Lena Dunham’s nearly 2,000-word Vogue essay on what she claims some have dubbed her “gerbil teeth” is getting swift criticism from fans online who say it sends a “bad message.”
Dunham opened up her essay, titled “Lena Dunham Got the Message: The Internet Does Not Like Her Teeth,” by comparing her mother’s “jankity smile” in the 1970s to her own.
“When she was roughly my age and her buckteeth overshadowed the rest of her child-size ones,” Dunham explained in the article, referring to vintage photos of her mother.
Ever since she was 6 years old, Dunham says she’s had issues with her teeth. They were disproportionate, crooked – you name it.
“When I first entered the public eye, I did so with my own teeth, which I soon realized was not something typically embarked upon by the freshly famous,” Dunham continued. “This was also before I had learned another cardinal rule of celebrity: Thou shalt not search thyself on Twitter.”
The “Girls” creator then listed several insults she read over the years about her smile on social media. Some compared her chompers to “British wooden fence post teeth,” calling them “alarmingly large.”
“The thing that bothers me most about Lena Dunham is the fact that she’s rich & her teeth are still brown,” Dunham recalled reading.
“Is Lena Dunham against whitening her teeth?” a Twitter user once asked.
The question prompted Dunham to do a deep dive into whether she’s against whitening her teeth.
“As with so many women, my relationship to the trappings of beauty changes every day. And from the first time I read a tooth criticism online, I developed the habits of the suddenly self-conscious, pursing my lips at inopportune times like I’d just sucked down half a lemon,” Dunham wrote.
She then decided to do some research, reaching out to Manhattan dentist Mojgan Fajiram, D.D.S., Michael Apa, D.D.S. and a variety of other “tooth perfecting services.” She admitted she even made an appoitment once, but chickened out after a friend told her the procedure would likely be painful.
In the end, Dunham decided to not make a decision “solely on unsolicited outside input.” Instead, she will follow her own instincts.
“When I first entered the public eye, I did so with my own teeth, which I soon realized was not something typically embarked upon by the freshly famous.”
“I will continue on: beaver-toothed, yellowed, enraging the internet one post at a time with a smile only a mother could love,” Dunham ended the essay.
While some said Dunham’s post was inspiring and spread a message of body positivity, others called the piece “vain” and scolded the star for even considering expensive procedures to simply keep up appearances.
“If Lena Dunham wants to write a whole article about her teeth, whatever, vain…. Please talk about how orthodontia is very expensive (as is dental insurance),” one Twitter user wrote. “For Lena Dunham to write an article in Vogue telling us to embrace her teeth (🙄whatever) sends a bad message. We need to take care of our teeth for our individual health! It’s important for your mouth, but also your heart and kidneys.”
“When I tell my son I am reading an article about someone worried about whitening their teeth because of what people thought of her on the internet, he replied ‘She needs to grow up.’ Bravo on leaving well enough alone,” another added.
“@lenadunham you misinterpreted the message … @voguemagazine why do you give this person a platform?!?” one user asked.
But fans were quick to defend Dunham and commend the star for her decision.
“All my love to @lenadunham teeth,” one person tweeted.
“@lenadunham I actually think that teeth give great character. Your teeth are unique & genuinely beautiful,” another wrote.