Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lena Dunham, Anna Wintour respond to vogue cover controversy

After her Vogue cover hit newsstands, her body once again became a topic of conversation as the popular blog Jezebel posted a $10,000 bounty for un-retouched images from the cover shoot.
After her Vogue cover hit newsstands, her body once again became a topic of conversation as the popular blog Jezebel posted a $10,000 bounty for un-retouched images from the cover shoot.

The latest in a slew of fashion magazine cover controversies about body image comes from Vogue‘s February cover featuring Lena Dunham.

Dunham, the successful 26-year-old mastermind behind HBO’s hit comedy Girls, is equally praised and criticized for the way she embraces her body on the show, which often includes nude scenes. After her Vogue cover hit newsstands, her body once again became a topic of conversation as the popular blog Jezebel posted a $10,000 bounty for un-retouched images from the cover shoot.

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It didn’t take long for the site to get its hands on the images and publish them, along with notes on each about what the magazine had altered. The immediate response was polarized to say the least, and Jezebel has come under fire from both Dunham and, indirectly, the editor of Vogue herself, Anna Wintour.

While the practice of magazine’s using photo editing software to digitally retouch images, the practice is becoming increasingly scrutinized as an attack on women’s plus-size body image. Dunham’s Vogue cover controversy comes after Elle’s November cover with Melissa McCarthy and February cover with Mindy Kaling received flack from critics panning the styling and composition of the covers.

Though McCarthy and Kaling used humor to deflect harsh comments, Dunham has taken a different approach. She responded to the controversy via Twitter first by drily replying “10k? Give it to charity then just order HBO,” followed by a tweet to thank her supporters.

Dunham later clarified her thoughts on the subject in this statement to Slate:

“I understand that for people there is a contradiction between what I do and being on the cover of Vogue; but frankly I really don’t know what the photoshopping situation is, I can’t look at myself really objectively in that way. I know that I felt really likeVogue supported me and wanted to put a depiction of me on the cover. I never felt bullied into anything; I felt really happy because they dressed me and styled me in a way that really reflects who I am. And I felt that was very lucky and that all the editors understood my persona, my creativity and who I am. I haven’t been keeping track of all the reactions, but I know some people have been very angry about the cover and that confuses me a little. I don’t understand why, photoshop or no, having a woman who is different than the typical Vogue cover girl, could be a bad thing.

“A fashion magazine is like a beautiful fantasy. 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? If they want to see what I really look like go watch the show that I make every single week.”

Even Vogue’s editor in chief took the time to comment. While she hasn’t yet said anything in regard to the surrounding controversy, Wintour sent the following statement to Good Morning America defending her choice to put Dunham on the cover.

“Lena is a strong, confident woman who charts her own path—and that, to my mind, makes her an inspiring role model and the perfect cover for our February issue. Lena has been acclaimed in so many ways, rightly being described as the voice of her generation. But the quality I admire most about her is that she is fearless; fearless in how she works, in her choices, and, of course, about fashion.”

Ashleigh Schmitz
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