Lena Dunham has opted to not answer the naked truth about her recent Vogue shoot. The 27 year-old daughter of sexual pop artist Carroll Dunham has rather craftily eluded the point brought up about her Vogue cover and the photographic spread which has, obviously to most who view it, been retouched.
The actress and filmmaker released a statement via French Slate which addresses the photoshoot itself, but, only pays minimal lip service to the photoshop issue. In fact Lena expresses ignorance of the photoshopping allegations and claims that the real issue seems to be why Vogue featured a woman who was different from the norm.
This appears to be the star/producer of Girls personal theme song. Her answer, earlier in the month at a press conference for her television show, to the question as to why it is always her character who appears nude in random scenes was that, if the journalist was not “into her” that was fine. Making the issue about her body shape, which is fat according to Howard Stern, and that she seemingly feels the need to inflict her less-than-perfect nudity on the public. Which was not the point of the journo’s question at all.
The website, Jezebel offered a “bounty” to anyone who could provide the “untouched” photographic originals of Dunham’s shoot. Lena took to Twitter to tweet her disdain about the bounty and has, through her phrasing of the post, made the issue about her versus the magazine’s apparent photoshopping of the images.
To have a professional member of the entertainment industry claim complete ignorance of photoshopping by a magazine that has been caught out before strains credibility of said professional. Surely Dunham is not so naive to think that people really believe the issue is all about her body image and not about distorting images presented to the public as the truth.
Equally naive is Vogue’s claims that the pictures were not retouched. Photographs are photoshopped, almost, as a part of the process. The public have known about the retouching of photos for years. Even before Photoshop, airbrushing took place on a regular basis. Lena Dunham’s photo shoot for Vogue would have been “touched up” even without addressing her waistline. The naked truth is that pictures of women have always been “perfected.” Whether by Playboy airbrushing out veins from the centerfold’s naked breasts or any other magazine toning down facial wrinkles or acne.
As a part of the entertainment business, as well as the “news” business, magazines sell the dream. The idea that every actor and actress is perfect. There are no double-chins, craterous wrinkles, “love-handles” or sagging breasts/butts. Stars, even non ‘A’ listers like Dunham are perfect; for the camera. This perfection is finely honed via the many “tricks” of the trade and for anyone to claim ignorance of the procedure strains that individual’s credibility.
Lena Dunham has worn the title of feminist with pride. She also, apparently, takes great pride in showing off her natural assets as often as possible on her television show. Does Dunham have a fixation with appearing naked? Considering the style of art that her father produces it would be surprising if she did not have a desire to flaunt her body.
Although, to be fair, she could just be trying to prove a point with her “nonsensical” nudity on Girls. It has been opined that the actress is trying to live down the brutal description of shock jock Stern who referred to Lena as “a little fat chick” who resembled the feminine version of actor Jonah Hill. While that could be the case, Lena’s statement that she does not have a problem with folks who are not “into her” seems to negate the Stern argument.
In effect, self posturing motives aside, the naked truth about Lena Dunham’s photoshopped Vogue shoot is that it doesn’t matter. Only those who insist on seeing all the warts, double-chins and wrinkles of their idols care. It has certainly been well publicised that all magazines indulge in the photoshopping of the rich and famous who adorn their pages. They even “touch-up” photos of the not rich and famous, i.e. models; it is part of their job to sell the dream. Whether that dream is one of perfection or perceived beauty it is all part and parcel of the package for every participant in the magazine, not just Lena Dunham.
By Michael Smith