Friday, July 5, 2013

Girls and women

I shared Laurie Penny's article last week on Facebook, highlighting a paragraph that appealed to me in particular, especially at that point in my life: "It’s definitely easier to be a girl than it is to do the work of being a grown woman, especially when you know that grown women are far more fearful to the men whose approval seems so vital to your happiness. And yet something in me was rebelling against the idea of being a character in somebody else’s story. I wanted to write my own."
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the distinction between the two, but also about how much the TV show Girls reflects experiences that many of us, even on the other side of the ocean, live through in our mid twenties. I like to call these years the quarter life crisis, because that's the general feeling I've been living with: a constant interogation about where I'm going and why my trajectory is so different from that of my parents, and the one they taught me I should have, for that matter.
But going back to Girls (I've been obsessed with watching the two seasons for a second time, since I have so much school work to do), I saw this caption a few days ago and I almost cried. It was about when Hannah asked Adam "If you don't like ice cream, what do you like?" and he answered "I like you". I mean, who says that?
I really wish I could say my Adam turned into that guy who "was always here". I wish at least one of my Adams did. But in my experience, it doesn't work like that. A guy who doesn't respect you and only sees you as a random hook up will not wake up one day and say "You chase me like I’m in the fucking Beatles for six months and then when I finally get comfortable with things, you wanna shrug?" He will not go and tell people "I had this girlfriend who at first I didn’t like very much, or, I didn’t take her very seriously, I guess. She just seemed like, you know, a piece of ass. But she was persistent, man. And she just hung around, and hung around, and showed up at my place—and gradually, it started to feel better when she was there. It wasn’t “love” the way I imagined it. I just felt weird if I didn’t know what she was up to or whatever. And I liked knowing that she was just gonna be there, and warm, and staying the night." That. never. happens. to. me.
But generally, if we look closer, Girls is a simulacrum for what becoming a woman means to some of the people of our generation. We learn from Marnie's self-searching adventure, we learn from Hannah's self-abandonment chaos, from Shoshanna's rants and mostly from Jessa, who is her own brand of charming. I think that no matter how much we grow up, we'll always be vulnerable to our desires, especially to those we cannot explain. And at the end of the day, we should just own it.

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