Lena Dunham Launches Plus-Size Clothing Line, Discusses Issues With Body Positive Movement

“There’s so much judgment around bigger bodies, and I think one of the judgments is that bigger women are stupider."
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Lena Dunham attends the "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" UK Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Lena Dunham is starting a fresh venture and taking on a new role as fashion designer with the launch of her new plus-size clothing line this week.

Dunham discussed the move with The New York Times during a virtual interview with the outlet. She also commented on the current body positivity movement that has grown in popularity in recent years.

The line — 11 Honoré x Lena Dunham debuts this week. It is a joint effort between Dunham and 11 Honoré, a women’s clothing company that specializes in designer plus-size clothing. The clothing company is based around the idea that women of any size (the line specifically targets women sizes 12 and up) can wear designer brands.

The New York Times reported that Dunham’s work with the brand “will be 11 Honoré’s first celebrity foray, and it is a tightly edited collection of only five items. Dunham said this is because “I’ve totally given up on the idea of being any type of impresario or person who had something to say to everyone.”

“Right now the only thing I’m doing is speaking about my own experience,” she said. “So this clothing line is a direct response to my experience.”

Dunham has been public about her health journeys throughout the years, including her experience with the coronavirus, which she contracted last March. The New York Times reported, “Though she has recovered, the disease affected her pituitary gland and left her with partial adrenal insufficiency, she said, so she is taking steroids.”

“Not the cool kind that make you muscular,” she said. “Just the kind that make your face fat. I’m trying to roll with that. Trying to be chin positive. I can deal with anything, but a triple chin is a hard place to land.”

She made a point to thank her medical providers and discuss how she is aware that she is privileged with private health care access and the opportunity to work.

“It doesn’t mean I haven’t felt a lot of body hatred in lockdown,” she said. However, she said that she is not a fan of some current wording, like “plus” or “curve” or “body positive.”

“The thing that’s complicated about the body positive movement,” she said, “is it can be for the privileged few who have a body that looks the way people want to feel positive. We want curvy bodies that look like Kim Kardashian has been up-sized slightly. We want big beautiful butts and big beautiful breasts and no cellulite and faces that look like you could smack them on to thin women.”

“I have a big stomach, I always have. That’s where I gain my weight — especially after early menopause, I have a straight-up gut, like an old man — and that’s not where anybody wants to see flesh. It’s not like if I posted a sensual nude of myself on Instagram, people would be marveling at my beautiful derrière.”

“There’s so much judgment around bigger bodies, and I think one of the judgments is that bigger women are stupider,” she continued. “They eat too much and don’t know how to stop. Thin women must be discerning and able to use their willpower. Bigger women must be limited in their understanding of the world, and they keep doing things that are bad for them. The amount of people who have written to me on my page: ‘You’re promoting obesity. Don’t you understand you’re killing yourself. Are you stupid? Why are you doing that?’”

Dunham discussed feedback she has received on her style. “The thing that’s been really interesting is how angry it makes people when you dress like yourself,” Ms. Dunham said. “It’s not, ‘Oh, I don’t like that dress.’ It’s, ‘How dare you?’ And it’s fascinating how much of that comes from other women with bodies that look like mine. It’s not a male gym rat. It’s other women who have been indoctrinated with the same message: ‘Didn’t you get the memo? We’re all doing this. We’re all going to wear the Spanx.’”

Dunham will not wear Spanx and she said she hardly ever wears a bra. None of the clothing she is putting out with the new line requires a woman to wear a bra with it.

Dunham has another film coming out soon, “Sharp Stick,” that she told The New York Times was written last summer as “a meditation on the complexity of, uh, female sexual desire and how it intersects with trauma.”

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