On Lena Dunham and the “Girls” craze
I have realized what it is about “Girls” that irks me so much. Lena Dunham’s show is so transparently an attempt to actualize the fantasies of young, neurotic American girls that are roughly Dunham’s age, that it has the potential to be a truly thought-provoking show, were it to be played up as such (this is the very reason why “Sex and the City” was so pivotal and important for television). However, Dunham instead insists on treating her show as a form of popular muckraking, an excavation into the “real lives” of “real women” dealing with “real problems” in “real America,” and instead of ringing true it simply falls flat.
People are so quick to level insults at Dunham’s figure because they are afraid to admit that it is not the artifice of the show (a fairly believable portrayal of white-collar New York City) which is completely baseless, but more the insipidity of Dunham’s character, cadence and all-around style. I would argue 100% that Patrick Wilson would never attach himself to Dunham’s Hannah Havorath because he could do better, but not because (like Wilson’s actual wife) Hannah is a size 10, but because her personality is that of a twelve-year old Sandra Dee. Lena Dunham is so shamelessly confident in her ability to channel the pressing issues of women that she doesn’t stop to consider that maybe she is too self-involved, too blinded by her own narrow mind, to speak for other women.
Her snarky tone is adorable for all of five seconds, but by the time she delivers her infamous “I may be the voice of my generation” spiel to her parents, we all know that this is not Hannah talking, but Lena. It’s painfully obvious. This is what she wants, and her show is proof that this is what she intends to do: insinuate herself into the social consciousness as a voice for the size 10’s. However, the sad truth is that women need not — should not — look to her as a role model, because the brand of woman she is selling is self-absorbed and dismissive of anything that is not in line with her own conception of beauty, intelligence or sensibility. She is, in all honesty, as shallow as her own critics, who rip apart her chunky, tattooed torso and mosquito breasts. Yes, there is more to the average girl than flesh and blood (a message her show tries to communicate), but in the case of Lena Dunham, the little else of her there is will not last.