In a recent interview with People, Lena Dunham actually felt the need to clarify that her decision to start exercising was not “anti-feminist.”
“I don’t think anyone’s gonna be like, ‘You look so good it’s ruined my life,’” she said. “There’s nothing anti-feminist about being healthy.”
Um. Anyone who isn’t totally brain dead already understands that. It’s not like the jury’s still out on the “Is exercise good for you?” debate, and part of feminism is supporting other women and wanting what’s best for them. Any woman who would be angry at another for deciding that she’d like to maybe not have a stroke or cancer or cardiovascular disease would not be coming from a feminist point of view, but really just a mean one. It’s also worth noting that her concern that some women might react that way also shows that even Lena (who is oft-celebrated as a feminist icon) recognizes how backwards the modern movement can be.
Furthermore, the fact that Dunham even felt compelled to reassure the public that she wasn’t going to start to look too “good” from exercising kind of runs counter to her signature female-empowerment message that women shouldn’t pay any attention to what others think about how their bodies look. In a way, it seems to suggest that if she were working out to lose weight or change her appearance, that that would be a bad thing and that under those circumstances, people might have a right to object.
In a truly feminist world, Lena would just work out, enjoy it (or not), and not worry about others’ judgment about the motivation behind it or what the end result might be — and other women would support that.