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Just Because Lena Dunham Exercises, Doesn’t Mean She’s Not "Body Positive"

Spring.St logo Spring.St 20/03/2017 Caitlin Stower

Lena Dunham sparked outrage this week for something very confusing.

The actor/Girls creator attended an event this week for Tracy Anderson, a personal trainer who's been working with Dunham (and many other celebrities) for years.

"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," she begins.

"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."

It's incredibly well said. But at the same time, it just makes me want to turn my phone off, pull a duvet over my head, and switch off from the world. Why? Because we're STILL seeing women being criticized for doing whatever they want with their body.

If Dunham exercises, great. She shouldn't need to defend her decision to do so or provide a lengthy explanation of why. It's her choice. And it's none of our business.

Taking care of yourself—for health reasons or weight reasons—doesn't mean you're "turning your back on the body positive movement."

Dunham has and will continue to be a strong voice of support among the masses when it comes to body positivity. From featuring the voices of women of all sizes on her website, Lenny Letter, to celebrating all bodies in her show, Girls, (where star Jemima Kirke said she found it amazing her post-birth body was portrayed as "the sexy one") Dunham's championing of body positivity isn't going anywhere.

It's just a shame she constantly feels forced into providing explanations for her personal choices. She's not the first "body positive" celebrity to encounter this pressure.

Look at Ashley Graham. She's the most body-positive person we can think of—regardless of the fact she appears in magazines photoshopped and documents her exercise routines on Instagram.

Does this mean she's going against the body positive movement? Of course it doesn't—despite irritating accusations to the contrary from "fans". She's simply making a choice about her body.

Confessions with @Tiny_dp ...

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

What about Gabourey Sidibe? The actor recently spoke about her decision to undergo weight loss surgery. She's now happier and healthier, and stands by her decision 100 percent. Is she an advocate for body positivity, even though she had weight loss surgery? Of

Is she an advocate for body positivity, even though she had weight loss surgery? Of course she is. No question.


There's Chrissy Metz, star of This Is Us, who came under fire earlier this year after it was revealed there was a weight loss clause written into her contract on the hit show. She had to defend the network's decision, because she too wanted to lose weight. There wasn't an ulterior message for overweight viewers. It was simply a personal decision.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming... @harpersbazaarus

A post shared by Chrissy Metz (@chrissymetz) on


Then there's Mindy Kaling. The actor/comedian has talked about the frustration of the "real body" label, and being reduced to a pin-up for "alternative" beauty—or even worse, "bravery".

"I am the recipient of a lot of backhanded compliments about it," she explained to Jimmy Kimmel in 2014.

Thanks @shopbando ❤

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

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