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Lena Dunham: Girl Keepin’ It Real

12394879724_b2dcba0dae_zA lot has been said about Lena Dunham and her penchant for appearing nude in virtually every scene of her hit HBO series Girls. Recently, she’s been the subject of much debate over photo touch ups; how much is too much and should they really be done at all.
12394425805_1e5cf8d79e_zOh, and there was the usual controversy about her recent VOGUE cover, which only featured a head shot rather than a full body shot. If the cover subject is gorgeous and scantily clad, there is an uproar. If the subject does not meet with society’s supermodel standards, and is draped in a coat, there is an uproar. If Lena Dunham were to appear scantily clad on the cover, there would be an uproar, but if only her face appears…you got it…uproar.

Among all the wars we as women must face, the body image war is one that is waged most often. And as hard as we try, for as many plus sized models that grace print ads and runways, as many Dove commercials featuring “real women”, as many attempts by the media (this week it’s Today’s “Love Your Selfie” series), the subject remains a hot debate.

When Jezebel recently offered VOGUE $10,000 for an un-retouched photo from Dunham’s shoot, it raised even more discussion.


Really? That’s it? Seriously? What’s all the fuss?


And Dunham herself weighed in on Twitter, responding with a simple reply to the affect of “$10,000, really? Why not donate it to charity and then subscribe to HBO.” HA! Don’t you just love her? She’s right, ya know. With so much going on in the world, we’re really going to debate cleavage? Admittedly, Jezebel’s very existence stems from fabricating completely nonsensical, sensationalist bullshit.

Yet, truthfully, do we really want to see so called “average” people naked? I mean, I flinch when I look in the mirror. And if we really did want to see it, wouldn’t we all just put mirrors on our ceilings? I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to you. Yeah, you. And me. Especially me.

Truth is, I think many of us enjoy watching beautiful people trot across our screens. That’s part of the unattainable fantasy of it all. For some of us. Pipe down, I’m not talking to you.

However, I think A LOT of us appreciate feeling like it’s okay to be real. It’s okay to not be perfect. Good God, we’ve all enjoyed looking at Kim Kardashian and all The Un-Real Housewives of Everywhere, but seriously,, don’t we just heave a collective sigh of relief when we see someone who isn’t perfect, being totally okay with being inside their own flabby skin, just like us?

Hell yes, we do! Thank gawd!

And thank gawd for Lena Dunham. I don’t know why she has to be nekkid so damn much, but I say let her. She grew up in Manhattan with artist parents and maybe if I did too, instead of growing up in the midwest with one very reserved, conservative, non artistic, very Catholic parent, I’d be sitting here naked right now while I typed. this. And stinking up my husband’s office chair. But doing it in the name of all that is good and real and feminist, I tell you!

When a woman who is socially considered to be the standard of “beautiful” or of possessing what is perceived to be the beautiful has no qualms about flaunting it, we don’t bat an eyelash. We might say it’s too much, but we understand why she’s doing it. When a Lena Dunham does it, we applaud it in golf claps, yet we either secretly or as of late, publicly decry it because why is an average woman subjecting us to it?

Ah…so many mixed messages. I hope it’s a dialogue that paves the way to a new reality much like the new reality we’re experiencing socially and politically on so many other issues like the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage and a more prominent role in society for minorities and the gay community to be sports figures and news anchors and yes, even the host of the Oscars.

While Senate lobbyists scramble to draft bills to ensure that their safe 1950s world view isn’t forsaken, and Jezebel attempts to throw dollars at fashion magazines to prove that we’re being tricked somehow into thinking a non standard female is meeting standard…uh…standards, let’s pause for a minute and drink in the beauty of progress and salute Lena Dunham for not only helping helping pave the way for such progress, but for walking that yellow brick road with us.

You go, Girl.

Photo “lena_dunham_0214_vogue_us_06″  by alien_artifact licensed by CC 2.0
Photo “lena_dunham_0214_vogue_us_01″ by alien_artifact licensed by CC 2.0
Photo “lena_dunham_0214_vogue_us_05″ by alien_artifact licensed by CC 2.0 
Photo “Girls” by Joe Shlabotnik licensed by CC 2.0


  1. February 25, 2014    

    YES YES YES! I love every word of this, Linda! You took the words right outa my brain. Love me some Lena. Love me some, beautiful, real, women.

    • February 26, 2014    

      Me too. And can I take some more words out of your brain today, because so far I’ve got nothin’. ;)

  2. February 25, 2014    

    I don’t “get” Lena, but I know I’m not supposed too. She’s a mid 20 something woman and I’m a mid 40 something man. My teen daughter should “get” Lena not me.

    But I do support more real naked people or whatever people being on TV. People who I know, love and respect, like you, Linda, “get” her and that means something.

    • February 26, 2014    

      Thanks Lance. Not necessarily more naked people on TV, but less of a fuss when someone is and they’re not Heidi Klum, shall we say.

  3. February 25, 2014    

    I love Lena Dunham. I secretly want to be her (well, the writing and connections and success part). I think nudity should be balanced. Let’s see bodies of all types, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I also think we need to see more nude men. Let’s even the playing field, see how you like being under scrutiny, boys.
    Sigh, now I’m rambling. I just want to live in a world where a human body isn’t such a big damn deal.

    • February 26, 2014    

      LOL, yeah Natalie. More nude men. I think Billy Moynihan of SNL did his part when he sat butt naked on that wrecking ball. I’m still trying to recover from that, but Go, him! lol

  4. February 25, 2014    

    Beautifully said!

  5. February 25, 2014    

    (it’s apparently been awhile since I last visited)… and I would say, ‘naked women are not bad, per se
    I like the ‘new layout’ of the blog.
    while I recognize the issue of ‘plus size’ models…I have my own disagreement with ‘plus sized’ kitchens. (this does tie in to the theme being discussed, I promise), I watch a little TV but tend to to mute the commercials, which has the effect of accentuating the visual component (of commercials). My question is: does everyone in this country, except for me own a house that has an 850 square foot kitchen?
    There is clearly a strange thing that happens when we identify with commercials, or fictional characters or models… hope that by buying the perfume, the deodorant, the jewelry or the dishwasher detergent that the people in the ads are using, we become like them. and therefore find ourselves with bigger…. er kitchens.

    • February 26, 2014    

      I hear what you’re saying Clark. Good analogy. And my kitchen needs new floors, btw. But the appliances aren’t too bad. ;) Thanks for the compliment on the blog layout – I appreciate it!

  6. February 25, 2014    

    I agree with every last word of this. I really like Lena Dunham, and I could honestly care less whether she wears clothes or not. I don’t understand what it’s such a big hairy deal either way. Also, I totally wish I loved Girls. I tried so hard to like it, and I’m pretty sure it is my demographic that is falling in love with the show left right and center. I just can’t get myself there.

    • February 26, 2014    

      I didn’t expect to really like Girls, but I ended up loving it. It’s a more realistic peek into life in NYC than SATC for sure. But I don’t have HBO anymore, so I’m missing out on seasons 1 and 2.

  7. February 26, 2014    

    I loved every word of this! (Ok, except for Kim Kardashian. I just don’t get the fascination.)

  8. February 27, 2014    

    Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. And thank you.

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I was selected for VOTY/PhOTY 2015

Hi! I'm Linda Roy. My nickname is elleroy. I'm a humorist, musician, writer, mom, and the female Larry David. I'll criticize your parallel parking to prove it. I write about where I've been, what I'm doing and where I'm going. If anybody asks, tell 'em "elleroy was here".

I'm a featured blogger on Mamapedia Voices

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