Lena Dunham was forced to issue an explanation Thursday after social media users discovered a sweatshirt she designed in cooperation with the high-end clothing brand, LPA, to bring awareness to "body positivity" and "internet harassment" was being featured on a skinny model.
Plus-sized model Tess Holliday was the first to notice that the sweatshirt, which features the quote, “Being fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse," was draped across a svelte woman on clothing retailer Revolve's website.
Twitter users quickly piled on, calling Revolve "gross," and "judgemental," Fox News reports, but they were really thrown for a loop when they discovered the shirts had been designed by "body positivity" and "anti-harassment" activist Dunham, to bring awareness to the way women are often treated on social media.
The sweatshirt, which retails for a cool $200, was supposed to be the first in a series of shirts featuring angry quotes directed at some of fashion's most beautiful people. The "fat" slam was a quote submitted by model Paloma Elesser. Other articles feature vitriol leveled at actresses Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse, and at Dunham herself.
Under fire, Dunham took to Instagram, where she admitted her involvement and condemned ... well ... herself.
For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with LPA through parent company @revolve - sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse. This is a cause very close to my heart and the proceeds were meant to benefit charities that help young women by empowering them to express themselves through writing and art. Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.) As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm. *** I’d like to especially extend my love and support to @palomija, whose quote was the first to be promoted and mangled. She’s a hero of mine. Like me, she gave her quote in good faith and shared her vulnerability in order to support arts education and to spread her message of empowerment, and she wasn’t consulted in the marketing. Not an ounce of negativity should be sent her way. *** My only goal on this planet is to empower women through art and dialogue. I’m grateful to every woman who shared a quote and so disappointed that our words were not honored. As a result, I will be making a donation to the charity of every woman’s choice who was wronged with me and I hope that @revolve will join me with a contribution of their own. *** P.S. This Rubens painting makes me happy because it’s about women joining in love, but he didn’t recognize diversity at all- he just loved curvy butts. Problematic fave.
"Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.)," Dunham explained, on a photo of a painting by Reubens depicting women's rear ends. "As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way."
Dunham resolved to make a donation to a charity of choice for each woman involved in the project. She pulled the line of sweatshirts from Revolve altogether.
Although it's not immediately clear from the site or the promotional materials, both Revolve's communications staff and the shirt's social media critics seem to indicate that an unknown portion from the sale of each $200 sweatshirt was supposed to go a charity called Girls Write Now. Revolve now says they're donating $20,000 to the same charity as restitution.