Lena Dunham Rips Jezebel for Publishing Her Un-Retouched Vogue Photos: ‘That Was Messed Up’

In an interview with Grantland's Bill Simmons, the “Girls” doyenne struck back at the feminist blog

Lena Dunham fired back at Jezebel for posting un-retouched photos from her Vogue shoot, calling it “messed up” and “gross.”

“I think Jezebel is really smart and funny, I think it's just like once you've been attacked that way it's hard to enjoy,” she said in an interview with Bill Simmons that was posted Thursday on Grantland. “It's hard to enjoy once you feel like they've made such a monumental error in their approach to feminism.”

Also read: Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham Get Mad at Me For Asking Why She's Naked So Much on ‘Girls’

Simmons had made a funny non sequitur about the controversial feminist blog, which invited Dunham to criticize their article on her Photoshopped pictures.

“I like Jezebel, by the way,” Simmons acknowledged.

“Do you?!” Dunham asked incredulously.

“I didn't like what they did to you,” Simmons backtracked.

Also read: Lena Dunham Bares All On Instagram With New Book Cover (Photo)

“It felt gross,” Dunham said.

Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched images of Dunham from Annie Leibovitz's photography session and later published the before-and-after shots. Jezebel editor Jessica Coen argued why she published them as a criticism of the fashion magazine world:

While Dunham has not been radically Photoshopped, it's clearer than ever what kind of woman Vogue finds Vogue-worthy: The taller, longer-limbed, svelter version of reality. Vogue is not interested in reality, of course. The photographs are meant to be a fantasy, art. That's why someone (Ms. Leibovitz?) took the time to Photoshop a pigeon on Dunham's head — and paste her studio image onto an outdoor background.



“I didn't talk to the woman who did it directly, but I can't imagine the reaction made her feel particularly great,” Dunham explained.

Also read: Bill Simmons Apologizes for Grantland Story Outing Transgender; Could Face Legal Action

Simmons defended Jezebel, saying when you're putting up so much content it's easy to make mistakes.

“I was kind of scared to see the un-retouched images of me, I was like, maybe I'm delusional and I don't look how I think I look.  And it was like –they smoothed a line here, and shaved a line on my neck. It was the most minimal retouching. I felt completely respected by Vogue. I felt like thank you for removing the one line from my face because I'm 27 years old and shouldn't have that there,” she continued. “I appreciate this and instead of going like ‘hey we kind f*cked up, these pictures aren't that retouched, Lena, enjoy the Vogue spread that you've been excited about since you were eight years old.’ They were like, ‘she's not retouched, but she could've been. ‘ It was this weird almost political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting.”

  • Leila

    I admire much, if not all, of Lena Dunham's work. But I think she's really off base here. Of all people, she should be against the erasing of her actual features by Photoshop. I thought she was ok in her skin. That's at least how the nudity on Girls felt to me. I admired her and found her sexy in her imperfection. Now, not so much.

  • nimportequoi

    Just another phony…self-censorship. I can't believe she agrees with a representation of herself that is not her own.

  • Mallory

    Just goes to show Lena's true colours.
    She's allowed to be Photoshop'd, but other people are evil for doing it.
    She's not a feminist, she's just a hypocrite. Or rather, a hippo-crite.
    the fact that she's accusing the person calling her on her hypocrisy
    misguided for doing it? How is that not backwards? Lena's destructive to

    • patriot_act

      Read it again; same for your 27 personalities. She did NOT condone photoshopping/airbrushing.

      • tylerc1

        You're really creepy.

    • ladyluck88

      Who the fuck are you to say someone is or isn't a feminist? “hippo-crite” really? Get your head out of your ass

  • PittsRu2

    So, Lena does not like her body as much without major photoshop? She is angry that a feminist magazine would call to attention that Vogue greatly changed her body lines to make her look considerably slimmer? She is an overexposed (in many ways) young woman with delusions. The star will burn out and fade away as her realities become more and more fantasy.

    • patriot_act

      You're already burnt out!

  • Truth

    Tired of hearing about this person. Complain complain complain about everything. 15 minutes is ticking.

    • Dell Cousins

      I actually liked the first two seasons of her show! I don't think I could stomach the third, though, now that Dunham's ugly personality has exploded all over the place. To heck with her. I had to go out of my way to see her show. Will never go out of my way for this person again.

    • babydoll

      Shes also a racist too.

  • Anonymous

    Publishing an unairbrushed photo is an attack? Perhaps someone needs to visit Kiev.

  • Richard

    Lena Dunham–professional hypocrite.

  • Abby Cadabby

    All of these comments are ridiculous. The whole point was that she was BARELY photoshopped yet Jezebel wanted to use her as an example of how magazines use photoshop to change our perceptions of women, under the assumption that it takes a lot of work to make her look presentable. There is literally no such thing as an un-retouched magazine photo because they want a glossy, professional look. Jezebel IS gross and could have at least reached out to her before offering money for her photos like some gossip rag.

    • I'm In Tech

      Thank you for not taking the easy way out by just mindlessly hating this talented young girl we're all supposed to mindlessly hate because she's a talented young girl who has the audacity to receive attention for being a talented young girl.

      • babydoll

        What talent does Lena have? Being a professional complainer, racist, hypocrite, trashy, redneck, fake, hateful, etc.? Her problem is she gets attention by being fake, rude and hateful. She is a natural born ass and a bully. She's not attractive and yet complains how women should be treated with respect, but she lacks respect when she is constantly naked on tv. She's overweight, not normal weight. She's not a feminist, she's a hypocrite and a liar.

