We Spleen: Joan Rivers Body-Shaming Lena Dunham

We Spleen: Joan Rivers Body-Shaming Lena Dunham
(David Shankbone / Flickr)

Lena Dunham, writer, producer and star of HBO’s hit show, Girls, pushes back against conventional beauty standards by frequently appearing nude on her show and embracing her physique. We applaud her for her boldness.

But Joan Rivers has a different take on Dunham’s boundary-crossing ways. The Fashion Police host recently made some way-out-of-line remarks about Dunham on Howard Stern’s radio show, saying,

“[Dunham is] sending a message out to people saying, ‘It’s OK, stay fat, get diabetes, everybody die. Lose your fingers.'” She added, “I’m saying if you look the way you look, Lena—and that’s fine and you’re funny—but don’t say it’s OK that other girls can look like this. Try to look better. Try to look better!”

Come on, seriously?

Personally, I applaud Dunham for her unapologetic attitude about her body; we need more of that in Hollywood. Dunham is sending a message to girls and women that you can be beautiful—and more importantly successful—even if your body doesn’t fit conventional beauty norms. Plus, as Stern pointed out to Rivers, Dunham “doesn’t give a s**t” what people think.

In fact, Dunham shared her body-positive philosophy last year, musing, 

“We’re one weight one day, we’re one weight another day, and some day our body just doesn’t even exist at all!” she told Gothamist. “[My body] is just a vessel I’ve been given to move through this life. I think about my body as a tool to do the stuff I need to do, but not the be all and end all of my existence. Which sounds like I spent a week at a meditation retreat, but it’s genuinely how I feel.”

Take that, Rivers.

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Andrea Ananighian is a graduate in English from California State University, Channel Islands. She is currently an intern at Ms.