Let’s face it, Lena Dunham’s US Vogue cover was an uproar waiting to happen. If they didn’t retouch, the whole thing would have been out of sync with the rest of the magazine’s glossy, fantastical and 100% retouched images. Hell, some might even accuse Vogue of trying to portay Lena in an unflattering light. If they did retouch, which obviously they were always going to, outrage would ensue which of course it has. What I really don’t understand, is why anyone is remotely surprised and frankly, why it’s even newsworthy. Today it’s a pretty safe bet that every single image you see in Vogue, or any other fash mag for that matter, has undergone a spot of editing regardless of whether the subject is a “real woman” (God I hate that patronising phrase) or a supermodel. We all know this, it’s no secret. Being photoshopped is no reflection of the individual in question. Everyone’s seen enough of those shocking and mildly self righteous Upworthy features to know that not even the girl in the advert looks like the girl in the advert. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s healthy, but like the price on request gowns and more expensive than rent handbags, fashion magazine’s are about fantasy not reality. For me, far more distasteful was Jezebel’s $10,000 quest to get hold of the unretouched photos which seemed like a highly unoriginal piece of scandal mongering. As Kat Stoeffel wrote in her brilliant article for The Cut, what exactly did they intend to achieve? We’ve all seen Lena basically buck naked enough times to know what she looks like and she looks very much like that person, albeit with professional hair, make up and high fashion get up in the Vogue pictures. We all know that fashion magazines retouch images. While the retouching highlighted by the oh-so-predictable before and after shots on Jezebel may have confirmed it, the changes were actually pretty minimal. As for the digital placement Annie Leibowitz is so known for and pigeon on head palaver, I’m not really sure if or why anyone would care.
Ultimately I can’t help but feel it’s a positive thing that Vogue are championing talent, brains and unconventionality on their cover and perhaps our collective energies would be better spent pushing for more of that than lamenting the inevitable. Retouched or not, surely this is more interesting than yet another Alexa Chung/Cara Delevigne cover. But enough from me, what do YOU guys think?
Love Ella. X