Lena Dunham Got Real About Her Quarantine-Caused Body Insecurities on Instagram
"The suggestion of a revamped clean eating plan in my newsfeed somehow feels like a personal assault."
Say one thing about Lena Dunham and it’s that she’s unafraid to dive into a difficult conversation. Yesterday, December 7th, she opened up to her Instagram followers about her body insecurities and how they’ve fluctuated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine period. “Why,” she wondered, “after all these years spent fostering self love, do I still feel like weight loss is an item for my to-do?” And Dunham’s not the only one feeling like this nagging chore maybe shouldn’t be a chore in the first place.
“Oh hey, just self-isolating with my pod, aka my pot belly and my sunglasses,” she began in the caption of her post. She said she’s been noticing an influx of headlines promoting weight loss, and that these headlines “that used to roll off my flesh rolls sting in a new way—not because I think that’s the body I’m meant to have,” Dunham continued, “but because it feels like it’s adding yet another item to the epic to-do list we are all creating for ourselves in Covid.”
Dunham wrote that, for many, pandemic life has not actually gifted people a break from the world or from themselves. As that COVID to-do list grows (maybe I’ll finally… take up karate… build my own furniture… grow geraniums… Dunham writes), items on said list continue to go unchecked, and the suggestion of a revamped clean eating plan in my newsfeed somehow feels like a personal assault.
“Growing up chubby, fat, thicc, whatever you wanna call it—I always felt my body was a sign that read ‘I’m lazy and I have done less.’ Like if I just found the will to invest 30% more I could be okay,” she continued. “Over the years, as my body guided me through my career and illness and disability, I started to appreciate what it was capable of. But somehow, this pandemic time has brought back some of those old feelings of self-loathing and I think it all comes back to that damned to-do list, the one that started when we went into lockdown.”
At certain points along the way, Dunham has wondered if she should add work on revenge body to her COVID to-do list and then wonders, why, after all these years spent fostering self love, do I still feel like weight loss is an item for my to-do?
“Like, what if I checked that one off *forever forever* (by doing it never never)?” she wondered. “But I’m so curious—what has this period brought up for you as you’ve sat with the body you were given, no matter where self isolation has taken it?”
Friend Selma Blair thanked Dunham for posting her truth and other followers empathized with her. “Imagine if we gave ourselves permission to appreciate our body’s ability to keep us alive instead of rip it apart because it doesn’t fall into the narrow and impossible beauty standard that our society perpetuates…” one follower commented. Another wrote, “THIS is how mental health care is taken seriously—when we talk openly about body image challenges.”
Whether you’re using this period of time to get comfortable with the body you have or aiming to get more comfortable with your body through clean eating, exercise, and a weight goal, finding comfort, understanding, and happiness is what is more important. It may take time to unlock a new achievement on that body-image journey, but remaining open and honest with yourself and others will lead to a healthier dialogue about self love that we can all benefit from.