GIRLS: a retrospective and an evolving admiration

I was late to the GIRLS party. I started watching GIRLS about three seasons in. I was unimpressed, and even annoyed at first. Despite the great dialog, thrifty sets, and costuming, I thought it was just a lazy version of Sex In The City with exaggerated dysfunction to boot. It took me three episodes in the first season to see the formula Lena Dunham had laid out for herself. It annoyed me so much that I ignored the complex relationships she was building with those predictable characters, and I ditched. I was too irked thinking that yet another rich bitch in New York got to do something cool, and totally wasted the opportunity to be self-absorbed. It took me two years to try to watch it again. Little did I know the first three seasons was just the cover of the book.

This is the magic of GIRLS.

Lena Dunham writes shows to unfold like a book. It is beautiful. She values space. She develops characters like no one else I have ever witnessed in comedies. In fact, I have only seen this kind of character development in murder mysteries. I am thrilled to say I was wrong about Lena Dunham and her crew of brilliance. She is not lazy or unaware, despite her privilege and entitled background.

I  do feel that I have to give credit to the fact that Lena is not the main proprietor of how the story unfolds, since some of her follow-up synopsis’ after the shows don’t match up with the show itself sometimes. Which is fine, but she should probably watch the show before these explanations are aired. This does lead me to how I’m not totally sure who is more responsible for the final season of GIRLS between Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow, Jennifer Konner, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Lesley Arfin. I’m not sure it matters, but whomever it is, is responsible for something remarkable.

The third episode “American Bitch” seals the deal for me, so to speak. This episode speaks volumes to a subject that has been barely glanced at by mainstream media. Give these people an Emmy for that episode, please! Oh, and let an Emmy mean more than steam up some asses, please. The representation of men on this show is more valuable than any workshop, therapy session, or class on gender roles, because it is emotionally approachable for both men and women! Unheard of. Again, beautiful.

As for Season 6, Episode 6, I agree fully with this controversial opinion of The Wire. Screw The Wire. I said it, and I’m sticking to it.

So, here I sit, five years later in love with something I hated, and hating that I love it so, so much. And I can’t help but laugh at how relatable that is to the show theme. Lena Dunham, if hell ever freezes over, and you actually see this silly blog, I want to thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you. I am a believer now, and I just ordered my first pair of shitty ice skates off Amazon.

 

 

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It has been a no good, very bad life, and I am moving to Australia… Or Seeking Space

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Above the video contains Prime Minister of Australia fierce takedown of misogyny. This is  only one example of the many I can site of womyn in power beautifully speaking up about the ridiculous, double-standard men play at in regular public life all over the world. This is only the tip of the iceberg since young girls in some countries are still being sold, enslaved, battered, “married-off”(traded for goods), and mutilated, which must be mentioned. I will never suffer like this, and I am left feeling lucky that I was born here, but that lucky feeling does not make me feel lighter. I am reminded of the many experiences with sexism over the last ten years in my work and personal life.

Throughout my twenties I was told, both physically and verbally, I was worth less than men, and some men aren’t worth much. I was whipped with towels by managers, passive-aggressively threatened within compliments about my dress (which is relatively conservative), I was groped by owners, and belittled by clients and co-workers. I have even been fired for speaking out against these unfair actions in the spring of 2010. This was the first time I seriously googled for help. To my dismay there were no answers for me other than “keep your head down and carry on”.

There was no space or public presence for a conversation around this struggle. I am now in my thirties and I am left guarded, conservative, and estranged from my confident empowered youth. However, I can honestly, say it’s videos like this one of womyn like her that are the reason I have not erased my facebook page, burned my iphone in my backyard, and bought a burner for family and friends only.

Only recently I am witness to my male counterparts speak up for feminism in a way that is not just fully supportive, but also engaged! The enlightened concept of rape being a man’s problem is leading the way. This follow-up idea seems obvious, but needs mentioning- why is sexism in the work place still a womyn’s problem?

More womyn than ever are in the workforce, and therefore, are the bacon bringers of the United States household. According to a survey from 2011 40% of womyn are making more money than  men; Two thirds’s of this demographic are single mom’s.This does not mean womyn overall are making more than men, but Womyn are supporting the the weight of the economy, both as consumer and producers more and more.

This statistic got me thinking… If there are that many womyn in the workforce then are those womyn possibly experiencing the sexism and chauvinistic challenges I faced? So I google “how to deal with chauvinism in the workplace”. Surprisingly and joyfully, I clicked on each article of the some five hundred results given to me. As I scroll through each article I find myself slouching, solemnly, lower and lower in my seat. The results range from mildly entertaining to outrageously infuriating.

All advice columns I found mentioned appropriate dress. This logic follows the same as the traditional and hateful attitude of “womyn ask for it” when they are raped wearing a somewhat scandalous dress. Scandalous or not, rape has never been about sex appeal. Rape is about power. Just like sexism is about power and position.  Our dress should not effect how we are approached, or the amount of respect we receive. Clothes are not an invitation. Only a sober, verbal invitation is an invitation. Enough said.

One advice column even went as far as telling the reader to flirt.  I have to say this is dangerous. This is also engaging, encouraging, and reinforcing the sexist behavior. This is the very awful misconception of owning one’s sexuality or power. This is not real ownership. It is manipulation, which is not a healthy tool to gain respect or empowerment.

Here is the one advice column I found to be an actually helpful and healthy balance. Yet again, this opens up topics of understanding the man rather than helping him understand you. While realistic in the given power dynamic of our current market, this still does not satisfy my thirst for a sustainable solution. It is not a logical acknowledgement of the problem.

I can’t help but notice throughout my life that men and womyn of all ages, sizes, and positions have told me in so many ways that it is my job to be concerned with men, and not myself, or even that men should be concerned with me. Men, as far as I can tell, are not told to be concern with much other than “duty” which is another word for “ego” or self.  It is not womyn who start wars, rape, or kill for fun. Womyn are not afraid of being told we are less. I have been living with this idea my whole life, and only recently attempting to unlearn it.

I leave you with this to chew on… Everyone has issues, but when discussing men with issues,  womyn are concerned. Men are not concerned of these issues, because it effects womyn. They are concerned, because these issues give them power, and men are afraid of losing power, and the unknowable shift for their role in society. Womyn are afraid of being killed, broken, or worse for something that men receive without ever having to ask, or having to be afraid to ask- Space.

I want space.

Anyone with me?