Lest we forget the Great Jezebel/Vogue Debacle of 2014, it is just not a good idea to bring the very concept of Photoshopping within 10 feet of Lena Dunham. And yet, thanks to Dunham’s own Instagram account, we have learned that yet another publication has dared to go where no one should.
In an Instagram post dated for today, Dunham posts the cover for the magazine edition of the Spanish-language publication Tentaciones featuring a clearly altered image of the Girls creator and star. It’s a nice photo, but the thinning and skin work here is striking before you even see the original shot. See for yourself.
For reference, open up this link to the original image by photographer Ruven Afanador. (Sorry, we can’t post it here for you, but such are the rules and intricacies of licensed photography.) The original doesn’t seem to be a pure pic, either, but Tentaciones’ changes are still clear.
Interestingly, Dunham was almost gracious in her response to Tentaciones’ digital bodywork. “Oh hello El País!” she wrote. “I am genuinely honored to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous. BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like—the magazine has done more than the average Photoshop. So if you’re into what I do, why not be honest with your readers? Much love, Lena.”
Killing them with kindness truly works, doesn’t it? Moreover, Dunham seems to have covered just about everything that’s wrong with this in just a few words. It’s a big ol’, “Know better, do better,” and a clear message to anyone else who has ideas about employing Adobe’s most famous product for “fixing” fourth-wave feminism’s reigning TV queen.
Update: In a subsequent Instagram, Dunham seems to walk her criticisms back a bit, detailing her further interactions with the magazine and her thoughts on the greater issues at play. “Hey Tentaciones—thank you for sending the uncropped image (note to the confused: not unretouched, uncropped!) and for being so good natured about my request for accuracy. I understand that a whole bunch of people approved this photo before it got to you—and why wouldn’t they? I look great. But it’s a weird feeling to see a photo and not know if it’s your own body anymore (and I’m pretty sure that will never be my thigh gap but I honestly can’t tell what’s been slimmed and what hasn’t.) I have a long and complicated history with retouching. I wanna live in this wild world and play the game and get my work seen, and I also want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for. Maybe it’s turning 30. Maybe it’s seeing my candidate of choice get bashed as much for having a normal woman’s body as she is for her policies. Maybe it’s getting sick and realizing ALL that matters is that this body work, not that it be milky white and slim. But I want something different now. Thanks for helping me figure that out and sorry to make you the problem, you cool Spanish magazine you. Time to get to the bottom of this in a bigger way. Time to walk the talk. With endless love, Lena.”
Some have been billing this as a retraction or an apology—frankly, we don’t know what it is, but at least everyone seems to be friends by the end of it. Bless.