Not-So-Superficial Girls: A Show that Gets Refreshingly Real

By: Abbey Lyn Clark, Regular Contributor



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Maybe you’ve heard of the show, maybe you watch it, or maybe you’re like me and you’ve recently become obsessed with it: HBO’s Girls. Aside from the humorous misadventures of Hannah Horvath, the lead character played by Lena Dunham who also created the show, what I like most about the show is that it’s real. It’s trying to prove feminist points through film. In short, the series is about the agency of women like you and me trying to make it and be self-sufficient; like all of us, they’re trying to figure it all out.

When I heard the cast of Girls was shooting an episode in my town, I had to watch the pilot and see what all the hype was about. I even unknowingly served pancakes to Andrew Rannells at my waitressing job while my friends sitting at the counter broke down with fan-girl-itous. The show follows a group of 20-something New Yorkers navigating their way through young adulthood.  In a lot of ways it brings to attention the ordinarily struggles that ambitious, educated, progressive women face today. For example, how do you pursue your dream job, keep a steady boyfriend or love interest that treats you right, and meet rent for the month? How do you deal with a, now gay, ex-boyfriend who wants to move in with you? How do you cope when you’re working as a hostess instead of pursuing your dream job? Although sometimes it’s outrageously sexually focused, the show would be boring if it didn’t highlight the imperfect decisions and romantic blunders of real women like Dunham’s character Hannah. In addition, it shows the beauty of age differences and how women with extremely different personalities can come together and be friends. For example, Hannah, Marnie, and Jessa (Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, and Jemima Kirke) all have their own distinct quirks and personalities: They dress differently, act differently, and pursue different dreams. They are not ‘Manhattanite’ clones. In addition, they often take Zosia Mamet’s character Shoshanna, who is still a student, under their wing. The series embodies the powerful idea that every experience brings you closer to what you really want in life.

Girls is addicting because it’s so relatable. It’s a feminist show because it explores issues that other shows ignore. It seems like every other guilty pleasure show I watch focuses on what the women characters are wearing, how thin they are, and how men relate to them. Girls is the first show I’ve watched in a long time that focuses on the imperfections of women and how they relate to men and each other. It empowers women instead of communicating unrealistic depictions of reality. In an interview questioning the “Accidental Feminism” of Girls Dunham stated:

“On Girls I like being a mouthpiece for the issues I think young females face today. It’s always shocking when people question whether it’s a feminist show. How could a show about women exploring women not be? Feminism isn’t a dirty word. It’s not like we’re a deranged group who think women should take over the planet, raise our young on our own, and eliminate men from the picture. Feminism is about women having all the rights that men have.”

Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it, but you should give the first season a go. When you strip your average TV show of the superficialities and pointless dramas that surrounds your typical group of girlfriends you get HBO’s Girls. Although people have said Dunham literally strips down too much on the show, a little nudity does not take away from her creative spirit, body-positive beliefs, and hilarious lines. I’m obsessed with Girls because in my humble opinion, Girls is a show that communicates feminist beliefs on purpose, not by accident.

About Abbey: Abbey Clark is a rising senior majoring in English and Human Development at Boston College. Along with being the I AM THAT GIRL local chapter leader at BC, she is also a yoga instructor and the co-president of her all female a cappella group: The BC Sharps. She loves spending time with her friends & family, baking, and traveling. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!


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