I wrote this entire post without even discussing the last episode of Girls! Having the post take an unexpected turn is something that I didn’t plan on, but will certainly leave. That said, I am sad to see this season end, and cannot wait for season five to begin! I also now want to name my first-born daughter Jessa-Hannah Bluebell Poem. (Kidding of course.) Is anyone else on the same page? :-)))
I am a lover and supporter of nearly all things Lena Dunham. Of all the things I admire, this is probably the most controversial. The comments that I read about her are horrendous, abusive, spiteful, and much more. I get it. She’s loud. She’s not ashamed of her body. She has money and power. She’s young. And she gets naked, a lot. However, I don’t know if it’s because people are intimidated by her, or if they just don’t understand this young and creative girl. I do. I completely relate to her and can understand where she’s coming from. No, I don’t claim to know anything personally about her that she doesn’t wish to disclaim to the world. But I’ve been watching her for years, have read about her back story, have listened to her autobiography, and have put her story together from a distant, third person’s perspective.
I am of the Millennials, or Generation Y. People say that we are too liberal, too non-committal, cannot hold a job, are entitled, selfish, and every other nasty human trait that you can possibly think of. Thanks, world. This is what I think of our Generation Y double standards and shaming of successful young women:
When I get called liberal, I view it as a compliment. I don’t take it so much in the political sense, but in a way that shows that I can accept people from most or all walks of life, and will fight for inequality when it’s needed. I also have the knowledge and courage to know when to back down from an altercation before it turns into a dire situation.
When I hear that our generation cannot hold a full-time job, I tell these people to take a look at the current job market and truly analyze how many full-time jobs are available to us 20- to 30-something-year-olds. I work for both the University and the City, the former of which I have been employed for six years, and the latter, four. The University has only ever offered me 25 hours per week, and with no benefits. The City’s public library system subsequently offers no full-time employment to any of it’s library staff members unless they are a librarian, are near retirement and are still in a position that has not been made into two part-time positions, or work out-of-scope in administration. That leaves several hundred (mostly female) employees with part-time jobs, and no means to support themselves or their families alone. In addition to these jobs, I also own my own business, write for several magazines, and do photography on the side. If just one of these jobs offered me full-time hours, or a career opportunity, then I would accept it in a heartbeat. However, this is not the case. Additionally, with student loans still present in many of our bank accounts, these are the hard truths of our generation. For that, we are chastised by our elders.
As for Lena Dunham. Most people view her as a typical product of her (and my) generation. That’s fine. I am not here to change opinions, but merely to say that I politely disagree and to explain why. While I would never have the courage to do half of the crazy things that she does (namely parade my body around in front of millions of people), I get that it is for her work and her art. Yes, art. She is an extremely creative individual, who is doing what she loves, working extremely hard at it, all the while getting paid. For that, she is someone that I truly idolize. She writes her own scripts, directs, and produces most of the episodes on Girls. This was also the case for her past films and shows. She went to university. She wrote her own novel. She guest stars on other shows that she finds inspiring. She lives a life with one man and her dog that she adores. She is a feminist. She rarely has blowout public feuds unless she is defending herself (namely her body). She admits her insecurities but doesn’t believe in body-shaming. She literally has done no physical harm to any human being in the public eye. She is funny and charming in interviews, stands up for women, and continues pursuing her dreams. Personally, there is nothing not to love about her.
As for her being naked, it’s mostly women that have an issue with it. Or men that don’t like the fact that she doesn’t have a supermodel body. How do I know this? I read the comments on multiple social media sites, as well as watch her interviews. Michael Fassbender, Ben Affleck, Jude Law, and Ewan McGregor have all had full-frontal nude scenes, and on the whole, they do not get much hatred for it. If anything, many people want more of it. If Hannah in Girls looked like Megan Fox, I think that it would be better received. To me, I find that deplorable.
Really, I could find worse role models. But I won’t. I’ll stick with Lena, who I find to be an inspiring voice of creative females in Generation Y.