Lena Dunham has always been a fan of New Zealand lingerie brand Lonely.
Last year, she shared a selfie in a set of matching seafoam green bra and knickers by the brand on her Instagram. “I think I will wear [them] to dinner with some boots and a smile because we are all very lucky to be free,” she wrote on the post. The selfie was confident, beautiful and inspiring: an image of body positivity and characteristic Dunham don’t-give-a-fuckery and we loved it.
Today, Dunham has won another very important, perhaps even strategic, battle in the struggle for greater body positivity in the media, posing for an unretouched, raw photoshoot for the Kiwi brand’s ongoing Lonely Girls campaign with her BFF and Girls’ colleague Jemima Kirke.
Sure, it’s nothing new from the Girls’ creator, who has regularly shed her clothes in the pages of magazines and in the searing, realistic – and even at times totally cringeworthy, because they strike so close to home – sex scenes on her TV show.
But it is still an important move from the actress and filmmaker, who is pretty much singlehandedly attempting to reshape the idea of what constitutes a beautiful female body after years of seeing a very specific shape in the media, in films and on television, and yes, even in the annals (poor word choice, we know) of porn.
It’s a sentiment that Kirke has spoken out about before, telling Refinery 29 that “one thing I hate that they say about Lena is ‘She’s so confident’ [for doing nude scenes]… That makes me really mad and it’s really short-sighted, because I don’t think she’s confident. I think she’s brave. It’s not that she’s proud necessarily or showing off. It’s that she’s making an effort to fight the standard so that one day we’ll stop calling nudity and self-love ‘brave’. And, if people get mad because they see it as a big fuck-you, well then, they’re fucking right. It is.”
And it’s exactly why Dunham’s constant, unflinching portrayal of her own body is so important.
Speaking this morning on her podcast, British writer Dolly Alderton summed up the value of this photoshoot in reinforcing Dunham’s powerful message.
“It’s not exhibitionism, she doesn’t love doing it, she’s not a provocateur,” Alderton said. “It’s to deprogram our very narrow view about what women’s bodies should look like. And the more we see women who look like Lena Dunham naked, the more normalised it will become. And that is a radical, useful, wonderful thing that she’s doing for women and men everywhere.”