The horror of Lena Dunham’s average body

As my fellow Girls lovers already know, Season 2 of Lena Dunham’s smart (and weirdly controversial) HBO series kicks off on Sunday. THIS SUNDAY! 

I’ve been trying to avoid reading any Season 2-related press because spoilers, but Jezebel pointed out this horror show of a ‘review’ that ran in the New York Post and I had to write about it. Not only does the writer, Linda Stasi, refer to Dunham as a “pathological exhibitionist,” she delivers this truly amazing lesson in backhandedness:

It’s not every day in the TV world of anorexic actresses with fake boobs that a woman with giant thighs, a sloppy backside and small breasts is compelled to show it all.

Translation: EWWWW! How dare this woman with a TOTALLY REGULAR BODY be naked ON TELEVISION? No one wants to see a sloppy backside. Whatever that means. It gets worse, you guys:
Interestingly, the gorgeous Marnie is the one who is now totally unlucky in love. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be smart, breathtakingly beautiful, nice and kind. Not when there are blobbies who are willing to take their clothes off in public constantly — even when they aren’t in character.

Translation: EWWWW! How could a man possibly WANT to have sex with your blobby ass? EWWWWW!

Also: you know why Marnie is unlucky in love, Linda? BECAUSE SHE IS TERRIBLE. That’s why. Have you actually watched the show? I’m sincerely doubtful. If you have, you’d know that Marnie is the worst. A gorgeous girl with a shitty, self-absorbed personality is unlucky in love? HOW INTERESTING.

I’m sad that a woman called out another woman for daring to live publicly in a body that doesn’t meet society’s ridiculous requirements, and I really wonder what the tone of this review would have been like if Dunham’s Hannah Horvath looked more like, I don’t know, Carrie Bradshaw. But mostly I’m annoyed that The Media won’t make up its mind about what it would like us ladies to look like. We wring our hands about what images of underweight models and actresses are doing to our teenage girls’ body images —  and yet, when someone dares to bare her average thighs on TV, we practically recoil in horror.

We talk big talk about how we want to see normal people on TV, on the big screen, on billboards and in magazines, but the truth is, we don’t. Not really. If we did, we wouldn’t make such a big deal about Dunham’s body. We want our actresses and models to be aspirational figures, those beacons of perfection we strive to be — and spend millions of dollars a year on health programs and cleanses and beauty products and waxes and whatever trying to get there. Which is why it makes us very uncomfortable when they look just like us. You know, average. With small tits and ‘sloppy backsides.’

But here’s the thing. Lena Dunham isn’t average. She has the kind of career most of us writers will only dream of. And guess what? Plenty of young women want to be just like her when they grow up — even if she doesn’t have a perfect body. I KNOW, RIGHT? That’s some earth-shattering shit right there.

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Jen Zoratti is a Spectator Tribune columnist and a freelance music scribe. Her favourite character on Girls is still Shoshanna. Follow her on Twitter @JenZoratti.