her personal and her professional life. Finally, and perhaps most
interestingly, is the treatment of Shoshanna’s virginity. In “She
Did,” Shoshanna and Ray have sex, which is the first time for
Shoshanna. This event, along with the times in previous episodes
that reference Shoshanna’s virgin-status, is surrounded by a lot of
rhetoric regarding Shoshanna’s hymen. Much of that language
comes from Shoshanna herself, and Ray takes this issue of being
her first sexual partner very seriously. Shoshanna’s first experience
with sex is very tied to her female anatomy but marks her liberation
and transition from a childlike status in relation to the other
women to a full-fledged member of this sexually liberated cohort.
All in all, the show’s focus on the explicit femaleness of its
main characters operates similarly to its prioritizing of Hannah’s
narcissism: the corporeality of the empowerment represented in
Girls moves the context of arguments for realized gender equity
away from the societal, political, economic, or even intellectual
structures that a) construct gender and b) uphold the oppressive
and patriarchal systems that genuinely influence female-presenting
bodies. This fixation on the free woman’s body as a space of
empowerment leads us to an analysis of the free woman’s
experience with sex.
The Free Woman’s Desire
Sex is represented as consumerist similarly to Sex in the
City (Ross) but also consumptive and integral to achieving
personal pleasure, gratification, self-actualization, and autonomy.
Much like the “limitless desire” Ross discusses in her chapter on
Sex in the City, the sexual behaviors of the women on Girls are
presented as pathways to agency (217). Sex is either an exercise in
self-exploration, a utilization of another person for personal
gratification, or an exhibition of liberation. Hannah, Marnie, and
Shoshanna all, at times, explore themselves and discover and
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