Okay I am just going to get right into this and admit
I LOVE GIRLS!
The television show not girls in general, but I digress from the first moment I laid eyes on episode 1 of this show I knew I adored it, and was genuinely excited about this series… then the whole race issue came up. I was so excited that there was someone so much like me on-screen that not seeing any people of color was a minor blip on my radar. It wasn’t until I looked again and started reading articles that I began getting more annoyed by this. I felt like I connected with Lena on some level because we shared similar experiences and when I realized that she didn’t even think of the fact that someone who looked like me could be so similar was kind of hurtful. It was like being reminded yet again that we will always be thought of as the other. So being the good black person I am I too joined in on the protesting of Girls even going as far as hoping it would do poorly.
I held out for a while, like five weeks, then I read this article (
which I cannot find, sorry y’all found it!) by Awkward Black Girl writer/producer/actress Tracy Oliver and found myself shaking my head to a number of her points. I particularly agree with the point that the problem with lack of diversity has less to do with Lena and Girls and more to do with the Hollywood system and it was at that moment it hit me… I have no reason to be pissed at Lena. Am I still a little disappointed she forgot the minorities? Yes, but I also realize that when you write something from your perspective it can at times be limiting. Even as a black girl I realize that my perspective could exclude a lot of my fellow minorities thanks to education, location, and class differences. Does that mean I don’t acknowledge them or know they exist? No, it just means that in my limited perspective I cannot write something honest about someone else’s experience.
But we also have to acknowledge that despite the fact that characters have some minor aesthetic differences from us (race, sex, age, etc.) we can still have shared experiences. In my mid-twenties I completely connected with the book It’s Kind of a Funny Story despite being neither a teenager nor a boy. And in that same way I can connect with Hannah’s experience, the girls on the show don’t have to be black for me to understand exactly where they are coming from. As a matter of fact on paper I most likely have more in common with Hannah than with any black character on television or in movies. Do I wish representations of black girls like this…
were on television? Yes, but I also realize that Lena’s Girls is a step in the right direction. For once we don’t have to watch a show about some skinny blond chick in a $600 Marc Jacobs dress (love ya Marc!) complaining about being broke and how she can’t get a date. Girls is about as real as television is going to let us get for now and I’ll take it because I realize change can’t be over night.