Girl Talk

The ‘Girls' Backlash Addresses Nothing New to Hollywood, But It Sure Was Quick to Hate on Women

I’m not sure what crawled under everyone’s skin so hard after HBO’s ‘Girls’ premiered on Sunday, but I am not pleased. I am not pleased at all, Internet. Do you hear me? That’s the sound of my head swishing to and fro in saddened disappointment. The basic complaints are about how the cast of the show is nepotism central and that racial diversity is thin on the ground. While both points are valid, they also hold true for everything that comes out of Hollywood, but I guess such a female driven show gets special treatment.

If it weren’t for nepotism (and let’s expand that a smidge to include folks who may not be directly related to, but are friends with, someone), nothing would ever get made in Hollywood. I’m not condoning the system as it does favor privilege, but I also know that I wouldn’t recommend anyone for a job worth the amount of time, work, and money TV and films entail who I didn’t trust to not make me look like an idiot by proxy, and the people I trust tend to be ones I know.

I guess we’re at a point where having a cast of women who have all individually proven their talents in previous roles can be reduced to who their parents are, and while I don’t intend to make a sweeping generalization, I would like to mention that the majority of the people who shared the photoshopped “nepotism” poster on my personal Facebook feed were men. I am also curious as to where this outrage was over the past ten years when Judd Apatow (the producer of ‘Girls’) cast the same handful of white dudes in every TV show and film he made, but I guess it’s only an issue when women do it? Surely Hollywood has no double standards! Ultimately, anyone who is financing a TV show has too much at stake to hire talent they are not reasonably confident in – they wouldn’t risk ratings and the investments thereof just to do their buddy a favor. Both Apatow’s casts and that of ‘Girls’ are filled with great actors, regardless of who knows who.

As for the issue of the show being mono-racial, representation is a serious issue on screens both big and small. It is absolutely valid and necessary to criticize the lack of diversity on TV, it’s just interesting to me that while women of color have been criticizing this for ages, white female and male bloggers have decided to join the fray all of the sudden (surprise, it was over a female dominated show!). Most shows barely have any diversity, and if they do it’s often manifested in a token secondary character or a fleeting one. I don’t think it was intentional, but the lack of diversity in the main cast also speaks to the overlap in racism and classism that exists in the social strata being represented – I don’t mean to say that there is no diversity in higher tax brackets, but it is definitely harder to find the further up you go, and that’s not only a serious issue in general, but there is a sad truth alluded to in the casting of ‘Girls.’ They had an opportunity to challenge that norm, but then, so did every other show that has failed to do so and didn’t get an endless tirade of appropriate backlash.

One review of ‘Girls’ was disappointed because there wasn’t a black woman in the main cast, which is a great point, but  just one tip of a massive iceberg. Sure, Hollywood only cares about African American stories when they represent black struggle (frustratingly often solved by oh-so-kind white folk), and I guess Latinas don’t really need to be cast in anything. Asians – what? LGBTQ women can’t be classified by race so that’s just too hard, and Native Americans already got their fifteen minutes this year when America’s Next Top Model featured one of their own just long enough to shove her into a Pocahontas costume before sending her home. But ‘Girls’ is clearly at the heart of the problem and deserves to be tarred and feathered for imposing whiteness on the otherwise overwhelming diversity of the small screen.

As for the pilot episode itself, we’re introduced to Lena Dunham’s character as she is stuffing her face fervently in a parentally financed meal at an expensive restaurant. She comes off as greedy and entitled, not without reason – she is writing her memoirs at the age of 24 and throws down quite the privileged tantrum when her parents decide to cut her off financially. Anyone who assumes that we are supposed to like or respect this character needs to spend some time with their thoughts and maybe note that this was the pilot and there is a whole season of character arch to go, with growth possibly foreshadowed by the painful vulnerability we glimpse in her later in the episode.

Dunham’s character has also spent the last two years working as an unpaid intern, something many offices have taken advantage of via the anxieties spurred by the recession and parents’ ability to support their children post-college. It may be a product of privilege, but is nonetheless exploitation. What I found interesting was the parallel of the entitled 24-year-old who takes her parents support for granted, and her employer who takes her work for granted – both have entitled expectations that take advantage of someone they rely on.

