Dave Quinn
February 03, 2017 11:38 AM

Since her HBO show Girls premiered in 2012, Lena Dunham has been an icon for body positivity, proudly going nude and showing viewers a body type not often seen on TV.

But with Dunham’s fearlessness has come with a slew of body shamers who have criticized the 30-year-old actress about her weight. And though Dunham has often clapped back at them herself, her Girls costar Andrew Rannells is publicly standing by her side.

The actor, who plays Hannah Horvath’s gay best friend Elijah on the show, made a visit to Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Thursday, where he defended Dunham and called out her female critics, saying she does “take a lock of flack” but he’s “not exactly sure why that is.”

“She never set out to say that she was supposed to represent every young women in America,” Rannells, 38, said. “She was just representing this character that she created. So I’m confused by a lot of the criticism.”

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty

He went on to question other women who throw jabs at her looks. “Mostly, if I’m going to be honest, I’m mostly confused by other women who criticize her physical appearance,” he said.” That to me I find the most— I get very defensive on her behalf.”

“She has such grace and such a great sense of humor about all of that, that she sort of lets it all roll,” Rannells added. “But I get defensive about it. That I’m like, how can you possibly be critical of that?”

RELATED VIDEO: Andrew Rannells on the Girls scene fans comment to him about the most. 

Dunham appeared on the February cover of Glamour free of Photoshop. In an Instagram post on Jan. 3, she said she never had issues with her own body, but society always has.

“Throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was f—— funny looking,” she wrote. “Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees — I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move. I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility.”

“Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like — I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it,” she continued.

Charles Sykes/Bravo

Dunham also spoke about being praised for showing her body on Girls — but said she was praised for the wrong reasons. “When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of, ‘Isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?’ ” she wrote.

The actress spoke about receiving “violent threats” and “sickening insults” throughout her acting career, but saw her appearance on Glamour’s cover as an important turning point.

“Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display,” Dunham said. “Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn’t matter — my body isn’t fair game. No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful. Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends.”

Girls returns for its sixth and final season on Feb. 12 at 10 ET on HBO.

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