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Lena Dunham addresses wedding body shaming
Via Instagram/@lenadunham

Lena Dunham addresses ‘gnarly’ body shaming comments on her wedding photos

TextThom Waite

‘When will we learn to stop equating thinness with health/happiness?’

Last month (September 25), Lena Dunham got married to musician Luis Felber (who performs as Attawalpa) with a “whirlwind” ceremony at a members-only club in Soho, London. Following the wedding, the Girls creator and her new husband travelled to the country for a brief honeymoon. As Dunham says on social media: “I got a little break from work, which reminded me how much I love what I do and how excited I am to share what I've been making with you in 2022.”

“I say this because over the years, I've shared many challenges with you,” she adds in the recent Instagram post. “And these moments of joy had me thinking that we should admit when we’re happy too – it's not a crime.”

However, Dunham adds that being surrounded by friends and family caused her to forget “why (she’s) created such intense boundaries with the internet over the past few years”. Unfortunately (if unsurprisingly), she was quickly reminded of this when she went online to view the response to her wedding photos, shared in a Vogue feature last week.

“I took a peek, and saw some gnarly shit, most not worth responding to or even sharing with you,” she adds. One narrative she does openly take issue with, however, is about her body – a near-constant subject of conversation over the course of her career. This narrative, she says, suggests: “I should somehow be ashamed because my body has changed since I was last on television.”

In response, Dunham takes issue with a variety of critics’ points – ”’Did Lena eat the cast of Girls’ just isn’t a very good joke” – and adds that it’s “ironic” to have her body compared to a body that was also widely scorned, even when she had lost weight in an effort to better control her chronic illness, endometriosis.

“When will we learn to stop equating thinness with health/happiness?” she writes, having long been outspoken on the issue of body positivity. “Of course weight loss can be the result of positive change in habits, but guess what? So can weight gain.” The images that her wedding photos are being compared to, she says, are from when she was “in active addiction with undiagnosed illness”. In the four years since, she’s become sober and apparently started living as “someone who aspires toward health and not just achievement”. 

“These changes have allowed me to be the kind of sister/friend/daughter that I want to be,” she continues, “and yes, meet my husband (who, by the way, doesn't recognize me in those old photos because he sees how dimmed my light was).”

Addressing her statement to “any other person whose appearance has been changed with time, illness, or circumstance”, Dunham concludes: “​​It’s okay to live in your present body without treating it as transitional.” Read Lena Dunham’s full statement on the response to her wedding photos below, and revisit her reflections on a decade of being celebrated and hated in a 2019 interview with Dazed here.

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