There’s been a lot of talk in the past year or so about Lena Dunham’s nudity in the show Girls. Some people think it’s unnecessary, other people think it’s empowering and some people have actually said they think it’s disgusting. Personally, I think it’s awesome.
When I was growing up, I rarely saw girls anywhere on TV or in magazines that looked like me. My weight has fluctuated from average to fairly chubby and then back down again several times in my life but even at my thinnest, I have never ever seen a body in traditional media that has looked even remotely similar to mine.
I have noticed that there are only 3 primary body types that are acceptable for women in the mainstream (read: Western) entertainment industry. Thin, plus-sized and bombshell. Thin includes 99% of Hollywood actresses and needs no further explanation. Plus-sized means the fat funny girl – Roseanne Barr, Melissa Macarthy, Kath Kinney. Then there’s what’s supposed to be the ‘in between’ category which I call ‘bombshell’. This category includes Christina Hendricks, Sophia Vergara, Beyoncé, Salma Hayek and JLo. Women who have curvy hips and breasts and are celebrated for ‘embracing their body types‘. The caveat with this body type is that these women are not allowed to have belly fat or arm fat and their legs must be perfectly toned and preferably tanned. Curvy is certainly acceptable but it has to be the ‘right’ type of curvy. Flat stomached hourglass to be precise.
The problem I have with these body types is that hardly anyone I know in real life fits into these categories. I’m certainly not thin but I’m certainly not plus-sized and with my chubby belly, small breasts, short legs and 5’8 stature, I’m not exactly ticking all the boxes for the bombshell category either, which brings me back to why I love watching Hannah Horvath have sex on Girls.
Before Girls, I had never seen a woman on TV or in a movie who looks anything like me, being portrayed as being loved, being desirable or god forbid, having sex. Only women who are well proportioned with a low body fat percentage are allowed to have meaningful sex and be romanced on-screen. If you fall into any other category, there’s always a catch. For example plus-sized girls don’t have sex on-screen, it’s just not the done thing. They have twee little condescending romances with some average Joe and their sex lives are not spoken about. Bombshells are usually represented as ‘the other women’ because any woman with tits bigger than a C is obviously going to steal somebody else’s husband. Hollywood curvy actresses are usually only cast for sex appeal or comic relief. It seems to me that you can be a size 6, a size 6 with ample tits and ass or a size 20 plus. Sadly, average women sized anywhere from 10 to 16, are almost completely absent. Which is really weird.
Why I Love Watching Hannah Horvath Have Sex on HBO’s Girls
When I see Lena Dunham playing Hannah, being caressed by the character’s boyfriend Adam and watching him run his hands over her soft belly, cup her tiny boobs and squeeze her fleshy arms it makes me really happy because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a recognisable woman’s body on television. My body is nowhere near identical to Lena Dunham’s but her figure is the most personally relatable one I’ve ever seen. She looks like a regular person. She looks like any one of my gorgeous friends. Not fat, not thin, looks like she ate lunch and doesn’t have too much trouble buying jeans that fit. She has relationships, hot sex and one night stands with lots of different kinds of men, all of which find her hot as hell. This is a very accurate representation of most of the women in my life and I for one would like to see more of it.
Many people would argue that there’s no such thing as an ‘average’ woman but I beg to differ. Of the females in my life, I have one friend who’s a size 6, three or four who are plus-sized, one or two who could be considered bombshells and the other 50 odd women fall into a category that can only be described as average, yet we’re the least represented ‘body type’ in mainstream media. It’s bizarre.
To a less damaging degree, when I was kid I thought that I’d never have a successful relationship because I have curly hair. True story. Think about it. My one representative was Felicity and if I remember correctly she was a total doormat and was continuously screwed around by the same two guys for four seasons. I was convinced that would never have happened if she had long swishy hair like she was supposed to and this is why hair straighteners are such a massive thing. It’s bollocks.
It’s very similar to the fact that most people on TV are white, able bodied and heterosexual. It’s just not an accurate representation of humanity.