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Debate on Photo Retouching Flares Online, With Roles Reversed Published: January 20, 2014

Last week, two publications that consider themselves champions of women faced off — with an unexpected outcome.

Jezebel, a website that made its name protesting artificiality in women’s magazines, announced on Thursday what seemed like a subversive feminist stunt. It dangled a $10,000 bounty for anyone who could produce raw, unretouched versions of photos of Lena Dunham from the new issue of Vogue, aiming to “reveal how many pounds Dunham lost on the Vogue diet” of digital alteration, as The Cut put it. The next day, Jezebel posted the originals.

The unedited photos garnered more than a million page views — but the exercise also fell somewhat flat. Within hours, Jezebel faced accusations of insensitivity and bullying, while Vogue, a magazine some feminists have long loved to hate, drew praise for showcasing a woman whose body looks nothing like a supermodel’s.

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