Here's the highly anticipated Lena Dunham Vogue cover: It's an Annie Leibovitz close up of Lena's face, looking very Twiggy-esque, with the tagline "hey, girl." Hey.
Reaction to the lovely looking cover has been predominantly positive. Glamour's Amy Abrahams tweeted that Dunham looks "amazing," and Ellie Krupnick at Huffington Post called it "beautiful." And it is!
Still, this being both Dunham and Vogue, we're girding ourselves for some sort of outrage. Some of it already prematurely hit. When Dunham was simply in talks for the cover, Sara Stewart at the New York Post wrote a piece explaining why she shouldn't pose for the magazine. "Dunham may have earned the cover of a major magazine, but it isn’t Vogue — it’s Time," Stewart wrote. "Furthermore, Time would allow Dunham to appear as she is. Vogue would shoehorn her into their own ideas of beauty."
And now that the cover's already out, there is already at least some hum of discontent, especially in regards to the fact that the cover does not show the not-model-thin Dunham's full body. Tamara Abraham at the Daily Mail wrote a post with the headline: "Lena Dunham strikes a quirky pose in polka dots for her very first Vogue cover - but why does it only show her face?" This type of commentary was to be expected. Earlier this month there was a quiet uproar about Mindy Kaling's Elle cover, one of a series featuring "Women in Television." While the other women pictured had their torsos on display, Kaling's picture was cropped around her face. Kaling took critics to task during a Letterman interview: "The sort of implication, what they kept saying, was, ‘What, Elle, you can’t put her big, fat body on the magazine? Why, ’cause she’s just fat and gruesome? Why shouldn’t we look at her beautiful, fat body?’ And I was like, ‘Oookay, people who are trying to defend me.’ I just feel like they’re kind of insulting me."
And Kaling's right. On one hand, yes, it would be great if magazines more completely embraced all body types —Vogue has cropped Adele, and Elle has cropped Gabourey Sidibe. But on the other hand, the criticism is now rote and can diminish the fact that it's great these talented women are being featured at all in the first place. Dunham tweeted: "Dear @voguemagazine: Thank you. Love, Lena."
As for Dunham the accompanying profile by Nathan Heller — which compares her to Bob Dylan — mentions that this isn't the first time she's been featured in Vogue. She was part of a spread on "a New York pack of fashion-conscious kids" when she was 11 in 1998. Meanwhile the spread features an awesome photo with a pigeon.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.