I haven’t watched Girls in a few years. It’s not a Thing, it’s just another show I’m just not interested in watching, like Game of Thrones or This Is Us. I feel no need to hate-watch it. I understand that it’s very validating for a lot of people, and I honestly think as far as body positivity for (mostly white) women goes, it’s important. But between the general smugness and the treatment of characters of color on the show (and my fairly recent epiphany that every show that isn’t Chewing Gum is plain trash), it’s just not for me, despite everyone and their mothers insisting that this final season was “actually good.”
For the last week or so, the end of Girls has been marked by a barrage of articles and thinkpieces regarding Girls and its perfection, its flaws, and fucking “friendship breakups,” but it feels like people are missing the point here. Guys, Lena Dunham now has a ton of free time and will probably start another project that we will all be subjected to.
I’m not sure what exact shape it will take, but I’d be willing to bet it will have to do with her trademark brand of white women making mistakes and learning from them with a kind of transparency that may or may not conflate honesty with exhibitionism. While I support self-reflection and personal growth, both in real life and in storytelling, if you’re constantly apologizing for things like, oh, I don’t know, joking about wishing you had an abortion or maybe assuming a black athlete you sat next to was a chauvinist who only sees women as objects or animals, then maybe that growth needs to happen somewhere that isn’t in front of a microphone or on a giant platform. Learning from mistakes is an important part of life, not necessarily sustainable career fuel!
Even if Dunham did learn from the lack of diversity and the awkward treatment of minorities in Girls and ventured to create something more inclusive, I wouldn’t be exactly excited at the idea of her writing characters of color when there are so many other qualified people who could do the job. To be fair, Dunham’s feminist newsletter LennyLetter is a great platform for women writers, so perhaps there’s a great opportunity for her to continue to encourage and support marginalized voices—while she works on her second book.
This may be the end of Girls, but Lena Dunham is just getting started. Brace yourselves for this Brave New World.