Lena Dunham has never been a woman to stay silent on the issues that matter to her. From mental wellbeing, to being comfortable saying “no,” to needing a break to put herself first, she has a voice – and isn’t afraid to use it. Today, through social media, Dunham used her powerful public persona to talk about an issue rampant in the entertainment and fashion industry – photo retouching.
She hit out at Tentaciones, – a Spanish magazine that put her on its most recent cover – for apparently altering her body.
“Oh hello Spanish magazine Tentaciones!” Dunham wrote on Instagram. “I am genuinely honoured to be on your cover and so happy you used a pic by @ruvenafanado r- he always makes me feel gorgeous. But this is not what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like – mad photoshop has been done to this iteration.”
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
The Girls star has long talked about the importance of feeling comfortable in your skin, and her positive message has been widely praised by young women everywhere, so it stands to reason she would be uncomfortable with what she says is a severely altered image of herself (her stance on this has changed since controversy erupted over her first Vogue cover a while back). She also called out the publication in a highly professional manner; the magazine trumpets that she’s changing the face of feminism. So she, appropriately, told them not to change hers.
However, this evening, El País – the newspaper that publishes the magazine – released a statement saying they made no changes to the shot.
“Those who know us and follow our magazine know that we do not use Photoshop or other digital tools to change the appearance of people who are on our cover or inside the magazine,” the newspaper wrote.
El País said that it used the image as received from Corbis and that it had been previously approved by the agency, Afanador and Dunham’s publicist. It was originally shot for Entertainment Weekly.
The only change, El País said, was to crop the image to fit its format.
In response, she softened her criticism of what she called a “more than average” Photoshop job on a cover image of her.
Hey Tentaciones- thank you for sending the uncropped image (note to the confused: not unretouched, uncropped!) and for being so good natured about my request for accuracy. I understand that a whole bunch of people approved this photo before it got to you- and why wouldn’t they? I look great. But it’s a weird feeling to see a photo and not know if it’s your own body anymore (and I’m pretty sure that will never be my thigh width but I honestly can’t tell what’s been slimmed and what hasn’t.) I’m not blaming anyone (y’know, except society at large.) I have a long and complicated history with retouching. I wanna live in this wild world and play the game and get my work seen, and I also want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for. Maybe it’s turning 30. Maybe it’s seeing my candidate of choice get bashed as much for having a normal woman’s body as she is for her policies. Maybe it’s getting sick and realizing ALL that matters is that this body work, not that it be milky white and slim. But I want something different now. Thanks for helping me figure that out and sorry to make you the problem, you cool Spanish magazine you. Time to get to the bottom of this in a bigger way. Time to walk the talk. With endless love, Lena PS I’d love the Tentaciones subscription I was offered!
A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on
“Maybe it’s getting sick and realising ALL that matters is that this body works, not that it be milky white and slim,” Dunham wrote on Instagram in response “But I want something different now.”
“It’s a weird feeling to see a photo and not know if it’s your own body anymore (and I’m pretty sure that will never be my thigh width but I honestly can’t tell what’s been slimmed and what hasn’t.) I’m not blaming anyone (y’know, except society at large.) I have a long and complicated history with retouching. I wanna live in this wild world and play the game and get my work seen, and I also want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for,” she said.
It’s an interesting turn for the books, and it doesn’t mean the image wasn’t altered before it got to the magazine, but it’s always empowering to see female celebrities take a stand against airbrushing, as they surely are aware of the effect these altered images can and do have on the women who view them.