None of the characters are really likeable so far, and yet the show is wonderful to watch, an achievement unto itself. The conversation between Dunham and her skeevy non-boyfriend is viscerally relatable, as are several other great moments, and I can’t help seriously raising an eyebrow at how such a well-made show has gotten such a strong backlash. Maybe because the middle class, parentally-supported, self-involved characters hit a little too close to home for the show’s target audience?

As for scoffing at such outlandish moments as eating a cupcake in the shower, I can’t even muster the energy to roll my eyes. First off, she was eating away from the water stream, no cupcakes were harmed. Second, am I the only one who’s eaten in the shower? Because everyone is missing out. I didn’t even notice the cupcake, I was too busy being excited seeing girls on TV hanging out in the bathroom. I regularly hang out while my best friend showers and vice versa, and if someone happens to be on the toilet, whatever. We have stuff to talk about, we can’t waste precious time worrying about nudity and bodily functions! The other nerve pincher seemed to be Dunham’s character calling herself “the voice of a generation,” which, come on, it was intentionally ridiculous and the character was high on opium when she said it.

The show ends with the appearance of the first person of color, a homeless looking black man. There is indeed something unsettling about that fact. And yet, all I could think of was how much I know that experience. I lived in New York for half a decade, and every time I walked down the street miserably contemplating my life, a black gentleman with whom I was unacquainted would tell me to smile, like that would fix the fact that I had a massive ear infection but no health insurance and wasn’t sure how I’d be able to afford to eat whatsoever after the 24th of the month unless I made a burrito last for at least 4 meals. That moment wasn’t about degrading black people (though I see how it unintentionally sent the wrong message), it was about a specific part of the experience of a young white woman in New York. The issue is not that the only person of color was homeless, but that there were no diverse characters preceding his.

The amount of backlash ‘Girls’ has garnered from men and white women, most of whom have yet to notice that their criticisms not only extend to the rest of the media, but have a history of being voiced by women of color, is frankly stunning. Is anyone serious in implying that Lena Dunham’s privilege, as well as her cast’s, is the only reason this show exists? The fact that she got a blind script deal from HBO based on the award winning film ‘Tiny Furniture’ that she wrote, directed and starred in herself at the age of 24, or that she wrote it while working in retail and writing on a rigid schedule from 8pm-2am is clearly not worth mentioning because her mother is a well known photographer. Now that the show she also wrote and directed has proven to have the same shortcomings that the rest of television does has also oddly overshadowed the reaction to her showing off her non-standard-for-Hollywood body, which has gotten little support from women and much hate-commenting from men, a bold move with an appalling reaction that deserves more mention.

How does it makes sense to hold people in a socially disadvantaged position, in this case, women, to a higher standard than the rest of an industry dominated by men? As far as I can see, the backlash over ‘Girls’ is putting the weight of the racism and classism of TV on the shoulders of women, who are already marginalized in the entertainment industry. The fact that a 25 year old woman could write, direct and star in this show with a mostly female cast is a hard enough achievment on its own, yet overlooked in favor of quick and harsh criticism on such a female dominated project, more so than male dominated ones. Personally, I would like to watch the rest of the season before evaluating it fully.

A follow-up to this post can be found HERE

  • Ramou Sarr

    Okay. There are a lot of things to get through here. First, I can’t really get behind the oppression Olympics that always seems to happen in conversations such as these. Who has it worse? Women or minorities? I just think that it’s tired and rarely solves anything. However, I do think that there is relevance to the fact that lack of diversity is less likely to get called out in male dominated casts and that is something worth talking about and of course has its roots in gender bias. I do think that race rage has been at an all-time high lately. It has not been a good year to be a Person of Color. From the racism re: Hunger Games and Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’s Issa Rae being referred to as a “Niggerette” via twitter after her web series won a Shorty Award, to Trayvon Martin. I honestly think that Lena Dunham and Girls has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. And perhaps there has been some misdirected anger thrown her way. BUT, and this is a huge BUT, Dunham and Co.’s response to the critisicm has been extremely underwhelming and upsetting. Lesley Arfin’s racist tweet that referenced Precious and marginalized the significance of the representation of Black women in the media needed to be dealt with and just furthered the anger surrounding the whole issue. You get accused of being maybe a little bit racist, get offended by it, and then you say something racist. The lack of self-awareness exhausts the hell out of me. There is a smart and thoughtful way to respond to the criticism. The Girls crew just hasn’t done it. As Jay Smooth so rightly put it, as he always does, Lena Dunham needs to come get her people.

