“Girls” premiered on April 15, 2012, on HBO. It is one of the very few shows written, directed, and starred by a woman: Lena Dunham. Dunham herself is quite a controversial individual. She has been accused of sexually abusing her toddler sister after she published her memories on the book titled “Not That Kind Of Girl” (others just qualify her actions as “sexual exploration”), of being an “abortion-worshipper”… As polemical as her self may be, we must admit it is a pretty big deal that she created a show that was considered the highest-rated fictional series debut of 2012 on the website Metacritic and is now premiering the sixth and final season, receiving positive reviews in every one of the former seasons.
The show itself has some arguable points that we will discuss later. Still, as we enter this Women’s Month, I believe it’s important to acknowledge that “Girls” sheds light on so many aspects of society that are important for us as women, which are never seen or talked about on the media.
Starting by the fact that the main character has a body that isn’t normative. She is overweight; she does not shave regularly; she usually does not wear a bra; she hardly ever uses makeup… And we know all this because she’s constantly naked on the show. As confusing as this may be to some, women whose bodies do not match the standards get naked too, have sex too, love themselves too. It’s radical and so very new to have someone with such a regular body to be on screen, on a big channel like HBO, premiering her show with such good critics and audience rates.
On season 5, Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) gets completely naked for a nude photoshoot.
“Girls” has been called the “Real Life Sex On The City,” since we probably all agree that “Sex On The City” reflects very little of what women are and what they do in real life. “Girls” follows the lives of four young women trying to make a living around Brooklyn and falling in love with the wrong guys, learning to love themselves, exploring their sexuality, breaking and creating their friendships again, making mistakes, partying, and just all-around living their lives.
We hate and love every member of the cast, because they are no longer consistent, always acting like people expect from them. They change, they grow, they fail. They’re real.
It shows real struggles, like the difficulty of finding jobs to make them financially independent, living and finding help to live with functional diversities such as depression or OCD, problems to coordinate personal and professional life, tough family relationships, homosexuality in a non-cliche way… Mainstream media doesn’t ever put the spotlight on this kind of issue but rather broadcasts the lives of perfect girls, with ideal bodies, lives, and relationships, whose struggles are always superficial and get solved at the end of the episode.
For the first time, we see real women having real problems and being very happy but also very sad, all at once, just like we experience. There’s raw, dark humor, and also theatrical scenes.
I believe we must see the wrong side of “Girls,” as refreshing as watching this series may be. “Girls” portrays the life of four girls who face their struggles, but have pretty wealthy parents and are far away from the reality many 20-year-olds live. It also shows an extremely white-washed New York. If we are trying to show the real New York of 2017, we need to be portraying very many races and ethnicities besides white people, because New York is known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities. “Girls” has an all-white cast, and the times that we see African-Americans or Asians, they usually are nothing but stereotypical and cliché characters.
With this being said, and knowing there’s no way a show can meet every single expectation, “Girls” gives us hope.
It gives teenagers and 20-year-olds the chance to see themselves on TV. It was about time.