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'Girls' creator: Jezebel buying photos from Vogue photo shoot was ‘messed up’

A month removed from Jezebel offering $10,000 for, and receiving, the unaltered stills from Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover photo shoot last month, the Girls creator and star said the feminist website made a “monumental error” in how they approach feminism, according to a report today from USA Today.

Lena Dunham attends the UK premiere of "Girls: Season 3" at Cineworld Haymarket on Jan. 15 in London.
Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

In an interview with Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons, Dunham said it was “messed up” when Jezebel not only sought out but also posted the untouched photos, which in her mind did not differ far from alterations made by the fashion magazine.

"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 idea of Jezebel seeking the unaltered photos made Dunham feel “gross,” she said. But according to the website’s editor-in-chief Jessica Coen that wasn’t the intent, which was rather to expose Vogue’s practices in terms altering the photos of women on its covers.

In the original post offering the $10,000 for the photos, Coen championed Dunham for her outspokenness about “society’s insane and unattainable beauty standards.”

“Dunham embraces her appearance as that of a real woman; she's as body positive as they come,” Coen wrote. “But that's not really Vogue's thing, is it? Vogue is about perfection as defined by Vogue, and rest assured that they don't hesitate to alter images to meet those standards.”

Though admitting the photos contained only “slight tweaks,” Coen insisted that the practice is still “insidious,” which peeved Dunham.

“Instead of going like, ‘Hey, we kind of f***ed up. These pictures are not that (retouched). Lena, enjoy the Vogue spread you've been excited about since you were 8 years old.' They were was like, 'She's not retouched, but she could have been,’” Dunham said. “It was this weird, almost like political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting.”

The hour-long interview can be seen on Grantland’s YouTube page, with Dunham’s comments on Jezebel and Vogue starting at roughly the 52-minute mark.

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