May 10, 2013 by kholzhauer
Now, with that subject, I’m sure you’re expecting something pole dance related, or at least something vaguely more Motley Crue than what I’ve actually got going on. Actually, today’s post isn’t remotely rock-video sexy, unless you consider angst, criticism, and perhaps a touch of jealousy rock-video sexy.
So, how do I explain the title? Well lately, I’ve been watching Girls. That’s right. The HBO show put together masterminded by Lena Dunham. And you know what? I think it’s ridiculous, and I’m honestly a bit concerned about how that show is suddenly representative of my generation as a whole. I don’t want to be represented by Ms. Dunham or the characters she’s created in her show. And yet, as the show took off, it seems like 20-whatevers everywhere (a bit of an exaggeration but whatever) are accepting, and even celebrating the way they’re portrayed in the show. I mean Glamour voted Lena Dunham “woman of the year.” She’s been written up in every major publication, and when “hip” 40+ year olds end up talking to me at social gatherings, the show always comes up.
But Girls isn’t me. And really, it isn’t my generation. Here’s why:
1. We see men as people. Dunham reduces men to “walking hard ons.” I have great male friends, a great relationship, and you know what ladies, men are people too. And, like us, they’re complicated. But they’re complicated in different ways then women. I want to think that on the whole, my generation realizes that men are more than the sum of their parts. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my generation (half of whom are men by the way) doesn’t see men as just a walking boner. So there’s that.
2. We’re not all sexually irresponsible. I’ve watched half of the 1st season and there’s already been a pregnancy resulting in a young woman drinking instead of getting an abortion and an STD outbreak. Now, I’m not saying that women of my generation don’t have sex. We’re actually a pretty liberal generation. I’m just saying that, for the most part, we understand how and why to use condoms, and we have enough self respect and awareness to be responsible and not depend on our partner.
Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and the like do happen to women of my generation, and women of every generation (of childbearing age). STDs happen as well. But the way Dunham “the voice of her generation” handles them is entirely misrepresentative of our generation. Getting an STD is not something that “all adventurous women do,” as one of the characters on the show proclaims. Nor should it be. Girls misrepresents our generation’s sexuality not in that we don’t have sex, but in that she burdens women of our generation with such a cavalier attitude toward safe sex. It’s sad.
3. Girls portrays a painful level of self-absorption. Yes, we’ve been called the “me generation,” but I’m not sure I believe that. I do know a lot of self involved people, but I also know that for every self absorbed young person is one who is in touch with the world around them. The women in Dunham’s show are indeed social, but they’re not socially aware, which doesn’t speak for our generation at all. While we may not be able to give as much to charity, we work with charities. We follow politics. We make up larger and larger portions grass roots campaigns, political lobbies, and the like. We may not bankroll politics, but we actually do get off our iPhones, out of our apartments, and do things. We don’t live in the insular bubble that Girls portrays, nor do we want to. It’s that simple. Our generation may be self absorbed, but we’re more than that. We’re passionate. We’re in touch. We’re involved. When know when NOT to be self absorbed.
4. We work. That’s right, only one of the 4 women on Girls seems to have a steady job. Most, if not all of my friends do. I don’t know many people who think that they’re too creative to hold down a job, too bohemian to hold down a job, or who opt to be a professional student forever. No, the economy isn’t the best, and yes, the job market is tough, but 3/4 of us aren’t unemployed. Men and women of my generation don’t treat work as if it’s something they’re above. We go to work, pay our bills, and handle our shit. I’d love to say the same of the women on Dunham’s show, but I can’t. And that’s sad.
5. We understand how to dress ourselves. Not saying we’re all stylish. Not saying our clothes aren’t cheap, but it seems that for Dunham’s women, “avante garde,” “free spirited,” “bohemian” clothing really ends with them looking homeless, like they’re wearing their PJs, or like they never ever look in the mirror. There’s a place for wild dressing, but trust me, we don’t all dress like that. Here’s a glimpse into the “fashion” choices seen on Girls. Love? hate? Why?
And for sure, my generation, Dunham’s generation, the Girls generation has a lot of creative dressers, but even in the hipster centers of the universe, men and women have a good sense of how to dress for work and play without looking like they’re wearing a) children’s clothes, b) their PJs, or c) something simultaneously making their boobs look saggy and strangling their crotch.
By now, you get the point. I don’t think that Girls, or Dunham for that matter, is a good representative of my generation. I’m not going to say I don’t find the show somewhat entertaining, I’m just frustrated by reading time and time again that this one little show is somehow portraying my friends and I. That’s it.
I’m a member of Lena Dunham’s generation and Girls does not represent me.