    • Julia Gazdag

      Yeah, I agree, Lesley Arfin’s tweet was a completely inappropriate one, though at least she eventually figured out why and apologized (but took her apology tweet down the same way she took the original one down). Lena Dunham’s response was at least more positive and aware that this is an issue that needs to be tackled, and I give more weight to her reactions because it’s her show and she has had way more of a hand in it than Lesley Arfin. I don’t mean this to be a competition for who is more marginalized, rather, I want to point out that these are issues that have been on the table for a long time and addressed by women of color, but it’s taken the quickness of judgment towards women to get a wider audience to pay attention to it. I also agree that there are a ton of more complex issues to talk about with this, but the entire internet has attacked the show as if it was solely responsible for racism on TV and I felt someone should stand up in defense of it, as well of as in offense to the general homogeneity of media. I think maybe Girls caught so much flack because people had expectations of it in a way that other shows currently on the air didn’t.

    • Caytlin Garzi

      I absolutely agree. And let me say that I really enjoyed Girls, and I do think the show was attacked in a way that a mostly male show would not have been attacked.

      That being said, I think that many female fans felt disappointed by the lack of diversity simply because many feminists (who I would imagine would want to like the show) are also aware and working towards anti-racism efforts. So I imagine that a show so focused on depicting real female experience and real womanhood (as opposed to male constructions of womanhood) would also be sensitive to other oppressions.

      And, if viewers are really into feminism, they’ll be aware of the real criticism feminist scholarship has been facing for years in terms of whiteness– bell hooks (and others) talk about how feminist and anti-racism has marginalized the experiences of women of color. She also discusses the history of pain and oppression between white women and women of color (for a little more on that: So, in a progressive show about girls, I would have loved to see a more diverse, inclusive sisterhood.

  • Shannon Bravo

    I found the show to be very realistic, & I don’t think people like realism.

  • Anna Dobben

    There’s a difference between being sheltered, and being racist, and I think the show falls into the former. And I’m okay with that. These characters, and the people they represent, are sheltered and naive.
    Also, why is there so much backlash after ONE episode? The pilot of many shows isn’t exactly their best. It makes me sad that this has become an opportunity just to bash people.
    Great article, Julia!

  • Ashley Wood

    Incredibly well written – thank you for putting into words the exact sentiment I am sure many Girls supporters feel

  • Alyssa Sandore

    I don’t understand the backlash. I loved the first episode! It’s like an expanded version of Lena Dunham’s movie Tiny Furniture. She’s a fantastic writer that girls can relate to.

  • Vittoria Incandela

    Why does it have to be about race or gender at all. THEMES folks! THEMES! The show is about finding yourself after college and who your family or friends want you to be and what you want to be and what the eff is life about anyway. I think we all can relate- no matter what gender, race, socio-economic tier you belong to. It’s the human struggle, the whole “what am I doing here and what am I suppose to be doing.” Ultimately, thats what the show is about. At best, maybe say they are discriminating against dumb people with Girls. People too dumb to get what the show is really saying anyway.

    • Julia Gazdag

      I think the part where race comes in is that stories about the human experience tend to be told through a white perspective more often than not. There is definitely an imbalance of how many films with diverse casts are about human experience stories, and tv shows with mostly non-white casts are pretty much niche audience shows, unless it’s something like that show about the American dude in the Indian call center from last year that was just teeming with racial slurs. It’s just that with Girls, why is it getting singled out? That’s the unfair part of this conversation — it’s getting singled out for something so many other shows also perpetuate.

  • Torre Healy

    Yes. yes. yes. this post is my everything.

  • Adam Denny

    I’m from Australia, and have lived in the United States for six years, first in Alaska and now San Francisco. I’m not a young woman, so I have no idea if the show is on the cusp of presenting any great truths on the subject, but in experience Americans don’t have friends, let alone relationships with those who aren’t of the same race. I thought it helped make the show more honest, it is not even an issue that was raised.

