Girls, you’re killing me.
Girls. This female-focused, boob-and humiliation-filled HBO show is taking the world by storm and there’s a lot to be happy about. It shows real young women in real situations, with no airbrushing or designer clothes to soften the impact of all the sex, confusion, and embarrassment that comes with being a twenty-something today. I like the fact that it’s more realistic, and that the characters aren’t perfect. But here’s the caveat: all this “we are Hannah, Hannah is us” shit has to stop.
Ok, we’re none of us perfect; we all have our pathetic, weird, and weak moments. But am I the only person who gets offended by the media portrayal of Hannah as a perfect mirror reflection of all twenty-something women? Remember, this is a character who simultaneously hates herself and believes herself to be “the voice of her generation.” She’s sloppy, confused, and a little manic. I think part of the reason we love her isn’t just because some of us sometimes relate to her, but because her messed-up life makes us feel better about our own.
Again, I think that a world where women’s only role models are often unrealistic pictures of someone else’s idea of sexual perfection is damaging to our society. But perhaps equally damaging is the idea that we are all emotional messes and that our inability to sort our shit out is mildly amusing at most. What’s wrong with having self-esteem? A healthy body and a healthy body image to go with it? A comfortable sex life that is within our control and is fully embraced and enjoyed? Why must we either be an airbrushed supermodel or a chunky weirdo? It’s like the modern day Madonna/whore dichotomy, and we’re all going with it—“Well, I can’t be the gorgeous, 100 pound supermodel, so I might as well just accept that I’m going to cry after sex and never know what I want to do with my life. Hey, it’s funny on T.V.!”
If we could all just find that happy place where we respect and understand who we are, with a healthy dose of ambition that pushes us to keep learning and improving—well, then we wouldn’t need Cosmo magazine or Girls. If we all looked to ourselves for inspiration rather than outside ourselves, we wouldn’t need Sex and the City and Victoria’s Secret models to tell us who we should be. One day, I’d like to live in a world where women who have their shit together are celebrated, rather than criticized or ignored.