One episode sees Hannah discover that she has the sexually transmitted HPV virus, something she has picked up from one of her few lovers. After accusing them all, she finally accepts the blame, and in a gorgeously modern moment where she sits on her bed wondering what her Twitter update of the day will be, she simply writes: “All adventurous women do”. I think at this point I may have punched the air.
Of course she isn’t suggesting that all adventurous girls get STDs, or even brushing off her situation as trivial, she is simply saying that if you take risks in life, you may suffer some consequences, and that’s just that. It didn’t make me fear consequences, it made me want to go out and face some. This was the moment that I realised Girls is about real empowerment, and taking responsibility for who we are. It’s your attitude towards yourself that will get you by, not going shopping with your friends.
Watching Samantha rip her clothes off in SATC, I used to think, “Yay, nudity. Look at that, she is owning it.” But then Dunham stripped off and I realised that I had never seen such brazen confidence from a woman like that on TV before.
Samantha and co’s beauty and body perfection wasn’t inspiring me to get naked, it was inspiring me to go to the gym. Hannah had no obvious hangups about her body shape, and made no apologies for it. Seeing Dunham naked on TV was more comfortable than watching Samantha spread herself across a bedroom wall ever was, and Lena’s “everygirl” shape allows you to sit back and enjoy without worrying about the dimples on your thighs. If nudity in Sex and the City felt like progress, then in Girls we have achieved the goal. Those tiny, unapologetic moments give Girls a voice that speaks louder than any portrayal of women on TV before.
Lena Dunham has not only been brave enough to expose herself physically, but emotionally too. Girls is written from the heart, honestly, from experience. Watching these four work out who they are is as inspiring as it is reassuring. They find their way out of their problems and work stuff out for themselves, like all adventurous women do.
Disclaimer: you may notice that my husband Chris O’Dowd plays a small part towards the end of the series. I assure you this has no influence on how much I love Girls. I closed my eyes for that bit.
Girls is on tonight at 10:00pm on Sky Atlantic