Pick your battles, Lena Dunham.
The actor criticized a small Spanish newspaper insert called Tentaciones (which comes in the free with Spanish newspaper El País, think of it like… Spain’s Parade Magazine) about putting an image of her on the cover of their paper…one that she THOUGHT was photoshop. She said:
“Oh hello El Pais! 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.”
Nevermind the fact that Lena couldn’t bring herself to criticize Vogue for blatantly retouching her photos, but I guess an obscure (to American readers) Spanish magazine is cool? Too bad El Pais issued a comprehensive statement about what had been done to the image, which was taken in 2013. They basically said they cropped the original image and made a few minor retouches, all of which was approved by Lena’s team. They said:
Of course, we are aware that any medium has to take responsibility for what it publishes, but this photo was previously approved by the agency, the photographer and your publicist. For our cover, we used a picture from a session you did in 2013 with photographer Ruven Afanador, published at the time by Entertainment Weekly. Tentaciones acquired that picture through the Corbis agency and used the original that was sent to us without applying any retouching. Those who know and follow our magazine know that we do not use Photoshop or other digital tools to change the physique of the people featured on our cover or inside stories. This time we just cropped the original image to fit the format of our cover.
So Lena let that sit for a day and then she apologized. But in classic Lena style, she talked around the issue a bit, along with the apology:
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 width but I honestly can’t tell what’s been slimmed and what hasn’t.) I’m not blaming anyone (y’know, except society at large.) 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 PS I’d love the Tentaciones subscription I was offered!
A simple apology would have sufficed, I think. What do YOU think of her response?!