  • Alex Marquez Morga

    What i think is happening with this cast is that, from watching the pilot, but also Tiny Furniture, Lena’s work feels very autobiographical, so, just maybe her closest friends happen to be white, this shouldn’t be a race issue, new characters have to come and go, maybe (and hopefully) new main and supporting characters of different races will pop up throughout the series development, but it shouldn’t be forced upon the story , and living in a multicultural city like New York doesn’t mean all your friends are out of the United Colors of Benetton Catalogue, that can be an erroneous generalization as well.

  • Tino Faygo

    So huge Judd Apatow , I am a male and yes i do see the same cast appearing in 90% of his movies, but I thought to give ‘Girls’ a try. Honestly I thought it was ok, so far the story is a bit basic, but the acting in it so far is what is turning me off from it. I don’t know if its because its the first episode and the women havent really fully embraced the characters to make them feel alive. I’m hoping that after the first shoot and they moved on to filming the rest of the season that they got to connect with the characters better. Or it could just be they are not solid enough actresses to make me enjoy a tired basic story line. Will have to see.

  • Bea Lake

    I don’t think that many girls shower with friends. I feel like those are the kind of people who also have pillow fights in their underwear. Or at that point why bother with underwear? Also, just wanted to agree that internships and unpaid jobs are the horrible. If you’re going to work for free/have the luxury to why not just do charity work? At least that’s worth something.

    • Melanie Mccauley

      No need to be hostile towards us shower-hanger-outers. If you’re really good enough friends, who cares. Also, what girl doesn’t love a good pillow fight?

  • Ramou Sarr

    For some reason I can’t reply to Julia’s response to my original comment, but I tend to agree with you. And! After all that being said, I liked the pilot, and am the most frustrated with having to defend it and then after that twitter nonsense, it got really hard to defend.

    • Julia Gazdag

      You have to hit reply to your own comment and it’ll go under mine (it took me forever to figure out and I work here). I’m with you on both counts. But still, it was one writer, and it was a careless statement but not full-on aggressively racist, at least. And the show has a whole season to go, I’m keeping my hopes up for it.

  • Jeannie Durkin

    I find it so surprising that the fact that this is the real world for many young, privileged white women in our country. I come from a fairly affluent background, and am now studying to be an anthropolgist. I can tell you right now that the things I know about other cultures within our own country I did not know at a younger age, and if I had not chosen specifically to broaden my understanding of the world through my studies, I would still be just as sheltered. I knew two black kids at school growing up. TWO. I didn’t meet a Muslim student until I was 16. It isn’t surprising that there haven’t been people of different backgrounds in the show yet. Maybe, just maybe, that will be part of the storyline and character arcs. Maybe the show will address some of these issues in our society. Or maybe it won’t. Either way, I think everyone should give it more than just the pilot episode to make a decision.

  • Sepideh Zarrinkelk

    Maybe that whole women of the same race thing is an issue that is actually being shown! That there isn’t much diversity in a small group of friends anyway. Like what Adam Denny said. I have never been to the states so I can’t really say something myself but I have heard the same about the US from other people who’ve been there. Since the show is also being realistic, it’s only realistic that a group of white people gather together in the show too. Personally as someone who lives in Europe I have never experienced something like that, being “Sheltered”. I have a middle eastern background yet most of my friends are Europeans, my boyfriend is British, I had far eastern housemates for some time and I even have some Australian and American friends. The world is tiny ffs don’t be afraid of other races.

  • Hannah Golightly

    It’s a piss take. Women are NOT A MINORITY GROUP. We are actually a MAJORITY GROUP… well there is approx 51% of the population are female. We outnumber the men by a smidge. The word we are all searching for is ‘scapegoat’… women are being scapegoated for everything men fail to do while men have all the power and oppotunity to solve the lack of minority representation. But let’s face it, they don’t like sharing that power and opportunity, because if they did, we women would have 51% of all power and oportunity and all minority groups would have their % represented in power and oportunity too. The fact is that pointing the finger at women and blaming them for the lack of on-screen diversity is a childish tactic that is a cheap shot designed to deflect attention from their own behaviour. It is also a criticism that can deflect attention away from female talent by smoke screening it with racist accusations. No one will remember that a woman created something of a higher quality (perhaps) than the men if no one is talking about that talent, if instead talk turns to racism. Why do women always have to defend themselves the second they are successful????

