The Antifeminist Movement as Seen in Girls

June 7, 2013 | Sarah

By NeW Intern Catie

Lena Dunham, writer and producer of Girls, a popular TV series on HBO, gained a lot of notoriety during the 2012 elections when she was featured in Obama’s campaign ad saying, “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy… Someone who really cares about and understands women. A guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control…”

Dunham’s quote reflects the feminism of today. What was once a movement aiding women in achieving success and deserved rights, became a movement pushing for more benefits from the government. While the left believes in bigger government aid all around, special grants given to women based on their sex is, in actuality, distinctly antifeminist.

This form of feminism permeates our popular culture, and is especially echoed in Girls. The show follows four young post graduates, Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna, living in Brooklyn. I enjoy the show because there is no sugar-coating or glamour, just blatant honesty. It portrays relatable characters who struggle with money, friends, boyfriends, insecurities, and employment.


The series has aired for two seasons and although I enjoy some aspects of it, the finale of the second season left me disappointed. If you haven’t watched the show at all, here’s a bit of background: Earlier in the show Marnie breaks up with Charlie, her boyfriend, because she is no longer attracted to him. After the break up, Charlie meets new women and starts a successful business. Marnie’s life, on the other hand, begins falling apart. She gets fired from her job, changes her career path, and sleeps with her best friend’s ex boyfriend.

Hannah also broke up with her boyfriend, Adam, and then engages in a few brief relationships and hook-ups. She begins having problems with work, her friends, her finances, and reverts to the mental condition she struggled with in high school. Eventually Hannah becomes desperate, unhappy, and mentally unstable.

The season finale concluded with both couples getting back together. Marnie realizes that Charlie made her happy, gave her stability, and a sense of identity. Hannah similarly felt lost and insane and called Adam to her rescue.

While the finale is meant to seem hopeful of true love and romance, I believe it achieved more success in revealing how much the feminist movement has failed to move women in the right direction. These girls, at likely their weakest and most confused points in life, do not have the strength to fix themselves up or search for what they want out of life independently. Not only does this finale entice women with a distorted perception of love, it doubts a woman’s strength to discover who she is without using a man as an emotional crutch.

Girls certainly reflects, however, how the feminist movement has moved our culture forward in terms of what we consider morally permissible. Jessa sleeps with a married man, Shoshanna cheats on her boyfriend, Marnie sets up an abortion for Jessa, and Hannah hooks up with several men. However scandalous this might appear on TV, it’s reality for many young women today. We can get away with the types of behavior that men can get away with and in this sense, women have moved forward. But is this really what is important? Does this ultimately benefit women?

Feminists should not purpose their actions towards getting special government grants or towards accepting all types of behavior in the name of women’s rights. Rather, feminists should focus on promoting a woman’s ability to pull herself up from mistakes, heartbreak, job loss, financial troubles, and the like.

However much we might criticize Lena Dunham’s political views, she certainly has a knack for exposing the flaws of the leftist feminist movement without ever intending to do so.

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