The Co.’s Katherine Gougeon explores social and cultural details that have an outsized ripple effect. 


I am genuinely honored to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous. BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like – the magazine has done more than the average photoshop. So if you’re into what I do, why not be honest with your readers? Much love, Lena (via Instagram)


Now, here’s something you don’t see every day. A celebrity complaining that the media has made her look too good. Even when the publication, Spanish magazine Tentaciones, swore the image was in no way altered, Lena Dunham insisted the body on the cover could not possibly be her own.


ig-desktop-BCat8Cui1HpCredit: Tentaciones


And here lies the real problem with Photoshop. Forget about how it creates unrealistic expectations and unhealthy obsessions with model cheekbones, celebrity biceps and buttocks-not-found-in-nature. The problem with Photoshop is that it creates an idealized version of Yourself. A standard of beauty you must either compete with – or hide behind.


A successful executive coach once told me that she swapped out the glamour shot on her website after being told by one too many prospective male clients: Oh. *disappointed sigh* You don’t look a thing like your picture. A bride-to-be once explained that she didn’t have to worry about watching her diet because her wedding was being photoshopped for posterity.


Trying to live up to your digitally altered self is like living next door to your boyfriend’s ex – who looks a lot like you only skinnier. You become your own lunch bag letdown. Whether you’re representing on Linkedin or PlentyofFish, this is no way to live.



Credit: Instagram @LenaDunham


Amy Schumer once joked how certain people (the Kardashians) treat the face they were born with as a light suggestion. Lena, by comparison, is known for being more ‘delicate’ and ‘elegant’ in person. Maybe the Tentaciones  image was doctored. Maybe it wasn’t. By refusing to grant the benefit of the doubt, Lena is practicing the lost art of under-promising and over-delivering.  And really, what better way is there to put forward the best version of yourself?


Follow me on Twitter @kgougeon