        She called out Jezebel for posting untouched photos of her saying “it was messed up”, that isn't a feminist who claims loving herself and being proud of her body. She is the hypocrite for implying that and only wanting her “retouches” published to give a false impression.

        • I'm In Tech

          I happen to think she's a fine writer, who is no more socially ignorant than 90% of the writers on my very whitewashed, male-driven TV now. She gets attention because she has a hit show on HBO. Being on TV naked doesn't mean she lacks respect for anyone, let alone women, it means her character is sometimes not in clothes. There is nothing wrong with being fifteen pounds overweight for one's height, there is nothing wrong being self-conscious even when you love your body.

        • Walt White

          So based on your pretzel logic, she can only complain about respect if she was attractive? You are certainly a new type of feminist! Can't wait for your book.

      • emncaity

        Oh, yes. Ultimately talented. The most talented and wise person who's come along since at least Gandhi, or at least Madonna.

        • I'm In Tech

          Gandhi and Madonna? Wow, stacking that bench.

  • CaptainFabulous

    Bloody hell are her 15 minutes over yet?

  • john

    SO off base. Shes the feminist that wants to be naked on her show so much, or at least running around without her clothes on to make a point of how ‘real’ people look and/or have sex. NOW shes pissed that her real body is shown without photoshop? What a phoney..and basically unfunny as well, but Im in the minority there I guess.

  • Dell Cousins

    “And it was like –they smoothed a line here, and shaved a line on my neck. It was the most minimal retouching…”

    They GAVE you a neck. Big difference.

  • kevin kelly

    Lena must have self-image issues if she is angered by being photographed in her natural state (without make-up). One would think a woman in her position would have enough self-confidence in her appearance to be seen without make-up on. Her fans had no problems with it, so why should she?

  • cri$$y red

    so sick of people bashing Photoshop'd pictures that appear on and in magazines & media. everyone wants to look good in those situations & I want my celebrities to look beyond good!

  • joe blow

    This is rich. Trying to put a feminist spin to liking the retouch of your photo. Girls will always be girls, even if they work hard not admitting it.

  • Anon55

    Who is she? Why is she important? How did she get Vogue? When she's not a big star? Now I see why Vogue is dead.

  • Anonymous

    How fake do you have to be to need a photo touched up!?

    • ladyluck88

      Shes a fucking actor. If Vogue wanted to feature you in fancy designer clothes would you question their judgement?

  • RRR

    Well, only slightly…except for her neck, her chin, her eyebrows, her arms, her chest…yep nothing changed there.

  • T Gentry

    Why is this chick the spokesperson for anything? Her show sucks.

  • emncaity

    Just to be clear, this _is_ the woman who advocates the evolution of culture to a point where people aren't so worried about appearances, “improving” the images of women, and so forth. Right?

    I just…mm…could all you people who think Lena Dunham is the epitome of absolute wisdom and uncool coolness just gather over on that side of the room for a minute?

  • Pixie

    Lena Dunham has more talent in her pinky finger then ALL of you HATERS combined. So shut your ugly mouths!

  • tidalpool

    dear god, yet another pompous pixelated prat! This so called ‘feminist’ felt ‘completely respected’ by Vogue when they created another article with accompanying faux fotos of this foolish fattish feminist. Given the multiple representations of her own abdominal adipose ‘art', one would think she'd be the last dumpy dame to buy into the current definition of ‘beauty.’ Not so, apparently she wants us to see what she ‘thinks’ she looks like, rather then the objective lens of ‘JEZEBEL.’

  • Michelle

    Untouched photos of her are messed up and gross? So she thinks she's gross in real life? She definitely has some of that vanity and some body issues.

    • Whoremommy

      Ho please

  • Anthony Byrd

    That Gay Sailor Boy tattoo on her arm and that Baby fat is not taste any more….

  • Kell JW

    Calls pictures of herself…. “messed up” and “gross,”….. I couldn't agree more. Wow… her and I agree on something. Perhaps she should spend some of her naked earned money on a mirror.

  • Ronald S

    This woman has written and “starred” in a series that portrays woen as neurotic needy skanks. I can't believe people watch it…after one episode my wife said enough. She is a smart woman.

  • alex

    Lena Dunham has gone down hill after the first season of girls. It was funny, but after that she got to wrapped up in her own politcal bullshit and got side tracked. Couple months ago everyone was up in arms about magazines airbrushing pictures and how it is setting an impossible standard for women to meet. Now this bitch comes along and being the feminist she is you think she would be all about her pure female image. No, she's a flip flopper.

  • kmkatt

    Maybe, we and she will finally realize, Obama wouldn't help her be her first time, if he sees it. I don't think her show would be shown in the WH. It is not in my house, tried to find the humor or any redeeming quality of story line. She is so egocentric, she is boring….

  • DList

    More shallow “news” about shallow, empty headed, self centered people

  • Judy Mowatt

    I don't get it. She has no problem baring ALL, all the time on her show, but not in a Vogue photo? I'd say that's a bit hypocritical. Are her nude scenes on the show altered, and that's why she's ok with it? Is she having an identity crisis of some sort?

  • Dart Vade

    well she wouldn't even care if she didn't think and know she was fat and ugly, otherwise why would she care?

  • Kianichi

    Her reaction to this, make no sense. Giving that she is naked in countless episodes. A little contradictory. But then again. On a magazine (picture) we all want to look glorious.