Lena Dunham does not look like your average celebrity. This not a judgement, it is a mere fact that the actress, author and producer herself, proudly claims. Lena’s beauty, her power, lies in her status as an outlier, an A-list example that underlines the unattainable beauty standards set by women who gaze glazed and photoshopped from magazine covers and movie screens and towering pedestals. There is something about Lena that makes people uncomfortable. Ever since she first appeared on Girls, naked and vulnerable, playing an autobiographical character who was both shamelessly sexualized and selfish, Dunham has thrust herself into the public eye with almost unrivalled candor. Angered viewers seemed to conflate what they saw on screen with the woman behind a character, a caricature, a satirical and infinitely self-reflective comment. Backlash for Lena has been brutal, relentless and relatively consistent.
But the star has not shied away. Lena has looked the haters in their collective eye and raised a middle finger. Lena has unashamedly become a body positive Hollywood face that refuses to hide, to be disgraced or condemned or belittled. Dunham most recently shared a trio of nude images on her Instagram page marking the 9 month anniversary since her hysterectomy. “My body is mostly healed and every day I find a new bruise on my heart, but today I offer myself gratitude: from the most pained place, I somehow knew to choose myself,” she wrote. “The purest glint of who we are and know we can be is always available to us, calm and true at our center.”
The actress and creator bid a fond farewell to her uterus, who she had dubbed Judy. She ended the message with, “Today I give thanks for Judy, for her graceful exit and for this body, which is stronger than I’ve ever given it credit for.” Let this be a reminder to all women, of all sizes and colors and creeds. When all is said and done, when we make our way home after a long day, we are human, we are small and we are mortal. Give thanks to your stretch marks and your extra pounds, give thanks, like Lena, that you are, quite marvellously, alive.