In case you’ve missed the saga that’s swept the Internet this past week, “feminist” website Jezebel (I put that in quotes for a reason) decided last week to put a $10,000 bounty out for images of Lena Dunham from her Vogue cover shoot that hadn’t been retouched. Of course, someone sent those photos over and Jezebel posted them, admitting themselves that not too many changes were made, but still pointing out each and every one. The whole thing felt in poor taste, and commenters on the website – most of whom were previously staunch supporters of their material – lashed out. After all, the whole issue seemed to be more about a personal attack on Lena Dunham’s appearance rather than anything about the hypocritical media, blah blah blah.
Of course, Jezebel has been beating a dead horse and just won’t stop posting about it. Even when their readership is telling them how distasteful it is, even when Lena Dunham herself has even spoken out saying that she actually LIKES how she looks in Vogue and thinks the point is that they’re embracing a less than typical cover star.
She told 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 like Vogue 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.
Well, if the woman herself is okay with it – and Jezebel’s bone to pick wasn’t much of a bone at all as can be seen in the comparison photos – shouldn’t this whole thing be over? Shouldn’t Jezebel admit that maybe they got a little carried away and never meant to personally attack Lena Dunham? I’m no Lena fan, but I am staunchly on her side about this one. Continuing to insist that Lena Dunham must have been heavily retouched by Vogue is insinuating that she must NEED retouching, because she’s just that imperfect and needs help to look okay. That doesn’t seem like much of a feminist stance at all, if you ask me.
Of course, an apology doesn’t seem to be coming at all from Jezebel. They just keep spinning the same issue into more and more stories. Now it’s not about Lena Dunham being Photoshopped by Vogue, it’s about how all magazines airbrush all women. It’s a bit of a silly way to try and spin this and get out of what has turned into a major disaster, and one readers are slightly too clever for.