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Girls, the HBO hit created by Lena Dunham, has been both lauded and criticized for it’s take on women, respect, and body image.  Some critics have argued that Girls is doing its viewers a disservice in that it depicts women with a low level of self-worth and self-respect, while others applaud Girls for promoting a realistic and identifiable idea of what beauty is and what real bodies are like.  

(image source: IMDB)

Girls does, in fact, serve up a large handful of nude scenes per episode.  What sticks out to viewers and critics alike is the fact that these nude bodies are real bodies – not perfect, but authentic, and that these scenes are not tactfully crafted to disguise these bodies, but are, in opposition, fairly naked themselves in their cinematic elements.  Sophomore Holly Spencer comments on the positive side of this particular issue, stating, “I think Lena Dunham, and Girls as a whole, works hard to present body image in a more positive, or at least more realistic light. For example, Lena Dunham ends up topless a lot in the show. I feel like in a lot of movies or shows, those scenes would be edited and lit very strategically to make sure that either there isn’t actually a lot of nudity, or that the actress looks unrealistically perfect.”

 

(image source: IMDB)

Shows that depict a comparable amount of nudity to Girls, but by actresses whose bodies are considered conventionally beautiful by pop-culture standards, have not been accused of promoting negative ideas regarding self-worth and self-respect in the way that Girls has.  The overwhelming support of the show’s take on body image seems to point to the idea that these critics are simply left at a loss as to how to interpret nude scenes that feature real bodies. Spencer notes, “In Girls, they make sure to just portray the girls’ bodies as normal bodies, no matter what the specific body happens to look like. And since a lot of other media serves to incite feelings of insecurity and doubt in girls’ feelings about their bodies, I think the way Girls portrays body image is really commendable.”  Certainly a shock to the television world and pop culture on a grander scale, it seems as though, to the viewing demographic of Girls, the show is having a positive impact.  Spurring a revolution in positive body-image, self-love, and reality in television, hopefully the popularity of Girls will inspire future shows to do the same.

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Meg Orita

Northwestern

Meg Orita is a junior at Northwestern University, majoring in Voice/Opera performance and probably something else, too.Meg is currently studying abroad in Paris, France (!!!) and loving every minute of it.
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