• Fri, Jan 17 - 8:27 am ET

Lena Dunham Responds To Jezebel’s Bounty On Her Unretouched Vogue Photos Perfectly

Lena Dunham season 3 what is wrong with people

As you probably noticed yesterday, the better half of the Internet spent the afternoon ranting about Jezebel’s Lena Dunham stunt. On the slight chance you missed the chorus of one million female bloggers simultaneously saying WTF, I’ll fill you in on the key parts. Jezebel offered $10,000 to the person who could send them the pre-photoshopped photos from Lena Dunham’s recent Vogue shoot. Not because they wanted to point out how much bigger Lena Dunham’s body was before the retouching, but because they wanted to prove that Vogue excessively photoshops the people featured in their pages.

The only problem with their entire premise was that everyone and their blind mother’s aware that Vogue photoshops and everyone and their blind mother’s seen Lena Dunham’s real body on Girls. So this whole thing reeked of clickbait and fat shaming and other unsavory things that I don’t want to even spoil your day by mentioning.

Obviously Lena Dunham got wind of this whole disgusting mess and responded via Twitter last night. While she could’ve easily turned this bounty into a huge issue (that would only guarantee more traffic sent to Jezebel), she chose to handle it with two simple tweets. They’re classy, they’re succinct and they’re proof that I perhaps put too much energy into disliking her.

The first is in response to Emily Nussbaum:

And the second is in response to anyone hoping to turn this into some kind of scandal:

So yeah, I think we can consider the Lena Dunham Bounty Case of 2K14 closed.

(GIF: Tumblr)

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  • Anna

    That may have been the shove I needed to leave Jezebel.

    I still can’t believe they were trying to compare it to in 2007 when they pulled a similar stunt with Faith Hill. It reeked of desperation and trying to bring back their relevance and popularity.

    AND Lena is gorgeous but you can not equate the photoshopping of Faith Hill in 2007 to the possible photoshopping of Lena Dunham.

    • Jenni

      As many people have pointed out, the Faith Hill was so crazy because Faith Hill’s considered to be unattainably beautiful. And the photoshopping (which was still a new thing to talk about in 2007) showed that even Faith Hill couldn’t live up to Faith Hill standards. We all know that’s not the situation with Lena Dunham.

    • Anna

      Exactly. I don’t want to slight Lena cause I do think she is very pretty but Faith Hill was perceived as flawless. And why Lena? Why not any other Vogue cover of a conventionally beautiful blonde if it was about Vogue?

      The whole thing is just lazy but I do love how defensive and pretentious the editors got about explaining to everyone how relevant exposing photoshop is.

      You better believe if I became famous somehow and ended up on the cover of Vogue I would be requesting, nay, demanding photoshop.

    • Kelly

      Why? There’s no point to photoshopping.

    • Anna

      I’m not sure what you are saying. I am pointing out that photoshop is okay in moderation.

      I’m saying that I would want any bulges smoothed out, underwear lines removed, odd skin folds gone, wrinkles/pimples taken care of, etc.

    • CMJ

      There actually is a point to photoshopping. It’s not always done to slim people down to a size negative. When I jokingly asked my headshot photographer to take out my double chin, he explained he uses it sparingly to smooth out weird clothing lines, even out lighting, and other small things. You should never notice it, but there is a point to it.

    • Jenni

      Also for some of us (ME!) who are incredibly unphotogenic and detag everything, Photoshop’s not the enemy.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Behold Jenni, the Simulacrum!

    • Kelly

      I know what it’s used for, it just seems highly superficial and fake to me. The people on these covers are already made to look incredible so no I don’t see the point in altering the photo after the fact. Especially since it usually makes one look glossy and like a robot. I too am unphotogenic and I see don’t see how photoshopping would help the situation.

    • Jenni

      Photoshopping doesn’t make YOU personally less photogenic, but it does make you look better in the photos.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Depends if you want a photo that is a simulacrum of you or you want a real photograph that is you in a certain place, under certain lighting, at a certain age, at a certain time etc so you can look at it and know who you were then.Or do you just want to say, “Look how pretty I am in this photo!” The difference between wanting integrity and wanting pretty.I am assuming your photos are not selling anything.

    • CMJ

      This is one of my headshots. It was photoshopped. I have no qualms about it.

      https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1/s720x720/1456565_10104141531374744_1217021888_n.jpg

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Just prettier than you really are. Then when your grandkids look back on those wedding pics and say, “O gramma you were so pretty,” you can beam, look at the pics and think, “Yes I certainly was, all photoshopping gone from your mind, buried away in its attic.

    • CMJ

      Yeah. No. I look like me with a wedding dress on…no prettier or uglier than I am on any given day.

