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The Girls Season Finale: Second-Guessing Steinem Feminists

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Adam and Hannah fulfilled that second wave vision and found out it wasn't enough. Shared interests don't travel physical space, whether that distance is defined as a few blocks or a few thousand miles away. Especially not when they are trumped by individual goals; it was inevitable that Adam's temporary move would lead to Hannah's intense retaliation. No one crosses the Selfie Queen.

Hannah's idea that she and Adam could find a way to work out a long distance relationship is as naive as Shoshanna's belief that Ray will take her back and they could just "pretend they were never apart." For Adam and Hannah, the temporal part of the feminist relationship has kicked in. He needed her to kick some nasty sexual habits. She needed him to kick her OCD. Just like Ray and Shosh, each motivated the other right out of their lives.

It's a lousy way to depict a sexual relationship, but it's an honest one. Feminists didn't design a mode for male/female relationships that would last, because feminists didn't see the point. If the essence of sexual relations is physical gratification, why worry about the rest? So much for your Downton Abbey-esque love stories, girls; for the Selfie Generation, there are no pining Annas, no steadfast Bates's. Dying for love is relegated to the women and men of Generation X. Hannah's caress of her own womb in the show's opening juxtaposed neatly with her end-of-episode excitement at being accepted to graduate school, leaving one to wonder if Dunham was making a statement about delaying children, or simply deferring the hard work of relationships to pursue a less messy, less emotional, and seemingly less destructive singular method of self-gratification called "career".

Which brings to mind the third plot twist at the end of the season finale. Not to be relegated to feminist stereotype, Dunham scripts Jessa into assisting photographer B.D.'s suicide. The now-disabled single career woman begs a sober Jessa to score on her behalf, only to end the episode begging "Call 9-1-1! I don't want to die!" The reality of end of life loneliness cast an eerie shadow over the worldwide celebration of still-single Gloria Steinem's entry into 80. While I doubt she planned it, the complex interrelationship of these plotlines suggests that perhaps Dunham isn't a cookie-cutter feminist after all.