Lena Dunham Responds to Critics of Vogue Cover

The HBO star sparks controversy with her February Vogue cover

By Lavya Yalamanchi
|  Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014  |  Updated 11:26 AM EDT
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Actress, writer and director, Lena Dunham, has weighed in on the controversy over her February Vogue cover, saying she doesn't have a problem with the photoshop edits to the images because "a fashion magazine is like a beautiful fantasy.”

The cover featuring the star and creator of the HBO series "Girls" became the subject of scrutiny after feminist blog Jezebel offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could provide the original, unretouched photos of Dunham. Within two hours of their call-out for the originals, the magazine received them.

Jezebel published a follow-up blog post examining the before and after images, pointing out the parts of Dunham’s body that had been altered by Vogue. However, contrary to heavy-handed cosmetic photoshopping revealed in other cases, most of the edits were minor changes, such as pulling up the neckline of her dress, sharpening her jawline and repositioning her shoulders. Some of Jezebel’s followers have since criticized the website’s pursuit of the images, calling it a “witch-hunt,” as well as unnecessary and mean.

Dunham, who has been lauded for breaking body image barriers by unabashedly featuring different and realistic body types - including her own - in her series, herself responded to the controversy by saying that she doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She told Slate France that she doesn't "understand why, photoshop or no, having a woman who is different than the typical Vogue cover girl, could be a bad thing." 

“I understand that for people there is a contradiction between what I do and being on the cover of Vogue, but frankly I don’t know what the photoshopping situation is,” she said, according to an English translation posted on Slate's English-language site. 

Dunham, who has been praised as a role model for positive body image, said she feels her appearance on the cover of Vogue doesn’t change her message. She said the magazine's editors "dressed me and styled me in a way that really reflects who I am."

“Vogue isn't the place that we go to look at realistic women, Vogue is the place that we go to look at beautiful clothes and fancy places and escapism and so I feel like if the story reflects me and I happen to be wearing a beautiful Prada dress and surrounded by beautiful men and dogs, what’s the problem?" she continued in her interview with Slate France. "If they want to see what I really look like go watch the show that I make every single week.”

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