Chelsea Fagan's Blog

25. NYC. Works at Thought Catalog. First book, I'm Only Here For The Wifi, available now where all fine literature is sold.

I Suppose I Should Stop Expecting Better

 As@TaylerSometimes, an awesome teenaged black feminist I follow on Twitter, put it to me, “I wish I had the opportunity to be cut off.” I deeply appreciate that today’s college students face a maelstrom of issues, from lack of available jobs to crushing student loans, but I am afraid that these humanizing concerns won’t be incorporated. Meanwhile, the actresses portraying the main characters include the daughter of a famous feminist artist (Dunham’s mother is Laurie Simmons), the daughter of famous rock drummer (Jemima Kirke’s father played in Bad Company), the daughter of famous playwright (Zosia Mamet is the daughter of David Mamet), and the daughter of a famous primetime news anchor (Allison Williams’ dad is Brian Williams). Even if “Girls” is a “scathing critique” of a generation, as Nussbaum put it, I wonder how much those of us without wealthy parents or white privilege will even be able to comprehend it as such.

-Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, writing about her skepticism for the much-hyped HBO show, Girls.

Aside from not finding the film Tiny Furniture, nor the trailer for Girls particularly funny from a pure humor standpoint, I find it rather insulting that people from the backgrounds that these women came from are riding on a theme of “relatable” and “refreshingly honest.” I’m a twenty-something, city-dwelling, culturally aware white woman — shows and movies like this should speak directly to me like two tin cans with a string between them. Yet nothing could feel more alienating, more forced, or more unfunny, than the jokes of the “struggles” that only the most privileged class of society gets the honor of facing, and the reduction of every PoC, lower-class, or otherwise marginalized section of society reduced to token bit parts and backup dancers at best.

There are so many truly interesting, relatable, and funny stories to tell about women of my generation — though I’d imagine much of it doesn’t provide the escapism that entertainment like this does. How I would love to see women struggling with everyday life, women who come from all backgrounds, ethnicities, incomes, family structures, and have them be funny in the way humor can only be when it is so incredibly true.

Stop trying to tell me you know who I am, or what I think, because I am a young woman. You found a bunch of extremely wealthy, well-connected white women to rehash the same First World Problems Bonanza Hour we’ve seen with so many other female-oriented shows, and that’s fine. You do whatever makes you money. But don’t pretend it’s anything other than what it is — the same tired setup we’ve seen a million times, pandering to a desperate desire for actual funny, thought-provoking, interesting stories about women. 

I’m tired of seeing this garish caricature of what I’m supposed to be — cripplingly self-involved, incredibly well-funded, educated in the most exclusive liberal arts schools, and consumed with only talking about the men I’m dating that week or minute personal problems that could be fixed with a thirty-second call to my extremely wealthy father. We deserve so much better than this, and we’re beautiful and interesting enough as we are — we don’t need to be given the Acceptably Quirky Girl treatment to make us worth watching.