What the two-time Golden Globe winner didn't anticipate, however, was that Jezebel would subsequently offer a $10,000 bounty for unretouched photos of the actress in the famed fashion magazine. In an interview with Grantland's Bill Simmons posted Thursday, Dunham—the star, creator and executive producer of HBO's Girls—opened up about the feminist website's hurtful exposé.
"That was messed up," Dunham said of writer Jessica Coen's multiple articles. "I think Jezebel is really smart and funny. I think it's just like once you've been attacked that way it's hard to enjoy. It's hard to enjoy once you feel like they've made such a monumental error in their approach to feminism."
Coen claimed it was never Jezebel's intention to "shame" Dunham, but the plan ultimately backfired. "Her body is real. She is real. And for as lovely as the Vogue pictures are, they're probably not terribly real," the editor wrote. She later added, "This is about Vogue, and what Vogue decides to do with a specific woman who has very publicly stated that she's fine just the way she is, and the world needs to get on board with that. Just how resistant is Vogue to that idea? Unaltered images will tell."
Dunham was confused by Jezebel's mission—as were many of the website's readers.
"For me it was just sort of—I can't be half-in. It felt gross," the Tiny Furniture filmmaker said. "I didn't talk to [Coen] who did it directly, but I can't imagine the reaction made her feel particularly great."
Dunham said she felt "sympathy" for Coen at first, until Jezebel posted "the unretouched images of me that looked so similar" to how she does in real life. "It was the most minimal retouching. I felt completely respected by Vogue," the actress explained. "I felt like, 'Thank you for removing the one line from my face because I'm 27 years old and shouldn't have that there. I appreciate this.'"
The TV star was disappointed that Jezebel didn't appear to take responsibility. "Instead of saying, 'Hey, we kind of f--ed up. These pictures aren't that retouched. Lena, enjoy the Vogue spread you've been excited about since you were 8 years old,' [Jezebel] was like: 'She's not retouched, but she could have been.' It was this weird almost like political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting."