Lena Dunham gets huge new neck tattoo of the word she's 'most scared to be called'
We've had our fair share of strange, surprising, or straight-up bewildering celebrity tattoos in the past. There are millions in the world who have had some embarrassing ink done, whether it's a now-ex-partner's name in cursive, a foreign word that doesn't translate to what you think it does, or when you ask for a 13 but they draw a 31.
Yet it's easy to come around to the more unusual tattoo designs, as long as there's personal meaning behind the decision.
In a new Instagram photo, Girls creator and star Lena Dunham showed off a new tattoo on the back of her neck. Written in a rope pattern, it reads: "sick".
However, rather than simply an edgy tattoo, there's some hidden meanings behind the tattoo. For Dunham, it's about taking the label she's most scared of being given and wearing it with pride.
"Sometimes the thing you’re most scared of being called is the best thing you can call yourself," she wrote. "Thank you @havenstudiobk for labeling me... and to my sisters in this dizzying but starry slog- I am lasso’d to you!"
What the actress and writer is referring to is her many health issues - a topic she has been increasingly open about over the years. Back in 2014 the 32-year-old was diagnosed with endometriosis, after suffering through years of painful periods. She had several surgeries to remove lesions, then eventually elected to have a total hysterectomy in 2017.
The following year, she had another surgery to remove her left ovary, which she spoke about on Instagram along with a photo of herself in post-operation recovery.
Not everyone was too happy about her new tattoo, however. Some commenters who suffer from chronic illnesses rejected being labelled as sick, with user @ellalalou writing, "You sticking that word behind your head also sticks it behind mine."
"I have arthritis. I have fibromyalgia. I have endometriosis (I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago because of it). But would I label myself ‘sick’? No," user @mollyannewalsh added. "I am not what happened to me. I am what I become. Move on, Lena. Move. On."
Dunham later replied to this comment, writing, "There's so much judgement in this comment. Aren't I allowed to feel the pleasure in owning a phrase that has often been used negatively?"
As she heals and her health improves, she has continued to speak about these issues, speaking passionately on women's health in general. In March, she honoured Endometriosis Awareness Month by posting a connect the dots image of her surgery scars. She wrote:
"I’m dating & connecting my scars from 12 surgeries [...] to raise awareness of endometriosis and the multiple surgeries that are performed every year to try and ease the symptoms of an incurable disease that effects roughly 1 out of 10 women, yet is so often ignored or dismissed as a mental health issue."
Dunham isn't the only celebrity to defend their choice of tattoo lately, as Ben Affleck recently spoke on his infamous back tattoo.