relationship she once had, further underscoring women’s inability
to “have-it-all” without a man.
Sex is not the only desire presented as simultaneously
empowering and destructive. The show’s relationship with food
particularly Hannah’s constant eating and its contexts illustrates
a similar, underlying assumption that women’s natural tendency is
toward over- and unbridled consumption (Dejmanee). In fact, the
show’s pilot episode opens on a shot of Hannah with her mouth
overflowing with pasta. Dejmanee argues that this is indicative of
Hannah’s determination to take any advantage given to her (127).
This is a consistent behavior for Hannah. In “Free Snacks,”
Hannah begins a new job in advertising at GQ Magazine. She
arrives at her first meeting with snacks spilling out of her arms as
she discovers that the break room is stocked with complimentary
snacks. While the show should be commended for showing
women eating in a way that does not glorify diet culture, Hannah’s
apparent inability to contain her appetite and consumption of food
leans on a longstanding trope that women lack self-control in
general, and have incorrigible metaphorical appetites in terms of
trying to fill a never-ending lack (Dejmanee). This lack of self-
control manifests itself in Jessa’s drug habit as well as Marnie’s
consistent sexual infidelities. All in all, the characters in Girls face
more problems than praise for their desire, and the show falls prey
to the oldest of female stereotypes: if the fruit is there for the
picking, women just cannot help themselves.
Implications
Lena Dunham is quite frequently associated with, and
actively links herself with, feminism. She is the co-creator of Lenny
Letter, an e-newsletter that, among “style, health, politics, and
everything else” names feminism as its foremost topic. Were it not
for this fact, perhaps critics of Girls would take the problematic
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