While she was in Milan for Fashion Week, Gigi Hadid elbowed a man who grabbed her on the street and lifted her in the air. Page Six called her attacker a "prankster," and a since-edited headline in The Sun read "Gigi Hadid Aggressively Lashes Out and Elbows Fan In The Face." In Tuesday's Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham spoke with Hadid about the incident and the media's reaction to it. The newsletter links out to YouTube footage of the attack, problematically titled, "Gigi Hadid gets attacked in Milan by a prankster and FURIOUSLY fights back."
Hadid's supposedly "furious" and "aggressive" behavior, Dunham points out, was self-defense. "The logic behind [the media's] response seemed to be that because she has chosen to have a public-facing career, one in which her sexuality often takes center stage, she has also implicitly asked to be manhandled," Dunham wrote, pointing out that many other women face street harassment on a daily basis. An excerpt from Hadid also defends her decision to elbow the man. "I felt I was in danger, and I had every right to react the way I did," she said. The model also called out the article The Sun published about the incident. "First of all, it was a woman who wrote the story with that headline," she said. "What would you have told your daughter to do in that situation?" Fortunately, when Hadid's own mom saw the picture, she told her what parents should be telling young women who stand up for themselves: "Good girl." Dunham pointed out that though the backlash has been troubling, Hadid's actions sent a positive message to those who look up to her. "As unfortunate as the incident was, seeing someone like Gigi wield her elbow without hesitation is so essential to her young female fans, many of whom may have their own experiences of unwanted contact," Dunham wrote. "In an instant, she made it clear who was taking control and who needed to be controlled."