Lena Dunham is way nicer than she had to be about Jezebel photo controversy

February 21

(Annie Leibovitz/Vogue)

Well, Lena Dunham is a lot nicer than we would have been in her situation. The “Girls” creator and star was calm and mature in responding to a recent  Jezebel controversy, simply saying the feminist Web site’s $10,000 attempt to get un-photoshopped images of her Vogue cover shoot was “messed up.”

Sitting down for an interview with Grantland’s Bill Simmons, Dunham said the stunt “felt gross” — but then even slightly defended the site, saying that she sympathizes with having to produce a large amount of content. “I think Jezebel can be really smart and funny,” Dunham offered about the site that pointed out her every small flaw when the photos emerged and had been very minimally edited. “I just think it’s like, once you’ve been attacked in that way, it’s hard to enjoy once you feel like they’ve made such a monumental error in their approach to feminism.”

Perhaps Dunham knows that if she unleashed a truly angry rant against the site (which has become famous for exposing just how much magazines edit celebrity images on magazine covers) it would draw even more attention to the incident that already received lots of nasty backlash from around the Internet and Jezebel’s own fans. Simmons speculated that in retrospect, the site’s authors probably know the idea was a bad one. Dunham seemed to think about this, and said she didn’t talk to the author who wrote the post, but said carefully, “I can’t imagine the reaction made her feel particularly great.”

She did sound more annoyed talking about how she was personally scared to see the un-retouched images, thinking, “Maybe I’m delusional and I don’t look how I think I look.” Then, when it was clear the photos had only had a small amount of retouching (“I felt like, thank you for removing the one line from my face because I’m 27-years-old and shouldn’t have that there”), the site still stuck to its originally storyline.

“Instead of going like, ‘Hey, we kinda (expletive) up, these pictures aren’t that retouched…they were like, ‘She’s not retouched, but she could have been,’” Dunham said. “It was this weird almost, like, political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting.”

Again: Way nicer than she had to be.

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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