    • Julia Gazdag

      Women are MARGINALIZED, not a minority group. Within that marginalization is also racial marginalization, but women do not hold the same power in our society as men, and frankly, if you can’t recognize the disadvantages we encounter in our representation, salaries, rights, especially with what’s currently happening with state-level legislation over women’s bodies, then all I can hope for is that you never vote.

    • Sandra Ngo

      Julia, you are arguing the exact same point she is… I for one thought her post was amazing.

    • Julia Gazdag

      Apologies — I read this in haste and didn’t compute the meaning! Though I do think that it’s important to differentiate between the words “minority” and “marginalization” — white men are a minority in this country, but they still hold most of the power, so I think the word “marginalized” holds more power and meaning when talking about disempowered social groups. You make a great point — women have to defend their work and their talent more than men, as well as people of color. The expectations are higher, in part because the marginalized groups are so eager to feel adequately represented and get more easily frustrated, and partially because of the double standard that exists.

  • Mary-Catherine Dorula

    Not everything needs to be about race or gender. People can always find a reason to complain about something..ugh, it’s so annoying. I enjoyed this show. I thought it was a great jumping off point for future story lines. Let’s all just give a round of applause for a 24 YEAR OLD having such a huge part in an HBO series.

  • Beth Hannah

    I live in a rural state, where there is not a lot of diversity. Most of my friends are white. It is not by choice, but by availability. When I attended a private college, most of the students of other races were exchange students, or athletes. I think it is a fair statement as said earlier, many white women (and men) do not have the chance to mingle with other races. This does not make me racist, it is simply supply and demand. Most reality shows portraying the upper class have a majority white cast. It may be a sad true, but should not be the focus of debate over whether a tv is worthy.

  • Eric Robbins

    Is it a bad thing that they didn’t cast a black woman as one of the leads? You’re essentially suggesting pandering. With four blank roles, naturally one of them should be a minority. That’s not thinking like an open minded person, that’s thinking like an institution taking a diversity photo. That’s the butt of Community’s joke. It’s totally believable that four entitled, suburban lady children would be white. There’s no need, and there should be no expectation to include a certain race or gender. That’s not equality. That’s forced inclusion, which isn’t solving a problem, it’s just covering one up.

    • Kayla Jackson

      It’s really sad to me how quickly this conversation got derailed from the fact they ‘forgot’ to include poc (in a city that is MAJORITY non white) to “awww don’t be mean to them because they’re ladies and they’re already in a bad situation in Hollywood”! Way to derail a valid criticism, blogging world.

      It’s really depressing to see people just think we don’t deserve or should have representation or be included. And that to include someone like me would be ‘tokenism’ or ‘not realistic’ or ‘not necessary’.

      This show doesn’t take place in a rural state. This doesn’t take place in the suburbs of Conneticut. This is NYC. NYC the city where you can’t turn around without bumping into a non white person – and we still don’t get included? This is worth being pissed about.

    • Eric Robbins

      @ Kayla. Girls isn’t a sweeping view of New York city. It’s a view of four specific friends. It’s not a fair expectation to impose your projection onto someone elses personal vision. And what do you mean derailing discussion? What is the discussion? Some people claim sexism, some claim racism, some claim nepotism, some claim classism. There is no unified discussion to derail. What I see is various different people representing various groups each tugging on a corner of Dunham’s personal art, screaming at her for telling her story when instead they wish she’d have told their story.

    • Kayla Jackson

      @Eric – No, but when they talk about this show – and I mean creators – they were falling all over themselves to talk about how progressive and different it was. How it was a view of an authentic New York! So ~real~ and how it was women who “looked like you!”. They went on and on about this in interviews, and then when they got called out for not having it — we get responses like Lesley Arfin’s?

      If you want to use your progressiveness as a selling point, then you can’t be surprised when people are mad when it turns out you’re not actually all that different from the norm.

