Democracy at Stake?
Most television dramas advertised to young teens presents one type of lifestyle – one that’s wealthy and glamorous. With such limited variety of economic situations represented in these shows, it would be ignorant not to question whether this violates democracy. Not only is it unfair to create desirable lifestyles which are not affordable or realistic for the the majority of viewers, but it is unfair that this is the only story being told. This is why I liked the HBO show Girls so much. Not only did I identify with Hannah’s character, but I was able to feel at ease with certain situations in my life which were represented in the show. Instead of making me feel inadequate like most shows do, I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction seeing my past experiences reflected in a TV series. This security and identification I myself felt with the show makes me confident that the economic situations facing these characters are real. This show prepares me for my future because I can picture myself being in Hannah’s situation post-college where she is dedicated to an unpaid internship and can’t quite conquer her dream of being a writer. Although these are not cheerful thoughts, they allow me to not feel bad about myself or where I am in life because it’s normal and reflected in an actual show.
Stories of imperfection and struggle are now being represented. Hannah’s physical appearance as well as her unlabeled relationship is the reality for most American teenagers. Surrounded by me are not all 6 feet tall beautiful models strutting around with their arm candy. It’s your everyday average looking people who are trying to maintain relationships with others whether its a happily ever after or just another day. Instead of swaying our attention into a dream-like world and distracting us from the reality of our lives, shows like Girls brings your situations to surface. Already as a faithful viewer of this series, I am not only wondering where Hannah’s life will go, but I am also looking more closely at my future. Perhaps the reason why students have not joined together as a country is because we are embedding ourselves in too much dream-like television which does not address current situations facing us. This idea is definitely something to consider. I am not suggesting we completely stray from the shows we enjoy watching because they unrealistic. I am just suggesting we question the content we are watching and do not get distracted from our own lives.
Due to the popularity of Girls, I believe more shows will follow this trend. Representing the imperfect teenager and real situations which are not sugarcoated will hopefully apply to other social situations. It would be truly inspiring if there was a show which had a discourse surrounding the issue of weight. Our generation certainly praises a thin-ideal and this can be seen as the dominant body-type in almost all TV shows and movies. Having a show that lets people know it’s okay if you aren’t skin and bones would be inspiring for girls around the country because it is not healthy or normal to be as thin as actresses in these shows. Another suggestion would be making a complimentary series featuring boys. I found a pretend title mimicking that of Girls. It reads “Boys.” Already suggestions and a discourse is being created about the representation of teenage boys in this society. In terms of addressing other social situations, a show focusing on homosexual relationships and friends could allow for another opportunity for different audiences to identify.
More shows need to be commended for breaking through the clutter instead of being criticized. Ellie mentioned the criticisms the show faced. For instance, the show was accused of being racist due to the fact that the group of four girls were all white. If anything, I think that the lack of economic diversity on mainstream television threatens our democracy, whereas shows such as Girls strengthens and restores democracy. Viewers are already appreciating this new breakthrough of entertainment based on the imperfects and flaws of a group of girls living in New York City. As a result, a second season will be premiering January 13th of 2013. I hope to see effects of the economic situation in more of the characters and am curious to see where their lives go. As I await the premiere of season 2, I certainly won’t forget to remember the reality of my life and hopefully will catch pace with Hannah and have gotten an internship of my own. 🙂
BY: GIANA GIANQUITTI