It finally had to be done. I had to catch up with the rest of the world and watch Lena Dunham’s Girls. After fortifying myself with three days or prayer and fasting, I dove in. I purchased season one, and watched the season two marathon on HBO.
Girls has been overanalyzed, so I won’t offer a broad interpretation. I can only point out what I think is Girls most glaring flaw: Lena Dunham did not include any control.
As in a control in a scientific experiment that serves as a “normal” component that you are not conducting the experiment on. Girls is the story of four twenty-something women in Brooklyn and the pathetic “men” that they date. There is Adam, the attention-deficit artist who always seems to be banging on something and has degrading sexual fantasies. There’s Ray, the schlub who manages a coffee shop and is almost too insecure to function. There’s Charlie, the soft-spoken musician who is so passive he can barely open doors. There’s Thomas-John, who has a job making real money but is written so one-dimensionally we really don’t know that much about him. And then there’s Booth Jordan (seriously?), an artist who locks one of the girls inside one of his works of art. He’s short and vulgar. (Doesn’t a single one of these guys–New Yorkers!–like or play sports?)
Girls creator Lena Dunham is very talented, and she’s only twenty-six, but it has to be said: like so many liberal Hollywood and New York artists, she has a powerful streak of cowardice. Girls would have been a much more compelling and less narcissistic show if Dunham had the guts to introduce a control into her Brooklyn petri dish.
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In the spring of 2008, when I was a junior in college, I was sitting in the student center, waiting to meet up with a friend—let’s call her Nicole—for coffee. Nicole was a freshman girl who had graduated from an elite northeastern high school at the top of her class. She came to school hoping to study economics. In the nine months that had passed since she first stepped foot on campus, she had become a different person. She talked less. She stopped exercising. And she started walking around with her eyes to the ground. The lively girl I had known in the fall, who reminded me of so many freshman girls I had met as editor of a campus publication and vice president of my sorority, had recently been placed on suicide watch by the university health clinic.
What had happened?
Not long after she arrived on campus in September, Nicole had started hooking up with a guy who belonged to one of the more popular fraternities on campus. As she explained to me over coffee that day, one night in the fall, she got drunk and ended up having sex with this guy in his dingy frat room, which was littered with empty cans of Keystone Light and pizza boxes. She woke up the next morning to find a used condom tangled up in the sheets. She couldn’t remember exactly what had happened that night, but she put the pieces together. She smiled, looked at the frat brother, and lay back down. Eventually, she put her clothes on and walked back to her dorm. Mission accomplished: She was no longer a virgin.
This was a routine she repeated for months. Every weekend night, and on some weekday nights, she would drink so heavily that she could remember only patches of what happened the night before and then would have sex with the same fraternity brother. One night, she was talking with someone else at the frat when the brother interrupted her and led her upstairs to have sex. On another occasion, they had sex at the frat, but Nicole was too drunk to find her clothes afterward, so she started walking around the house naked, to the amusement of all of the other brothers. She was too drunk to care. Eventually, everything went dark. Next weekend, she returned to the frat.
On that spring day, as Nicole told me these stories, she didn’t make eye contact with me.
When I asked Nicole if she was still hooking up with the same frat boy, she shook her head. She explained that the entire time she was having sex with him he never once spoke to her or acknowledged her outside of his fraternity’s basement. Not in the library, not in the dining hall, not at the bookstore.
“One time, I waved at him in front of the food court and said hi, but he just ignored me.”
“Was he with anyone?” I asked—as though that would make a difference.
“A bunch of his friends.”
I later told Nicole’s story to a close guy friend. “What a jerk, right?” My friend, also a frat brother, objected: “After the first time, it starts becoming the girl’s fault, too.” Nicole and the frat brother were just hooking up, after all—what didn’t I get?
Continue Reading at The Atlantic for Emily’s moderate, middle-ground solution…
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Lady Gaga: ‘I Quite Like the Transference of Strength I Feel By Submitting To a Man – Being Under Him.’
For years, they’ve been dancing around it. Hiding their feelings. Calling it impractical. In 2012, Superman and Wonder Woman have stopped pretending, and are now the most super superhero couple in the DC universe. Starting in next week’s issue of Justice League, Superman and Wonder Woman will hook up and start dating.
The cover of the issue, Justice League #12, was revealed earlier this week in Entertainment Weekly, showing the couple’s ability to get high around each other. Do you think they’d notice if they flew into a bird, or a plane maybe?
Some of you may be asking; “but where’s Lois Lane?” If you aren’t a modern DC fan, then let’s fill you in: DC recently rebooted their entire comic universe. Dubbed “The New 52,” every modern franchise has been restarted, starting with issue #1. In Superman’s new reality, Clark Kent and Lois Lane aren’t married. She has a new boyfriend now… His name is Jonathan.
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The second wholesome value is, we are told with a straight face, that Cosmo actually has a traditional attitude toward sex:
Cosmo happens to be fairly traditional about sex itself. Brown believed that it was O.K. to sleep with married men (it was their wives’ responsibility to keep them faithful, she argued), but White eliminated that from the formula. (“A total no-no,” she said.) The magazine also assumes that you’re having sex with a boyfriend or a husband (there’s not much in the way of same-sex relationships), and not with a one-night stand. “We certainly talk about sex mostly in terms of relationships,” White said, “and most of our readers have told us they’re in relationships, and they want the sexual information for their relationship.” White also sees the hookup culture boomeranging back to more traditional standards. “One thing I do think that women will evaluate in the coming years,” she said, “is casual sex. Is it really what you want to be doing, casual sex, a lot of casual sex? Is it what you feel good about?” But if it’s your thing, that’s fine too. “We don’t pass judgment,” she said.
Are these seriously what pass for wholesome values these days?
While I applaud White’s (rather tepid) skepticism of the hook up culture, there is a contradiction here. Her magazine does not sell relationships. It sells sex (as you can see by looking at some recent covers). Just like in the hook up culture, in the pages of Cosmo, the primary way that members of the opposite sex relate to each other is not emotional, intellectual, or spiritual–but sexual, pure and simple. If this is having it all, then count me out.
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Why do we put more emphasis on Facebook than we do on our actual relationships?
It has come to my attention that my generation believes if a relationship is not “Facebook official,” then the relationship is not real. This means that if the “in a relationship” box is not checked off on a profile, then the relationship is nonexistent.
When did Facebook take over our lives? Why is it that if something happens to us — whether it’s something funny, sad or mean — we go to Facebook first to let our “friends” know? Why has Facebook taken over our lives, and most importantly, our relationships?
Remember when we had to pick up the phone to discuss something with someone, or discussed the issue in person? While it is great that social networking has advanced, our conversations have become so impersonal that we do not know if a friend’s Facebook status should be taken seriously.