Let’s Leave Lena Dunham’s Looks Alone Now, Please
Most critics felt the last episode of Girls was “implausible” and “unrealistic”. That’s funny. It is funny that it is implausible for Hannah to have a spontaneous screw sesh with a middle-aged man, but it’s totally plausible for say, Marnie to leave work and go hook up with a demented artist. And it’s totally plausible for Jessa to get married on a whim to some financial jackass who nearly murdered her for spilling wine on his rug earlier in the season. And it’s totally plausible that Shoshanna is somehow actually an 8-year-old. All that is totally plausible, yet in the same world, Hannah landing an M.D. wielding fox is completely far-fetched.
Each plot point the critics tried to use as an example of the absurdity of the episode really all echoed the same issue: they did not believe Hannah was pretty enough for Patrick Wilson’s Joshua.
Lena Dunham may not look like the pin-thin models draped across the editorials of Vogue, but she is beautiful. She has the biggest, deepest brown eyes, a sincere, endearing smile and a proportionally small waist leading to the kind of curves that were the muses of Renaissance art. In fact, Lena probably would have been the biggest babe in all of Italy during the 1400s. A body that would probably be gracing the Louvre and revered for its voluptuous nature is basically the only problem people really have about an otherwise beautiful, one-off story about an impulsive affair.
If any of the women who graced the cover of Cosmopolitan this past year had starred as Hannah, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And to be honest, it’s a conversation I hate having. I hate having to defend the art of a talented and ambitious young woman because she isn’t Rosie Huntington-Whiteley because let’s be honest, there is only one Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And there’s only about .5% of the population that look anything like that. And I bet the other 99.5% of us have some sort of “dimpled ugliness” or have worn a lot of unflattering outfits. Hannah is a real woman. She isn’t airbrushed onto a Maxim spread or meticulously manicured by a crew of groomers. She doesn’t have a nutritionist curating cleanses for her or a personal Pilates instructor. She’s a human being, just like you and me.
Using Dunham’s looks as a criticism to her art is a repulsive affront to all women because faulting her for being a real woman, is faulting us all for being real women. By saying that Hannah doesn’t deserve to feel beautiful because she isn’t Megan Fox, is saying that I don’t deserve to feel beautiful because I’m not Megan Fox. You don’t have to be physically attracted to Dunham, but by attacking her work because you’re not is irresponsible and detrimental.
The reviews of this past episode of Girls say so much more about the media beast than they do about Lena Dunham’s physicalities. It is shallow, judgmental, and cruel. The message it is sending is negative and superficial, perpetuating the perception of photoshopped perfection and the self-loathing of being unable to live up to those unachievable standards. But do you know what kind of message Lena Dunham is sending? One of confidence, beauty and bravery for women of all shapes and sizes.