The 29-year-old Girls creator says she is no longer allowing retouched images of herself to be released, even if it means losing out on plenty of magazine covers.
"Not done with getting my picture taken (once an insufferable ham, always an insufferable ham) but done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world," Dunham writes in her Lenny newsletter. "The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now. If that means no more fashion-magazine covers, so be it."
"I respect the people who create those magazines and the job they have to do," she continues. "I thank them for letting me make a few appearances and for making me feel gorgeous along the way. But I bid farewell to an era when my body was fair game."
Dunham's decision was set off by her recent drama with El Pais, after the Spanish-language publication published what she alleged was a heavily-Photoshopped image of her for the cover of its supplement, Tentaciones. However, after the magazine released a statement denying they had made any alterations to the photo beyond cropping, Dunham backtracked.
However, the Golden Globe-winning actress is not apologetic or embarrassed about the misunderstanding.
"So, was the image Photoshopped somewhere between raw digital file and Spanish glory? I think so, but who knows and really, who cares," she writes. "But seeing the photo got me thinking about the real issue, which is that I don't recognize my own f**king body anymore. And that's a problem."
"Something snapped when I saw that Spanish cover," she later adds. "Maybe it was the feeling of barely recognizing myself and then being told it was 100 percent me but knowing it probably wasn’t, and studying the picture closely for clues. Maybe it was realizing that was an image I had at some point seen, approved, and most likely loved. Maybe it was the fact that I no longer understand what my own thighs look like. But I knew that I was done."
Dunham says her decision also stems from wanting to be honest.
"If any magazines want to guarantee they’ll let my stomach roll show and my reddened cheek make an appearance, I am your girl Friday," she writes. "Anything that will let me be honest with you. But moreover, I want to be honest with me."
"This body is the only one I have," she stresses. "I love it for what it's given me. I hate it for what it’s denied me. And now, without further ado, I want to be able to pick my own thigh out of a lineup."
Dunham was hospitalized over the weekend, due to a ruptured ovarian cyst, a common side effect of endometriosis. The hospitalization comes just three weeks after the actress announced she wouldn't be participating in the press tour for the sixth and final season of Girls.
"Thank you so much for the love," Dunham Instagrammed on Monday. "I'm safely out of the hospital and recuperating. Your well wishes mean the world. I can't wait to be up and active, and to show my thanks."
Watch the video below for more on Dunham's health scare.