You can scroll all day, but you wont find a green juice, a yoga matt, or makeup tips on Lena Dunham’s Instagram. Unlike most celebrities, the creator of “Girls” doesn’t use her social media to show off a glamorous, perfect life. Rather, she uses it to discuss the reality of political, feminist, and personal struggles.
The actor, director and producer is no stranger to discussing taboo subjects in the public eye. Her fearless honesty and realism is plastered all over her social media (check out her candid and organic Instagram here.) A Tuesday morning post addressing her weight gain exemplifies this (love her or hate her) remarkable commitment to honesty and openness.
On July 10th 2018, Dunham became her own TMZ-styled paparazzo, posting a “before and after” collage of her change in weight and physical appearance between April 2017 and now. Dunham went through a public break-up with boyfriend of 5 years Jack Antonoff as well as a major medical procedure during that period.
On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work. Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. On the right: 162 pounds, happy joyous & free, complimented only by people that matter for reasons that matter, subsisting on a steady flow of fun/healthy snacks and apps and entrees, strong from lifting dogs and spirits. Even this OG body positivity warrior sometimes looks at the left picture longingly, until I remember the impossible pain that brought me there and onto my proverbial knees. As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in.
She highlighted the contrast between public acceptance versus self-hatred when she was 24 pounds lighter, and the public disapproval versus the self-confidence and happiness she feels at 24 pounds heavier.
In making this distinction, Dunham succeeds in teaching a valuable lesson that our society, manipulated by unattainable standards of beauty, needs to be reminded of the value of mental health over social acceptance.
Dunham is acting as an advocate for more self-love and self-appreciation, and we’re in. She says she’s “happy, joyous, and free” now. Sounds like a pretty great reason to join the body acceptance movement.
Nicola Lewis is a summer intern at the Forward, writing for the life section. You can reach her at Lewis@forward.com