    • Eric Robbins

      @ Kayla, that’s fair. Most of the previews and build up I saw seemed to center on the Millennium Generation or the Boomerang Generation of immaturity and entitlement. And I think the show delivered or will deliver on speaking to that niche experience. I think something like Crash or Avatar are far more guilty of ethnic simplicity than Girls, which is an extremely small and personal story. In her film Tiny Furniture, Dunham focused on the same tropes, because it’s obviously something she feels strongly about expressing. I think it’s a shame that so many different criticisms are levied at a fairly innocuous show that never promised to change the world (at least from what I saw/read)

    • Tino Faygo

      I like your views Eric very straight forward no wasted words. While I agree that its wrong for them to exclude different ethnicities because it isn’t a proper portrayal of the city. I will disagree with anyone making a statement that that group NEEDS a black girl in there. To be honest most white women get into a cliche and stay in that group, and 99% of the time it is with just other white women. So in honesty it is a fairly accurate portrayal of that kind of group. To be perfectly frank, i think hating/disliking a show based on things such as sex and race is borderline retarded. I base entertainment on quality of acting and story line. Never do I watch an all black show/movie and think “man where the white women/men at? This is BS” I just go with the story and enjoy it, everyone that is complaining for those reasons honestly has nothing better to do, is a sheep, or just wants to start shit. Get over it be an adult move on.

    • Julia Gazdag

      I would argue that the issue at hand is that here is yet another show that represents only a small portion of the viewing audience, and I think it’s a completely valid problem if a show is about the same social group that most others shows are already representing. The issue here is more that while women are less marginalized than women of color, they are still marginalized and face higher standards. The level of outrage at issues which occur regularly in TV shows was way too high for this show, and it’s indicative of a judgment towards women and their work, not against the actual issues of Hollywood. Where were these angry people and bloggers in the last decade as people of color disappeared from TV? Where is the Cosby Show and Fresh Prince and Sister Sister? Ugly Betty was only on for four seasons, and the only show to represent any people from Asia was blatantly racist (Outsourced). While women of color have been writing about this problem for ages, suddenly over this show, saturated with female talent, is garnering negative attention for the issues that were conveniently overlooked up until now?

    • Julia Gazdag

      @Kayla — I agree with Eric’s point that the show is about four friends. And I agree with you that POC are not to be tokenized. I don’t think the problem is that Lena Dunham wrote what she knew and there was no token POC in the show. The problem is that no networks are commissioning shows that represent POC. Where’s the show about the straightedge multi-ethnic queer vegan collective sharing a loft in Bushwick? Where’s the show about middle class post-college grads who can’t afford iPhones but are from diverse backgrounds? And frankly, where’s the show about religious Jews trying to sustain their heritage in a modernized world? Because of assimilation and blending into white America, traditional Jews have remained marginalized while that has gone unacknowledged.
      I don’t think the issue is that this show could have gone so many different ways. It’s that HBO could have gone so many different ways.

  • Mary Survive

    I’ve been reading up on both sides, and though it is upsetting to not see people of color represented, I find that most of the critique being highlighted is by women and men who are white. This discussion has been going on forever, as it should, but what bothers me about it now is the obvious internalized misogyny from these white people. Have these people thought this critically of shows like Mad Men or The Walking Dead or any other show ever?

    People leaving comments here who don’t see a problem with it are white and privleged so of course they so cant see what’s wrong.

    As a person of color, I guess what’s upsetting is that I expected this show to be amazing and groundbreaking, but aside from the all female cast and the creator being a woman, I didn’t see myself represented completely. Sure, we can’t expect Lena Dunham to solve all world issues, but there was a little hope that maybe she could.

    • Eric Robbins

      In one short sentence you admit that expecting one person’s personal vision to solve racial and gender dynamics is unrealistic, but then you express you wish she could. But do you see the problem with that thinking? You’re imposing your hopes onto a work of art that never set out with intentions of dealing with what you wanted it to. The show (thus far) is a personal story of the millennium generation’s struggles to find itself. Dunham never promised to represent everyone, or speak for anyone. If you were walking through an art gallery and saw a painting of a white man, you wouldn’t wonder why it wasn’t a painting of a black woman. And I think it’s a shame that the film and TV mediums of art are put under this unrealistic lens of scrutiny. It’s not enough to tell a story anymore, now you have to champion a million different causes and fight the powers.

