Opinion: HBOs ‘Girls’ gives truthful voice to young women

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

There is nothing worse than not being clued in on something everyone is talking about. For me, that was the HBO series “Girls,” created, written by and starring 25-year-old Lena Dunham. She makes me feel utterly lazy. Both triumphant and malicious critiques, quirky memes and a general sense of excitement over this new show flooded the Internet, so I had to know what the buzz was about.

After the first episode, I was hooked. Contrary to some of the most brutal critiques out there painting Dunham and “Girls” as narcissistic, trivial and lacking in portraying any sense of racial diversity, I applaud Dunham for her braveness in putting her personal diary on display for the world to judge.

Dunham has stated from the beginning that her storylines are based off of her own unique experiences as she struggled to transition from having the support of her parents to becoming a free agent. Therefore, I don’t think it is quite fair to criticize her on her very subjective experiences that perhaps didn’t encounter as much racial diversity or personal trauma as the public would like. I don’t believe Dunham’s goal is to be exclusionary, but genuine in expressing situations she can confidently and accurately speak to.

Expecting Dunham to truthfully convey insight about situations of which she has no experience without offending anyone is a tall order. It would only feel concocted. Again, Dunham is telling her own life story, not creating a one-size-fits-all generational TV show. Like slipping on your favorite pair of jeans or trying to squeeze into your old prom dress, it won’t feel right to everyone.

However, I do believe she has taken advantage of her opportunity to speak to young women in a thoughtful way. Dunham has received criticism for her portrayal of women, specifically the way she portrays her character, Hannah. Body-conscious, struggling to find a job and continuously engaged in a confusing, frustrating and, on occasion, lovely relationship? Yep, sounds about right to me.

As for the other three characters, they struggle with variations of the same issues. One feels trapped in her relationship, another is overwhelmed as an inexperienced college girl living in such a sexualized city and the third feels extremely comfortable in her skin but can’t seem to find any sense of fulfillment.

Any one of these issues is going to strike a chord with every 20-something-year-old girl. Because “Girls” does not completely cater to the philosophy that women are constantly fighting their stereotypes and must never show an ounce of insecurity or weakness to get any respect, critics deem it a failure at giving women a strong voice. I would argue the exact opposite.

As much as I want to be altogether fierce, independent and confident, I’m simply not — at least not all of the time. I have insecurities, moments of self-pity and, at times, moments when a boy can turn me into a babbling mess. The next minute I can be self-assured, collected and unapologetically me. That’s the ambiguity of being a young woman.

“Girls” does an amazing job of representing this difficult balancing act in which females are always teetering on the fulcrum between an empowered resolve and a fragile heart. In this sense, Dunham has created a show that young women can look to, to feel confident in the fact that they don’t have to be confident all the time. That level of self-awareness is the epitome of a strong woman, and “Girls” gets it.