My first impression of “Girls” that this show really was the “Sex and the City” for my generation - early twenty somethings living in the city and navigating dissatisfaction in life, work, and sex. The awkward sex scene that has the internet buzzing is much more realistic than Samantha’s sexcapades. But is it really?
The protagonist is clearly chasing a man who has no interest in her, while her “bestie” feels stuck in a relationship which does not satisfy her, emotionally, intellectually, or sexually. But it’s funny, right? Because it points out in exaggerated form our own insecurities. While this may be true, Katie Heaney (http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/on-girls-and-being-funny-while-female) poignantly points out this is the latest installment of “Lady Humiliation Comedy” which feature women who can only be funny by humiliating themselves in embarrassing and and all too often degrading life situations.
Part of me can relate. Sometimes I feel like a hot mess - struggling to pull off everything flawlessly but in reality looking more like a meme from the #whatshouldwecallme tumblr. Balancing law school (or your first real job), being young in a new city (aka partying), and friends and family is something many young women are experiencing right now. And sometimes we have some funny stories (I face planted off the bus after my first St. Pat’s in Chicago). But what about the other great things I do? Like excelling in law school, or landing an internship in an incredibly tight market. I’m also proud to have made great girlfriends who are fun, beautiful, intelligent, and extremely put together.
No girl I know is like Jess from the “New Girl.” While the show has its funny parts, I just can’t relate to the main character. No girl acts like that! The girls I know, certainly, have aspects of their personality that fit the “quirky girl” stereotype. But “quirky girl” is a stereotype just like “dumb blond” - it is two-dimensional and boring.
I would like to see more characters like Raegan from Up All Night, who goes back to work (as the producer of a daytime TV show) and balances the pressures of work, family, friends, and relationships. Her struggles are funny because they are humane and relatable. And at the end of the day she manages to pull it all off. Even the characters from “Sex and the City” were more “liberated” in that they accepted themselves, flaws and all, and found counterparts who also accepted them. Maybe their lifestyle is not realistic, and their flaws were certainly exaggerated; but the message of the show was whether you are a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda, or like most modern women a mix of all four, you could accept yourself, each of those parts, and find someone that accepted them too. You get to make your own rules.
The point is - I’m tired of shows like “Girls” and “New Girls” for portraying female characters in such a limited way. These shows are not new or revolutionary at all, in fact the show is a reversal of the portrayal of women in mainstream media in the last ten to twenty years and a permutation of a new demeaning stereotype for women; “quirky girl” comedy.