Writer and star of HBO series Girls Lena Dunham is taking a stand against magazine retouching. In addition to calling out Spanish magazine Tentaciones on her Instagram for making her body look unrecognizable, Lena has recently taken to her feminist newsletter, Lenny Letter, to expand on the issue.
In a post titled "Retouched by an Angel," the 29-year-old explains why she will no longer give permission to be photoshopped. Although she's had her fair share of retouching for magazines in the past — including the cover of Vogue in 2014 — she accepted it as a means of advancing her career.
"When I started getting photographed by professionals to promote my work, it didn't occur to me to ask about, or to question, the use of Photoshop. I was 24, and whatever they did to make women appear important, desirable, and worthy of praise was what I wanted."
But it wasn't until landing the front page of Tentaciones that something triggered and the reason she is now firmly against posing for covers that will alter any part of her.
"Something snapped when I saw that Spanish cover. Maybe it was the feeling of barely recognizing myself and then being told it was 100 percent me but knowing it probably wasn't and studying the picture closely for clues . . . seeing the photo got me thinking about the real issue, which is that I don't recognize my own f*cking body anymore. And that's a problem."
According to her post, the magazine claimed to have never used Photoshop for her cover, which Lena found hard to believe. Her thighs, biceps, and chin didn't look like her own, but she also acknowledged how she appreciated the team for only wanting to put out a photo that looked "charming and appealing." But at the end of the day, she didn't consider the picture an accurate representation of herself.
Lena says that she's not refusing to be photographed altogether — just images that aren't an honest portrayal.
"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."
More and more celebrities have been getting real about their bodies and embracing imperfections, and that's something we can definitely get behind. We commend you for speaking up, Lena.