Girls creator Lena Dunham made headlines when she showed up at the opening of her trainer, Tracy Anderson’s new studio with a slimmer looking frame. But Dunham had harsh words for those who fixated on her body’s supposed weight loss. At the opening of Anderson’s new Upper East Side fitness studio, the acclaimed writer and actress told People that she wasn’t interested in working out in order to shed pounds.
“I think for me the big thing was that Tracy just very clearly wasn’t trying to change my body,” Dunham said. She said her goal in working out with the famed celebrity trainer was to strengthen her core and reduce chronic pain as a result of her endometriosis. Anderson has been known for sculpting the bodies of celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, and Victoria’s Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio. But the Girls creator said she didn’t feel like the trainer was trying to make her look like anyone else.
“Women always think that they need to look like someone else,” Anderson told People. “I really want examples like Lena, like Jennifer, like Gwyneth, that are really proud of who they are, and they just want to be healthy and balanced for themselves.”
But that didn’t stop tabloids from fixating on Dunham’s new, slimmer appearance. And while some praised Dunham’s new look, others criticized the writer and actress for betraying body positivity, Refinery29 reports. Many Twitter headlines wrote that Dunham appeared happier and healthier thanks to her slimmer physique. Others wrote that Dunham is a “hypocrite” who has no right to the body positivity movement after losing weight. Tabloids ran photos of Dunham’s current look alongside older photos of her to show the difference in her weight. Writer Carolyn L. Todd defended the actress, saying not only is there no way of knowing how much weight Dunham has lost, but it shouldn’t matter anyway.
Dunham took note of the many headlines surrounding her supposed weight loss in a post to her Instagram account. She thanked Refinery29 for defending her amidst the backlash. There she wrote that she is trying to manage the chronic pain she suffers as a result of her endometriosis through diet and exercise, and criticized the focus on her weight. Dunham wrote she wouldn’t be “handing in [her] feminist card to anyone,” regardless of any alleged weight change. She also thanked Anderson for teaching her healthy ways to manage pain through exercise and praised model Ashley Graham for pushing back against the focus on women’s weight.
Thank you for this @Refinery29. I feel I've made it pretty clear over the years that I don't give even the tiniest of shits what anyone else feels about my body. I've gone on red carpets in couture as a size 14. I've done sex scenes days after surgery, mottled with scars. I've accepted that my body is an ever changing organism, not a fixed entity- what goes up must come down and vice versa. I smile just as wide no matter my current size because I'm proud of what this body has seen and done and represented. Chronic illness sufferer. Body-shaming vigilante. Sexual assault survivor. Raging hottie. Just like all of YOU. Right now I'm struggling to control my endometriosis through a healthy diet and exercise. So my weight loss isn't a triumph and it also isn't some sign I've finally given in to the voices of trolls. Because my body belongs to ME–at every phase, in every iteration, and whatever I'm doing with it, I'm not handing in my feminist card to anyone. So thank you to my girl @ashleygraham for writing so gorgeously about this on @lennyletter (link in bio). Thank you to @tracyandersonmethod for teaching me that exercise has the power to counteract my pain and anxiety, and to @jennikonner for being my partner in FUCK IT. I refuse to celebrate these bullshit before-and-after pictures. Don't we have infinitely more pressing news to attend to? So much love to all my web friends who demand that life be more than a daily weigh in, who know their merit has nothing to do with their size, who fight to be seen and heard and accepted. I love you- Lena
A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on
Many of Dunham’s Instagram followers and fans voiced support for her statement in the comments, BuzzFeed reports. Followers shared similar stories of struggling with body positivity and acceptance following weight loss or weight gain. Dunham has also discussed in the past exercise as a way to maintain her mental health in addition to her physical well-being. She told ESPN in 2015 that working out has been beneficial to her struggles with endometriosis as well as keeping her happy.
Dunham has been vocal about body positivity and has not shied away from showing her body on her HBO show. She has earned praise for appearing nude on Girls despite not being a size 2 or looking like the typical Hollywood actress. As she wrote in her Instagram post, she’s appeared on the red carpet wearing couture even at a size 14, and her new size won’t change her approach to her body. Her acclaimed TV show Girls is currently airing its sixth and final season, but Dunham isn’t likely to stop speaking out on issues of feminism and body acceptance anytime soon.
[Featured image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]