Airbrushing is a given in this day and age but no longer are certain celebrities willing to settle for a retouched version of themselves fronting a magazine cover. It makes sense; these images aren’t realistic or attainable, and if you’re reaching out to young women and instilling them with the Be Yourself mantra, it’s a total contradiction.
Lena Dunham is the latest public figure to talk about this notion on a deeper level, and after years in the limelight at the mercy of Photoshop, she has decided enough is finally enough. Taking a leaf out of actress Kate Winslet‘s book, she has said that from here on out, no publication is allowed to alter any images of her, ever.
Dunham recognises the conflicting ideals of showing her real body on screen and then allowing a cropping tool transform it into something else entirely – and she’s only now coming to terms with this. “I didn’t ask questions because it feels nice to look at a photo of yourself where everything that’s ever felt like too much is suddenly under perfect, glossy control.”
In her own words, she’s “done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world,” after she accused Spanish magazine Tenataciones for Photoshopping an image of her for their cover, but later learned that the photo had been retouched before they used it.
In an article for the latest edition of her lifestyle newsletter, Lenny, the Girls star wrote about the mix-up and why she’s refusing to go under the blurring tool again.
Seeing the photo got me thinking about the real issue, which is that I don’t recognise my own f**king body anymore. And that’s a problem.
“Something snapped when I saw that Spanish cover,” Dunham said. “Maybe it was the feeling of barely recognising myself and then being told it was 100 percent me but knowing it probably wasn’t and studying the picture closely for clues. Maybe it was realising that was an image I had at some point seen, approved, and most likely loved. Maybe it was the fact that I no longer understand what my own thighs look like. But I knew that I was done.”
“I’m 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. The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now. If that means no more fashion-magazine covers, so be it. I respect the people who create those magazines and the job they have to do. But I bid farewell to an era when my body was fair game,” she continued.
We have to applaud Dunham for her empowering choice. It’s a brave one. She’s bending the rules; rejecting a glossy, perfect version of herself and staying true to her imperfectness. What could be more inspiring than that?
“This body is the only one I have. I love it for what it’s given me. I hate it for what it’s denied me. And now, without further ado, I want to be able to pick my own thigh out of a lineup.”
Say it loud and say it proud.
Read her full Lenny Letter here.