Lena Dunham Vogue Cover: “Accepting Yourself Is More Important Than Success”

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It finally happened. After all the rumors of Anna Wintour “courting” Girls creator/writer/star Lena Dunham, she appears on the US version of Vogue for February 2014. It is the first time someone as “real” as Dunham has appeared on the cover, and by real, I mean someone any real reader can actually aspire to.

For me personally I have a problem with the cycle of fashion and advertising. I am told “but that’s just what sells!” in reference to all the skinny, white girls who are airbrushed in such a way that its ridiculously fake. My retort (let’s face it, I really mean ‘argument’) is that if one person(s) can dictate the way the fashion industry is now, then someone else can come along and surely change it. I know it’s not going to be easy, but it is slowly happening. This cover just proves it!

What a better way to sell a realistic aspiration to women than to place a hard-working, smart, talented woman on the cover. It sends a great message, one that even shows readers physical beauty should be the last priority, not the first. That’s not to say Lena isn’t beautiful, because she is. She is real, unique, not trying to fit into a mold where she doesn’t stand out, but is confident enough not to let physicality dictate her path in life.

Lena is not afraid to call out bad role models for girls such as Rihanna, she responds with grace when Howard Stern called her a “talented fat chick” proving she doesn’t need validation from anyone else, and proves she is tapped into the millennial mindset of women in a conversation with Mindy Kaling. She knows what we as women want to see and screw the masses of societal dictators.

If all advertising is supposed to sell us an ideal or a fantasy, why bother with over-airbrushed faces and grossly photo-shopped bodies that we can never achieve? Isn’t it the duty of these powerful mediums to offer us something that will make us buy “it” for the right reasons? To me, that’s a no brain-er. But somewhere, someone at the top of the fashion and advertising food chains one day obviously thought the opposite.

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Lena Dunham is one of us. That’s the thing. And she even says so in the interview. She talks about how she too has been that girl left out and on the fringe.

“I thought of myself as relatively unpopular,” Dunham says. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault—I didn’t go to high school with mean kids—but I didn’t feel part of it. . . . I didn’t really start to feel like I had friends in a real way until I graduated from college and became engaged with the people I’d be engaged with professionally.”

Vogue describes her as a voice of a generation, because for so long so many people have been too afraid to break the mold.

“She’s become a kind of spokesperson for young women who want to express themselves stylishly but with personal whimsy, and a vocal critic of the stereotype that fashion belongs only to a tiny group of superslender people terrified of breaking rules. For almost as long as Dunham’s work has been in the public eye, she’s spoken openly and often about her body type, pointing out that not every strong and enviable woman on the air must resemble a runway model,” says Vogue’s Nathan Heller.

“Dunham’s comfort in her own skin—even when bared—has become part of her cool iconoclasm. It’s the reason many people see her as the voice for a new generation of empowered young women, and it’s slowly helped to shift the norms of female charisma on-screen,” he continues.

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While it isn’t rocket science or curing cancer to have someone like Lena Dunham on the cover of Vogue, it definitely is a huge “Duh!” moment in my eyes, and many women around the globe no doubt think the same. If Anna Wintour is desperate to tap into the younger audience, then she is doing the right and SMART thing. She knows we aren’t fools, we see through the facade that has been fed to women for generations, and we want something more.

I think fashion for so long has used advertising as a vehicle to sell us escapism, like that of TV and Film. But fashion is something we actually wear and buy every day, where as unlike TV and Movies we don’t live on far away planets, we don’t have super powers, we don’t all have private jets and aren’t animated. The point is we can’t escape from ourselves in fashion, and that is exactly what Lena says in her interview, proving why she is an important voice not just for our generation, but for this industry.

“No matter what happens with your level of success, you still have to deal with all the baggage that is yourself.”

I think if we are encouraged and supported to love ourselves, accept our differences, that will make a huge impact on the way fashion is marketed to us. If one girl can be unashamedly herself and make no apologies for her success, her body and her talent, then it’s a damn good reason for us to read Vogue and to aspire to that standard.

Who agrees?

Asha K signature

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9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Lena Dunham: "I Want To Be An Agent Of Change For Women & Girls"

  2. Pingback: Lena Dunham On The Media, Body Image, Mental Health & Her New Book

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