Target: Jessica Coen, Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel
Goal: Demand apology from women’s website for putting a bounty on unretouched photos of famed actress
Last week, women’s website Jezebel offered a $10,000 bounty for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham’s cover shoot for the February issue of Vogue. Editor Jessica Coen prefaced the offer with effusive praise over how “nice” and “well-styled” and “fantastic” Dunham looked in the fashion magazine’s spread. She then went on to state that Vogue has a history of inflicting rampant Photoshopping upon the actresses who grace its pages, and for that reason the photos of Dunham probably aren’t real. The undertone smacks of the condescending sentiment that Dunham could not possibly look so good without the aid of airbrushing. Through it all, she assures readers that this is about Vogue, not about Dunham.
The fact that the profitable offer was extended only for photos of Dunham, a talented woman and beacon of body positivity, and not for actresses with model-esque bodies who have recently been featured in the same magazine (e.g. Jessica Chastain, Claire Danes, or outspokenly body-positive actress Jennifer Lawrence) belies Coen’s claims. This offer was about clickbait and body shaming. To cast aspersions on an actress who defends realistic portrayals of female figures, who bares her naked body on national television every week, and who has taken more flack for her appearance than any of her contemporaries is wholly antithetical to the pro-women, feminist foundations upon which Jezebel was built.
There is a long and complicated history of women’s bodies being treated as public domain, particularly by the media. For a feminist website to perpetuate such a harmful concept is beyond appalling. Sign the petition below to tell Jezebel editor Jessica Coen that body shaming is not acceptable behavior.
Dear Jessica Coen,
I am deeply disappointed in your recent articles both requesting and revealing unretouched images of Lena Dunham’s cover spread for Vogue. Paying a substantial sum to acquire photos of a woman’s body without her consent is extremely problematic. Publishing and profiting off of those photos is worrisome. Yet above all, veiling such actions in faux altruism is morally bankrupt to an absurd degree. Your behavior over the past weeks has been both body-negative and misogynist, and for this reason, a public apology is in order.
Jezebel was built upon a principle of media by women, for women. However, body shaming and cheap, provocative attempts to increase site traffic have drowned out your pro-women message. Out of respect for Lena Dunham and your readers, it is absolutely crucial that you issue an immediate apology.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons