With season 5 recently released it’s time for many of us to catch up on Girls.
Girls is an HBO show created by Lena Dunham that chronicles the lives of four girls, Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa, living in New York during their 20s. This is definitely a show worth watching, but it has its ups and downs.
1. Body Positivity
Have you ever been self-conscious about your body or wished your body type was represented in today’s media? This is one thing Girls does right! Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) is curvy and proud!
She wears what she wants and doesn’t let anyone put down her self-esteem. Out of all the characters Hannah probably has the most nude scenes out of the four. This show does not portray the typical so-called ideal body that the mass media has a tendency of supporting. It supports a diverse array of body types.
Not only does the show display different female body types, it also displays the different body types of men. It doesn’t give in to the media’s idea of the perfectly muscular man. It shows men with chest hair, longer legs, and less muscle tone.
2. Real Life Struggles
Girls shows what it’s like to be young and full of aspiration.
Hannah’s goal is to become a successful writer and to get her works published. However, things never quite go her way and something always stops her from achieving that goal. With her strong narcissistic personality it is hard for her to please other people and keep steady jobs.
Ray Ploshansky, probably the eldest of the characters, lives a fairly boring life managing a small coffee shop. He deals with coming to terms with not having a useful college degree.
Marnie deals with not understanding herself in more ways than one. She doesn’t know who she wants to date nor does she know what she wants to do career-wise (for a while). When Marnie realizes that her current career path leads to a dead end she decides, like many young adults, to pursue her dream of singing.
Jessa is a drifter. A flake. A junkie. She struggles with drug abuse and is unable to maintain a romantic partner.
Shoshana is a very typical college student. She fools around too much and learns the hard way that her actions have consequences. She also learns that the real world is harsher than she initially thought.
Lack of Diversity
While Girls is a great show, it has a very homogeneous cast. While not all friend circles consist of a variety of ethnic groups, the lack of ethnic variation is worth noting. All of the main characters in Girls are white. When a person of color makes an appearance in the show they usually appear as an extremely minor character that won’t ever show up again. On top of that, the people of color that do appear all have light skin.
Marnie has a lot of history with Charlie. With all of her ups and downs, she can never make up her mind about him. One major problem with Marnie and Charlie is their conversation in the season 2 finale. Marnie claims she wants to have Charlie’s brown babies.
This is problematic because Charlie, the character is not brown, nor is the actor Christopher Abbott. And trying to claim a white person is brown is problematic.
Including and representing people of different colors is much needed in the media; however, it is whitewashing when characters don’t actually represent said culture. It’s extremely offensive to people of color to see their culture being represented by a white person. The message this gives the general public is that people of color only need to be represented in name–they don’t actually need to be present or to represent themselves. This is a form of cultural and ethnic erasure and shouldn’t be ignored.
Keeping in mind that Girls is not a perfect show it is definitely worth watching! Personally, I watch Girls because of its relatable depiction of the struggle of people in their twenties. The characters struggle with their life-long aspirations versus reality–which is really something almost everyone can relate to at some point in their lives. While I wish there was more ethnic diversity in the show, I am pleased by the body positivity because it really gives the message that you are beautiful no matter what shape or size your body is. So, if you get the chance to procrastinate and watch HBO, check out Girls!