    • JLH1986

      The point of magazine covers, fashion magazines is to sell things. So if using photo shop makes clothing look a little smoother, or making someone taller makes the clothes look better they are going to do it. As for Dunham’s photos. I didn’t see any major photoshop issues, most of it was lighting issues. So many studies have said that we as society like “pretty” we choose Presidental candidates based on attractiveness (I don’t remember the study but I remember reading about it.) If money is on the line, magazines are going to photoshop.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Of course. Duh. Why do we have to keep saying this is the real question.

      And why did so very few get at the Boston Marathon photoshopping and instead rush to condemn two boys who had been photoshopped in at a crucial place and touched up to hide their backpack.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      It sells stupid. Who wants to pay $5.00 or so for a zine with a regular face on the cover.Well I don’t want to pay that even for a photoshopped face,but then I’m not mainstream.

    • Kelly

      Yes clearly it sells. It also creates a very unhealthy way of thinking.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Well it has lots and lots of company there.

    • MCR

      Secure, confident, self-accepting people are much harder to sell to. Making someone feel unattractive or unpopular is an essential part of advertising.
      Vogue doesn’t bring in a fortune in ads for nothing.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Of course not. Just keep going under the knife and you’ll get there.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Lena because she is hot now regarding hits.I liked the article.

    • CMJ

      Also, when that Faith Hill one happened, they actually called for egregious uses of photoshop and ended up getting that Faith Hill one…they didn’t single a specific person out – just photoshopping,

  • BioChemGirl

    I kind of have to disagree. I don’t think the problem is with Lena but with Vogue and their massive re-editing of women’s bodies to portray an unrealistic ideal that they convince women they can obtain if they would only: a) starve themselves b) workout obsessively c) starve themselves some more d) workout even more and e) spend lots of money on products that do absolutely nothing but fool you into thinking they’re making a difference.

    The fat shaming comes from the excessive photoshopping. I thought Lena Dunham was about portraying women as they really are, or at least at the size they really are. If that’s the case then Vogue should have respected that and the photoshopping shouldn’t have altered her real size. Let women be beautiful at any size and not just a size 0!

    I say this as a mom of 3 girls who worries a lot about how women are pressured to look a certain way and be a certain size, so this issue matters to me. :)

    • CMJ

      Then they should have asked for instances of photoshopping from Vogue and not specifically from Dunham.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    • Kelly

      I agree. I don’t see this as fat shaming at all. Jezbel is against photoshopping, their intent is pretty clear.

    • Jenni

      Jezebel already knows Vogue photoshops. In fact, they’ve written about it several times. So why choose this cover as the one that’s going to (re)prove something they already know.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      To repeat it, drive it home, it is necessary to say it over and over and over. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction! So we go to war.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Too nuanced for this crowd.

    • Kelly

      I’m glad I can bring a different opinion, it’s refreshing. The comments for this site could stand to be a little more diverse.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Used to be different. Comment boards dying out getting replaced by other tek. I really like twitter. You can do so many different things with it and you keep learning more and more. Whereas comment boards are just pro and con, back and forth, an endless game of ping pong. Static. I was glad you were here too. jenni is getting tired.She needs something more challenging.

    • CMJ

      Also, they didn’t photoshop Lena Dunham down to a size zero.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Then you should appreciate a certain actress who cannot be mentioned here as giving your daughters a role model of reality.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Annie Liebovitz should know better. She and Sontag were partners in many different ways.

  • CMJ

    So, Jezebel got ahold of the unretouched photos. Guess what? They are not even remotely egregiously photoshopped. Great job!

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view/580779/barry-jumps-the-shark-o.gif

    • Rachel

      They really aren’t at all. Like small unnecessary things here and there. But by Vogue standards, they really didn’t photoshop her that much at all!

    • Jenni

      Yeah, it makes them look pretty stupid. Also who was dumb enough to give them those photos. Not only will he/she be fired, but possibly also sued. 10K probably doesn’t go very far when it comes to getting sued by Conde Nast.

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Nobody has to give them to Jezabel. All you have to do is get software and take off the layers and that’s where you get to. You should know this jenni.It is important that people learn to see this consciously as two boys in Boston, one murdered now by Law Enforcement, the other almost andin solitary since April all on fabricated evidence of photoshopping. I am not going to mention the photoshopping of the unnameable one here but it is true in that instance also.

    • Kate

      Let me get this straight….you’re comparing this incident to the Boston Marathon bombing?

    • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

      Yes. Concerning the photoshopping done to frame victims. Anything that educates people about photoshopping helps them to see it when the govt does it.

  • Katie

    I like imagining how the hypocrites at Jezebel would be burning the internet down in a rage if a Men’s magazine/blog had done this exact same thing.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Wow! More controversy more hits. Let’s fight more with each other. It’s so good for biz.