Back To Girls HBO
In 2017, the last season of the TV show Girls was released. After 6 seasons, 62 episodes, a lot of laughs, we had to say goodbye to the four girls who taught us that :
1. You shouldn’t feel bad about liking to stay in bed (even if it’s a lot, productivity is not a thing)
2. Your boyfriend can go from “not so cute” to “very hot ” in like one season, so don’t break up with him too fast (yes, I am talking about Charlie aka Christopher Abott).
3. Don’t cheat on your current boyfriend with your ex-husband, he might be a drug addict now..
It may seem funny but the above lessons can turn out quite useful in needed time and are therefore worth taking notes of.
Despite the controversy about the fact that most of the actresses are white heterosexual women (which can be a problem for certain women to identify to the characters), we chose to focus on other subjects brought up all along the show.
A little taste of REALITY
Hannah has a few pounds that she struggles to get rid of (actually she is not really trying, she just complains a lot about it), Marnie’s confidence and well being depends on men validation, Jenna has huge abandonment issues. And Shoshanna, well.. she would need a whole article just for herself. There is something both amazing and tiring about her.
If we look closely, the four girls were the low-cost equivalent of the Sex & the City squad and God, it felt good to see that. We finally got to watch a show with characters looking and acting like people who might actually exist in real life. That aspect is one of the reason of the success of the show, as it completely broke with the codes of the” basic US” TV shows. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan (still am) of all the The OC, 90210 and Gossip Girls kind of TV shows. Who doesn’t love a good teen drama? Sure they take your mind off things but they just don’t feel real, and it is therefore hard to relate to any of the characters. Here are a few exemples why :
First, have you noticed how no one ever eats ? Picture it : a beautiful brunch table with fresh pressed orange juice, hot coffee, pancakes cooked so perfectly that you can almost smell them through the screen… And no one touches them ! Not a single bite ! Nothing. That’s just not real life accurate. Plus, have you counted the number of outfits worn in just one episode? Sometimes, in just a one day period of time, one character changes clothes more times that you do in a whole week ! Feeling cheap yet?
So, coming from that, to a scene in Girls where one of the character is on the toilet making faces because her urinary infection is back, a line has definitely been crossed.
When Blair Warldorf’s daily dilemma is to know which CHANEL bag she is going to wear today (she can’t wear twice the same, it’s trickier than you think !), Hannah wonders if her current sex-friend might someday like her for real. On her side, Shoshanna needs to pass her college exams and Marnie is organizing Jenna’s abortion while hoping Hannah is going to be able to pay rent this month as she doesn’t have a job and her parents won’t give her any more money. Plus, the show really gave us a taste of how cruel the world can be. No, a job is not necessarily waiting for you when you finish college, and yes, you might have to accept odd jobs in order not to live on the street. You might also have no clue of what to do with your life and that’s fine. Oh and yes, girls usually don’t wake up in the morning feeling glamorous with a face full of make up. Ground breaking.
Well, that’s the real world. And it’s to be taken straight up with no sugar.
“A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance,”(Lena Dunham, Girls, Season 2)
Girls is also the story of how friendship between girls can be complicated and full of paradoxes sometimes. It is a mix of love and resentment, sisterhood and affective dependance. What is interesting is how the relationship between girls evolves with time. What could be a source of sadness or stress sometimes when we were younger becomes way healthier with time.
Girl friends usually are the first persons to whom we compare ourselves, which gives girl friendship a negative tone from the beginning : “Who will be the first to have a boyfriend? Why is she so thin ? Are boys more interested in her than in me?”. This is well represented in the show : Hannah describes herself as chubby and calls herself a “fat baby angel” compared to Marnie who she calls a “Victoria secret angel”. Does it make sense that one person can be a source of love and trigger negative emotions at the same time ? While growing up, we detach ourselves from the comparison and start fully and truly supporting each other.
The limit of intimacy in a female friendship can be rather blurred and expectations from one to another can be high. It is a mix of so many different feelings that it can sometimes drive us a bit crazy. For instance, Hannah and Marnie sleep in the same bed, take their shower together and talk about everything. However, they judge each other a lot and can sometimes be so self-absorbed that they don’t even see how their behavior is hurting the other.
Regarding expectations, they express the mess that a female friendship can be. In season 2, after Hannah told Marnie that she knows that she had sex with her ex-now gay- boyfriend (try to keep up), she exposes to Marnie how crazy her expectations of friendship are : “I don’t want to go to Serendipity and drink frozen hot chocolate with your Uncle’s girlfriend, named Elody […] That’s not what makes someone a good or a bad friend”. Girls can sometimes expect a lot from one another when they are really close and that can explain why obsessive/affective dependent friendships are more commun between girls than between boys. A lot of girls have experienced it : a possessive/ do everything with her / need her approval for everything kind of friendship. These are great, passionate relationships because they make you feel so powerful and invincible when you are together ; which is really helpful especially when you are teenager or in your early 20’s and you feel lost trying to find yourself. But they usually are too intense and overwhelming sometimes and we intend to build ourselves as a two persons entity instead of developing our own personality. At one point, the relationship either ends brutally because one of the two gets tired of it, or the two manage to make the relationship more casual and therefore, more healthy. This is what happened at the end of the first season of Girls : Marnie decides to move out and no longer be Hannah’s flatmate. The two girls definitely needed to take some space and build themselves separately. They were too much involved in each other’s lives and too busy comparing themselves and judging one another to remember why they loved each other.
Let’s try a little kindness
Especially with social media nowadays, we intend to judge and compare ourselves to other girls all the time. It seems that this is an old middle school habit that we drag with us. It’s one of our “girl baggage”, and we need to get rid of it. Let’s be kind to ourselves and to each other and happy about other women success. Instead of of thinking “ Why is she so successful/ Beautiful/ whatever”, let’s try “ She did well, that inspires me to do the same”.
by Jessica Ayinda