Yesterday was the recognized “International Women’s Day.”*
Yesterday was also the day that I listened to “Girl” by Destiny’s Child a lot of times and the night I watched Girls, aka the most frustrating show ever.
Destiny’s child is very important to me and millions of other amazing people. They are feminists. They speak to women and men. When are they reuniting for a tour? I must be front row with my BFF.
Its become quite an occurrence these days when famous women “come out” as feminists. I put this in quotations not to minimize the instances, but to highlight that it shouldn’t be a surprise. As we know, there is a common misconception about feminism, that people who identify as feminist are women who hate men and don’t shave, etc. We know this isn’t true. And, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so elegantly reiterated to us, and reached over 1.7 million people via YouTube,
Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
So, how does this relate to the incredibly frustrating Girls, you ask? Its always an exploration with that show. And that’s not a bad thing.
My criticisms of Girls are not very unique. It smells like nepotism, there is no diversity at all, its kind of a surreal experience only a certain percent of the population can have but the way its positioned it manipulative to say “but this is all Gen-Y, right???.” Wrong. Well, mostly wrong. I mean, its fuzzy.
My favorite thing about Girls has always been the credits at the end of the episode. I love the episodes when I see a woman’s name come up 5 times before a man. It makes it feel possible.
In terms of the Gen-Y statement I made above, I think it makes us feel uncomfortable to see a portrayal of us, and one that is actually very critical, all while being sensitive. Hello, Lena Dunham created, writes, directs, and stars in the show. One of the most validating parts of Girls is the critical part. These people are abhorrent. I actually despise parts of every character. I kind of like Ray. Great, now Ray is going to do something detestable in an upcoming episode. I feel it. The writers are obviously aware of this.
Its not an inclusive experience. If you created an itemized list of speaking characters you’d end up with a bunch of white people and a few LGBTQ characters. Cool, but are those the only people in New York City? The Donald Glover inclusion for one episode has been discussed at length elsewhere. My short response: he was on screen for, like, 10 minutes. ‘Nuff said. This issue of diversity for Girls is not a new discovery. Its something that should be dealt with. Please don’t be Woody Allen with this. The show is set in New York City. Diversity/Culture-Central, they call it (no, “they” don’t).
But, Girls is also feminist. These women are trying to figure it out. All of it. And not compromise. And it’s adventurous. If you look away from the issues and think about the human experience, it feels relatable. I feel lost and scared and confused and sometimes I make horrible decisions or hurt someone’s feelings or lash out because my feelings have been hurt. I wish evil and hate didn’t exist. I wish I could help everyone. I am angry and self-centered.
This is the life stuff. That’s what they’re dealing with. I walked my mind really far away from it and when I walked back I realize it is a human experience. Its not trying to be perfect and it’s aware of it’s imperfections and that’s what makes me come back. I don’t “hate-watch” Girls. I watch Girls and sometimes I don’t like it. But, I get it.
Girls makes me want to sit up straighter and work harder and speak up for myself more. Even if it comes out of pure aggravation, Girls made me do it. Girls and Destiny’s Child and Chimamanda and Emma Watson and Amy Schumer…