GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 2, “We’re the Ladies”)

Race, abortion parties, Feminism, Gatorade, and the Rashomon of orgasm debates

apatow hbo girls GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 2, Were the Ladies)In which the voices of their generations (or two voices…of two generations) discuss The World’s Most Important Show, seeking common ground on the series’ hot-button issues. 

Race

Gen Y: So I know what you’re going to say, since it’s this week’s “big issue,” but I found a black person in the first episode.
Gen X: Really?
Gen Y: Yes. the homeless guy who tells Lena to smile! So I guess Lesley Arfin isn’t a pseudonym for John Derbyshire after all. I think the whole race issue is a non-starter. We’ve only seen two episodes…who says that there isn’t going to be a African-American person on it? Plus there was already an Asian (good at Photoshop) and an Indian doctor, so it’s already 100 times more diverse than Sex and the City or Friends.
Gen X: Not sure that doctor was Indian, but why quibble. I thought Ta-Nehisi Coates made a good point in the Atlantic, that the issue is less having token characters in various shows than it is a range of programming reflecting more experiences. I’ll buy that.
Gen Y: “Chike Johnson – Homeless guy.” (I’m just reading off his IMDB page now.)
Gen X: What else has be been in?
Gen Y: Friends with Benefits (taxi driver). Prison Break. Law & Order…both SVU and original. Yikes.
Gen X: But race is only one of a panoply of hot button issues. Episode 2 tackled pedophilia, abortion and AIDS. And rape! So let’s start with your Cabbage Patch lunch box…

Cabbage Patch Slash-Fic Sex

Gen Y: It’s true, it’s hard to keep track of what this show is being accused of, on this, it’s second week.
Gen X: So the show begins with Hannah and Adam in bed, and Adam exploring his fantasy of banging an 11-year-old junky with a Cabbage Patch lunch box.
Gen Y: yeah. It happens.
Gen X: Drew, this is groundbreaking television. I watched a lot of Cheers and I don’t recall Sam and Diane ever going quite that far.
Gen Y: I mean the best part for me, was when Adam’s like, “Where should I come?”  And Hannah says “I guess my tits? You seem to want to do it on my tits?” That rings very true. We honestly don’t care where guys come. Just like, not in our eyes, please.
Gen X: I suppose that reflects a certain reality that guys are now so highly conditioned by porn. Which I know nothing about.
Gen Y: Okay, but give us credit.  This generation of girls is really into like, Lost/Twilight fan-fic erotica, and I’d love to see THAT represented. Like: “Okay, I’m Bella, and you’ll be Sawyer.” Also, 11-years-old is really young for a junkie.
Gen X: Yes, I have to say the 11-year-old junkie fantasy was a new one for me.
Gen Y: Back in your day, they had to be at least 15.
Gen X: Or have a learners’ permit.

Female Empowerment…Sort Of?

Gen X: To me the theme of the episode was male sexual aggression…and the lack thereof. I think the way it’s handled is a sign that women are more secure now, which makes some sense because they are quickly taking over the world. So they can say, “You know we wouldn’t mind a little rough sex now and then. All that stuff about political correctness, can we just forget all that?”
Gen Y: Well but what’s the end result? There’s a difference between what you want in bed and what you want out of the bedroom. It’s like the rape fantasy, right? Women should be able to have rape fantasies, but trying to find a way to act that out in real life is a really tricky terrain.
Gen X: No kidding.
Gen Y: you have to do it with someone you really trust, which inherently takes away the fantasy of being raped by a stranger?
Gen X: Try it after being married for a while…
Gen Y: No thanks!
Gen X: There is a real rough-sex moment happening now, between the rise of James Dean and the obsession with fifty shades of gray and now Girls…and Mad Men, at least in the cleaning-up-after-the-party scene.
Gen Y: And Game of Thrones, which suggested that if you rape a chick enough
she’ll love you (and then smother you in your sleep while you are in a coma)…
Gen X: Women seem to be saying (correct me if I’m wrong), basically, we do want to be dominated sometimes, after all. And we are tired of apologizing for it. Later in the episode, Marnie tells Charlie: “You should be able to go about your business, piss me off, and not give a fuck. It’s what men do.” I don’t recall girls saying that back in the 90s.
Gen Y: Well i think that’s in reference to their whole life, though he does say, “Oh you want me to be some dude who doesn’t give a shit. Who is like ‘fucking suck it.’” So maybe you’re right, but I think it extends to even how, during the course of that conversation, Charlie’s feelings get hurt when Marnie says his balls are gross. Like his identity is wrapped up entirely in her feelings about him. Which is a gender-reversal, I guess?
Gen X:  I do think Girls is onto something with all of this—that women are still figuring out what they want out of sex. We see a lot of bluster but also a certain dissatisfaction.Women spent a few decades trying to teach men to be thoughtful and sensitive then were like, “Wait a minute! You’re boring.” When I was in college, we were trained to be like Alan Alda. There were Take Back the Night rallies all the time. We were a generation of Charlies, basically. And now with the ubiquity of porn, I wonder if it’s a generation of Adams?