I’m going to suggest something seemingly outrageous: GIRLS isn’t that great.
Hear me out.
No one was looking forward to GIRLS more than me. Actually that’s probably not true (hyperbole strikes again!) but I was definitely looking forward to it.
The first few episodes were a delight. Look at these GIRLS in all capitals! They’re my age! Sometimes they say juvenile regrettable things and make mistakes and try to act cool when they’re really shattering to pieces inside! Hannah has a normal body! They masturbate! I can relate! I can relate to it all!
And then I couldn’t anymore.
Perhaps I don’t have enough experience with girls my age even though I am one or maybe in the time I lived in Brooklyn as a 22 year old I missed out on the lifestyle the show depicts. By the fifth episode of GIRLS, I was forced to admit it was nothing more than a Sex and the City wolf in an edgier, younger sheep’s clothing most likely from Free People.
The show is a great show. It’s entertaining, it’s well written, it’s starkly and sometimes frighteningly honest. It’s a breath of fresh air. I really just think the title is inaccurate.
GIRLS isn’t girls. It’s stereotypes of girls, specifically of white girls living their white lives whitily. I don’t think GIRLS is representative of post-college “girls” at all. In fact, as a post-college person with lady parts, I find the title almost insulting. Hannah is 24 years old and she expects her parents to support her living in Brooklyn. She has an emotionally and often sexually abusive boyfriend whom she tolerates for reasons unknown to me (that face!). Marnie, the responsible one, is uptight and filled with anxiety. Shoshanna’s “biggest baggage” is that she’s a virgin (THE HORROR!) and wait…did I just hear that “all adventurous women” have HPV? Here I pictured adventurous women volunteering at orphanages in western Africa or jumping out of planes. Silly me?
Is that, as Peggy Lee once crooned, all there is? Do we just have GIRLS to represent us as females living in our twenties? We’re not women, you guys. We’re girls! We’re just taller children with hips and tits navigating our twenties “one mistake at a time.” We don’t support ourselves. Responsibility isn’t fun. We don’t make decisions based on what would benefit us in our future or what would impact others. Boys our age are either intimidating or unfuckable wimps. Oh, and we live in Brooklyn.
I have often heard Lena Dunham described as “the voice of our generation.” I hope that’s not true, because I can say with certainty that she doesn’t speak for me. To me, the image GIRLS paints of actual girls is a little muddled. I know “girls” who help support their families. Girls with children. Girls in the military. Girls who own houses. Girls who build houses. Teachers, girlfriends, mothers, engineers, wives, single girls, artists, volunteers, pilots, daughters, nurses, virgins, sluts (hey, no bad thing to regularly have sex when a girl isn’t in a relationship), etc., etc., etc.
We aren’t girls, HBO. We’re women. I’m fairly certain we’ll be navigating our lives “one mistake at a time” for the rest of it. Let’s give GIRLS the credit it deserves as a TV show, but let’s not forget it doesn’t necessarily represent all twenty-something females (people with lady parts, if you will).
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