The 30-year-oldGirls creator coversGlamour magazine's February issue with her HBO co-stars -- Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke -- and opted to go without any Photoshop. Dunham took to Instagram on Tuesday to point out how important the decision was for both herself and other women.
"Throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was f**king funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees -- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move," she writes. "I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let's get something straight: I didn't hate what I looked like -- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it."
"When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of 'Isn't she brave? Isn't it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?'" she adds. "Then there were the legions of trolls who made high school teasing look like a damned joke with the violent threats they heaped on, the sickening insults that made me ache for teen girls like me who might be reading my comments."
Now, Dunham definitely has the last laugh against her haters.
"Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without Photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display," she points out. "Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn't matter -- my body isn't fair game. No one's is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there's a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful."
"Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends," she continues. "Thank you to the women in Hollywood (and on Instagram!) leading the way, inspiring and normalizing the female form in EVERY form, and thank you to @glamourmag for letting my cellulite do the damn thing on newsstands everywhere today. Love you all."
In the in-depth interview, Dunham acknowledges her low points during filming Girls throughout the years. The sixth and final season of the HBO hit premieres in February.
"Sometimes I would get very lonely, because I wanted to be a part of the group, but there was also the element of, like, having to boss people around," she admits. "And we would be doing all this as a team, [but] if we got criticism, I felt like it would all come down on me in this sh**-storm torrent. Even though I was surrounded by love, there were times where I felt very 'by myself' in the process."
In particular, both Kirke and Dunham get candid about not always getting along.
"The least and the most satisfying thing about my job was my relationship with Lena," Kirke says. "In a good way. It definitely caused us to get closer [after 15 years of friendship], and it caused us to fight. And then at the end of it, you know, [our relationship] was nice."
Dunham also reveals that Kirke attempted to quit the show before season two.
"I remember being in a cab. And Jemima called me," she recalls. "She was like, 'I have to tell you something. It's not a big deal. I don’t want you to freak out. I want to quit the show.'"
"Yeah. My sense of who I was and what I wanted was really thin," Kirke replies. "I really wasn't sure what the f**k I was doing."
As for Williams, she just wanted more screen time.
"I always wanted to be in the show more," she says. "That was my M.O. every year. I wanted to be a piece of furniture in Hannah's apartment, if that’s what it took."
Meanwhile, Mamet has no regrets.
"We were allowed to grow," she notes. "Not only as ourselves but as characters. And if I got to do that for the rest of my life, I would die a happy woman."