star herself thinks so as well.

‘Instead of going like “hey, we kind fucked up, these pictures aren’t that retouched, Lena, enjoy the Vogue spread that you’ve been excited about since you were eight years old.” They were like, “she’s not retouched, but she could’ve been.” It was this weird almost political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting.’

One thought on “in brief: lena dunham responds to jezebel’s publishing of her un-retouched vogue shoot

  1. I reckon that the changes are pretty substantial in the shot where she is sitting on the bath tub. Even these ‘tweaks’ change her body shape and set unrealistic expectations about how women look, or ‘should’ look. If these tweaks are so ‘little’ to the point where some think they are not worth analysis or even a mention, then why are they made at all? If people’s bodies are being tweaked to any extent it’s worth a bit of a think about and i think this is what Jezebel has tried to do but with the wrong approach. And perhaps for all the wrong reasons – seemingly to fulfill their own publicity agenda rather than to contribute to feminism.

    I find it pretty disturbing that Lena said “thank you for removing the one line from my face because I’m 27 years old and shouldn’t have that there”. Wow. Thanks for feeding into the unrealistic ideas about how women ‘should’ look. Apparently she ‘should’ also have a smaller waist, longer neck, and smoother breasts. The idea that photo-shopping is ok because women ‘should’ look a certain way is just wrong wrong wrong! But to be fair, it seems pretty clear that Lena actively chose to participate in this and that she was happy with the results, so who is Jezebel to stick their nose in in the first place??

    I don’t think it’s at all ok for Jezebel to have done this without Lena’s permission, or at least without her comment. Her pictures were examined without consideration for her thoughts or feelings, as though she has no agency and as though society has the right to do so. Isn’t this a total contradiction of fundamental feminist values? Especially when there are a number of other high profile women who have willingly produced before/after pics to spark discussion about it. Why is it necessary to target someone without their consent?

    It’s really interesting at the end of Jezebel’s article on the before/after shots they note ‘Clara Jeffery put it on Twitter: “If [Lena]’s given us an image of a real woman on Girls, and they altered — perhaps without her consent, isn’t that a paradox that should be explored?”‘ How paradoxical!!!!!

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