    • Mary Survive

      In response to Eric: What I said was I expected it to be groundbreaking. My assumption wasn’t far fetched considering the praise it was getting prior to it even premiering. Instead it delivered an unrealistic view of a major metropolitan area and juvenile discussions. I don’t expect her to solve any issues really, that last line was hyperbolic.

      Furthermore, I can’t expect a white woman to speak for anyone but White women. But with the ability to hire someone who can speak for the LGBTQ community or people of color, you can’t fault me for assuming that maybe she’d take the “risk” of doing so. I’m sure she has friends who aren’t white.

      Art is supposed to speak to you and be some sort of reflection of human emotion. Sure, maybe art should just be, but of I don’t find myself relating to it, it shouldn’t become some problem that trivializes and devalues my opinion. Also, no- it isn’t enough to just tell a story. Notwhen that story has already been repeatedly told.

    • Julia Gazdag

      In its own way, it was. The fact of varying female body types being represented, seeing a lead actress who doesn’t fit the standard Hollywood image mold at all is something I personally found pretty groundbreaking. It reminded me of Amy Sedaris in Strangers With Candy — she was a beautiful, slim woman who chose to make herself look ugly for the sake of being in character. While that shouldn’t be a bold choice in Hollywood, it is, and while I agree that the issue of racial diversity is a pressing one, it isn’t the only one at hand.

      I also feel like people put this expectation of being groundbreaking onto the show, when it didn’t ask for it. It was a show that used Dunham’s film Tiny Furniture as a springboard — that doesn’t indicate racial diversity to me in any way.

  • Joko Troid

    You’re right, all Hollywood product is nepotistic if we expand the definition of nepotism a “smidge” to make the word mean something that it doesn’t mean. I haven’t seen this show and have nothing against it. I think I’d probably like it or even love it, since I’ve enjoyed Dunham and Apatow’s previous work a lot. But I also have nothing against people on the Internet mocking the fact that all the principals are the offspring of the already rich and successful. It’s fair game like everything else. I’m not sure this constitutes a “backlash”–it’s more of a frontlash since it started before the show even premiered, let alone became very popular. The show is getting “special treatment” because the uniformly nepotistic (using the non-expanded definition of the word) nature of the cast is unique, even for Hollywood. Can you name one other show with a principal cast like this? Without expanding any definitions a smidge, I mean? This doesn’t mean the cast isn’t talented, it just means they might have to try a little harder to prove themselves in a world more prone to revere those who claw their way to the top from humble origins. Judd Apatow’s pal Ben Stiller is a good example of someone I personally think has proven himself a brilliant talent who very much deserves his place in entertainment, despite being the son of showbiz parents. If you are born into such a family, people might make fun of you for being born with a head start. Not a big deal. Good problem to have!

    • Julia Gazdag

      Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman, Sofia Coppola, Will Smith’s kids, Tori Spelling, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Zooey and Emily Deschanel, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Liv Tyler, The Osbourne Kids, John and Joan Cusack, Elizabeth Olsen, Alan Alda, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Sheen, Patricia Arquette, Victoria Asher, Jason and Justine Bateman, Ed Begley Jr., Stella McCartney, Liza Minelli, Anjelica Huston, Ron Howard, and Colin Hanks, to name a few, are all children of famous and successful people who no doubt helped their careers.
      They are also all talented and earned their place, the same way the women on this show either will or won’t, but so far I do see talent. The fact that all four happened to be of famous lineage is a coincidence that is inevitable in a place like Hollywood. And none of them come from parents who are film actors or producers — being a news anchor or working in theater builds connections but is not a direct link. Having a photographer for a mother does not imply that it is a given for that child to get her own TV show, and having a rock star for a father who hasn’t had a top ten hit in over two decades isn’t exactly a one way ticket to getting hired.

    • Joko Troid

      Jeff and Beau Bridges! The more I think about it, nepotism rocks.

    • Joko Troid

      This was my point, though–there is nothing wrong with nepotism, but it’s natural for the less fortunate to gripe about it. It’s just going to happen. I agree that four leads of such pedigree was mathematically inevitable, but I’m not sure it’s ever happened before, which is why there has been a reaction to it.

    • Julia Gazdag

      I’m sure it has, there just wasn’t any internet to spread it like wildfire on

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