Love her or hate her: Lena Dunham doesn't care what you think. That unabashed confidence — especially in the face of public criticism — is what makes her one of the most intriguing, fearless, and outspoken artists of our time. But it doesn't make her unhuman.
In an especially raw piece for The Lenny Letter today, Dunham opens up about her biggest insecurity: her skin. The actress, who says she "got used to having good skin" realized what a security blanket it had become when she was diagnosed with rosacea at 31 — and encountered severe acne and bacne on top of that.
"Seven years of being treated in the public eye like a punch line about female imperfection may not have felt like it was wearing me down, but it had actually forced me to rely emotionally on my one area of fully conventional beauty: my perfect fucking skin," Dunham writes. "They could tag me in a picture of a beached whale. They could call me a bag of cottage cheese. But they couldn't take away the fact that I was able to eat seven slices of pizza, a wine spritzer, and three quarters of a chocolate cake and still look like my face was kissed by sweet, sweet angels when I woke up."
For Dunham, her newfound complexion issues weren't just an inconvenience — they were a wake-up call to how her identity and self confidence were wrapped up in the clarity of her skin. "I was mourning a life raft that had kept me, silly as it was, bobbing above the fray," she writes.
Anyone who's suffered from similar skin issues knows just how debilitating and emotionally draining it can be. "I'm starting to believe that speaking this pain aloud isn't just good for my own healing: it allows any young woman who might be watching to understand that nobody is immune from feeling bad about hateful attention," writes Dunham.
The experience is changing her public narrative, too. "'I don't give a shit' only translates into isolation; it prevents the people who love you from reaching out their hand to remind you of what's real," she says.