I don’t have very much to say about the second episode of Girls, because I didn’t hate it as much as I did the first one, and I also am having trouble remembering what even happened. These are the notes that I wrote to myself while watching the episode:
Jobs that are boring
Happy with these lives??
Whatever they want!
50 Shades of Gray
So cute at interviews. Oh my god!!
Which basically just reads like a summary of any given New York Magazine cover article.
My main take-away was that the way sex is portrayed is irritating, because the show makes it seem like “girls” don’t enjoy it. They just have it because they know they’re supposed to be sexually active, in the same way they know that they should probably get jobs. Having sex seems like nothing more than a penance for being fucking alive.
(Please don’t continue to read this post if you’re related to me.)
Which is, in some ways, kind of an accurate portrayal of what sex is like for a well-educated young woman today (and, in turn, throughout history). We’re told, from a young age, that previous generations have liberated us from the chains of tyranny hung around our necks by men (the enemy), and in turn, are now free to do whatever we want. And one of the things we’re now allowed to do is sleep with men indiscriminately, and deal with the consequences of doing so—abortions, STDs—in the aftermath. It’s something that we’re obligated to feel grateful for.
So if you’re a girl who is not particularly sexually adventurous, or interested in sex, or even worse, if you’re a 21-year-old virgin, you feel like you’ve fucked up in some way. Like you didn’t take your SATs. Like you chose to go to community college. For a certain kind of overachieving, empowered woman, being open to any sexual act, even if it’s approached without any pleasure, is vital to a certain kind of identity. If you say no to a guy cumming on your tits after he fucks you in the ass, the implication is that you probably want to go live in suburbia and have two children by the age of 27, which is worse, these days, than becoming an old maid. You’ll probably just get married. You might never have a career. You’re not an achiever at life.
In that respect, Lena Dunham got sex for women in their 20s right. What she didn’t capture, however, is any of the pleasure that we feel as we experiment with it.
Because on the flip side of feeling like sex is as an achievement, there is sex as an enjoyable activity. There are the girls (like me) who love having sex, and actively court it dirty.
Yes, men these days get perverted, sick ideas from watching too much pornography, which teaches them that if they want to be normal, they need to fuck like Eastern European men at an orgy. But girls, I’ve found from conversation (and yes, experience), actually tend to be more sexually adventurous in bed, because they’re more complex to please. When you start having sex at the age of 17 or 18, and you don’t usually settle down until you’re in your early 30s, you have a lot of time to try different things out with many different kinds of penises. Some of those things are discovered accidentally. Some of those things are practiced. And some of those things you discover that you like might also be things that Eastern European men do at orgies.
By the time you’re 24 (as are the characters on “Girls”), you’re already half way to full maturation as a sexual being. Unless the guy you’re with is hung like a monster ape, you’ve probably discovered that getting fucked doggy style actually feels pretty good. Or not even pretty good. FUCKING AWESOME. And you know how to begin to ask for what you like, because you’ve learned that men actually respond better when you enjoy sex rather than just endure it.
So when I watch the characters on Girls have sex mercenary style—which means that the men they are fucking are more adversaries than lovers, their strategies to be dissected when the girls return to their own ranks—I kind of relate to the air that sex today is less an act of love than an act of war. Men and women, in our modern society, are in a struggle for supremacy, and sex is a battleground where we prove our mettle.
What I don’t relate to is the fact that they don’t enjoy the sex AT ALL. Out of the four characters, one is a virgin, one thinks she can’t have dirty sex because she wants to be a mother, one is a masochist not because she has a fetish, but rather because she’s a whiney weirdo (sorry Lena Dunham, that’s how you come off), and one thinks that dating is for lesbians. I mean, at the very least, if they can’t seem like they’re enjoying sex with men, can’t they write in some funny masturbation scenes?
Because, at the risk of revealing too much, thereby opening myself up (even further) to Internet stalkers—and hastening the eventuality of my Catholic family disowning me—by the age of 24, I was very much enjoying fucking, all different ways, all of the time. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was draining the batteries on my vibrator.
(I just took a shower, because I need to take a break to figure out how to end this stupid fucking blog post. I have so many thoughts, and I still can’t articulate them. I want to start a television discussion group, and just sit for four hours a weekend and talk about these issues. But as I’m sitting alone in my apartment, with no one to talk to, this will have to do for now.)
But I guess what I’m saying is that Girls just paints such a bleak picture of what it’s like to be a young woman today. And it doesn’t have to be like that.
When I watched Sex and The City (on the sly—it was forbidden my my father) in high school, I learned that sex in New York was hilarious, fun, and free. It may have informed my subsequent sexual development—in a positive way—even if it wasn’t necessarily “real.”
I just don’t want you to think, little “me”s, sitting in your parent’s living room, watching “Girls” once your parent’s have fallen asleep, that life is so abysmal. You can accomplish whatever you want. It’s not so hard to find a job if you spend every day looking for one, and are willing to work hard. Guys can actually be really loving and fun to hang out with. And sex is completely awesome, especially as you get older.
Don’t let Girls inform your worldview. If a guy wants to pretend that you’re a child prostitute he picked up on the street, unless you’re into that, you should kick him in the face, and leave. All sexual activities don’t lead to abortion or getting HPV, like Girls would lead you to believe. In fact, they usually lead to a sense of satisfaction, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, falling in love.
You should demand that men treat you well. You should demand to enjoy the freedoms that are rightfully yours. Try lots of things sexually. Teach men how to get you off. Read this manifesto, and realize that it was written in 20 minutes, and that you probably shouldn’t take anything that I say seriously.
But also look to be empowered, not scared, by the information you absorb from the media. Girls these days are not like Girls. There is hope for us, and there is even more hope for you.