I’ve been holding off on writing about Girls, because more than enough words have already been written about it and Lena Dunham doesn’t exactly need my endorsement (although I think she is wonderful and brilliant, and her Grey Gardens inspired ‘Staunch’ tattoo is my current favourite thing in the entire world ever).
However, I am basically obsessed with it, and it’s in and around my eyes and head a lot at the moment – so I kind of might as well.
I should say, first of all, that I love it. Really and truly love it. It talks to me in a way that I recognise as honest and real and relevant – maybe for the first time since I was 12 and My So-Called Life was on. It’s clever, but not clever-clever. It’s funny, but kind of rarely LOL. There is something very comforting to me about it.
I do not believe that you can catch anorexia from the TV, or from fashion magazines. I really don’t. However, I have found – kind of to my surprise – that it’s been a genuine revelation to see girls on screen who look like me. To see myself reflected back in a way that – weirdly, I’ve only realised now that it actually exists – has pretty much never existed before. I can’t tell you what a relief it is. I really wish that this programme had been on 10 years ago – I think it would actually have made me feel a lot better about myself.
And – yes – I am a privileged white girl who has experienced a lot of the same spoiled, first world ‘problems’ as Hannah and her friends. I can admit that doesn’t make it a perfect show to everyone else, as many people have noted – and I think that Lena Dunham’s reaction to the Girls ‘race argument’ (i.e. when it has been pointed out that a story set in modern-day, multicultural New York is sadly lacking in people of colour) has been intelligent and dignified, and I think she will use the feedback wisely to make it an even better show in future series. I think her aim with her storytelling is the one that she has achieved with me – to be inclusive and to make people feel a bit better about themselves in small ways, while entertaining them at the same time. If she can do that with more people than she is currently reaching, then so much the better for all of us.
Lena Dunham tweeted recently that nobody is a Jessa, although we all hope we are – ‘that is the sick power of the Jessa’. I would just like to say that I am totally a Jessa. Totally.