Lena Dunham is a successful, creative actress and business woman, body-confidence champion and feminist wunderkind. She also rubs people up the wrong way.
Some of what she comes out with should really be kept inside her Brooklyn loft and only said out loud when zero cameras are around. Impossible, I know, when you're a global icon who likes your opinions - all of your opinions - to be heard.
I don't know her, but I know she likes to stir the pot - and I'm a fan. I don't agree with everything she says, but I realise she represents a fairly typical, liberal, educated, white, privileged American 30-year-old woman. Who happens to have created her own, hugely successful show aged 23. #nofilter
When you're allowed to express yourself through the medium of film and tv in your early twenties, there is always going to be an element of self-absorption. You're at the age when the world still revolves around you, even if you think you're open and inclusive. While most humans grow up and out of it, celebrities live in a suspended reality where the moment they become famous, that's where their personality stays. However, Lena Dunham is aware enough and smart enough to know that her specific type of fame can influence and change not only the opinions of her peers but certain realms of society.
One thing she has always been totally unapologetic about is her body and image. In a post to Instagram, written to promote her and her Girls' co-stars' Glamour cover, she says, "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."
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.
Who can relate? Me, for one. Most people, I'd say.
The Girls' Glamour cover is stunning, sassy and totally un-Photoshopped. Lena Dunham didn't have to wear cellulite-baring hotpants, but she wanted to, so she did. And she looks great. The Girls' are blessed with a Marc Jacobs wardrobe and professional hair and makeup, but still, they look relatively normal. Very pretty, but normal.
Almost every photo published in magazines - and celebs' social media accounts - has been altered in one way or another. We notice the Photoshop 'fails', but we still neglect to realise that the images we see of admittedly beautiful women are not reality. That Lena bares her cellulite is one thing - hey, women have cellulite - but that she and the other girls look like themselves. Whatever size your thighs are, however, big your nose, there's nothing wrong with being you.