Despite the odd and unexpected finale of the new HBO series Girls, this is not a rant about how much I despise or can't relate to the show.
There are many that love twenty-six year old, Lena Dunham's creation and can relate to the four, educated, twenty-something white girls. And there are others including James Franco, who feel like, "the guys in the show are the biggest bunch of losers," and that the story doesn't represent him or the diversity of his (I'm assuming) MFA, Columbia peers. The issue of Girls' homogeneity, especially in a neighborhood like Greenpoint (which despite the influx of hipsters, is still culturally diverse) has been debated in the media since the release of its pilot episode, but as a Latina and first generation New Yorker, I am here to tell Lena Dunham, her stories do apply to me.
Girls resonates with any woman who is in her early twenties regardless of education, household income and ethnicity. The only requirements to join the 'Girls' club is that you are or have experienced life within your twenties. We have all dated losers, we have all had awkward sex where you think you know what someone wants only to find yourself shopping in the West Village at 2am for handcuffs. Unless you are one of those blessed individuals with a sense of 'who cares' guiding your life, the insecurities displayed in the show resonate with you. Again, we have all had those moments where we feel ugly and fat even though our loved ones shower us with compliments. Anyone who is ambitious and has had to deal with the disadvantages of graduating post recession can relate to Hanna (Dunham's character), going from one dead-end job to the next, only to make ends meet. Am I saying that I could care less about the show's whiteness? Of course not.
I want to see characters of different ethnic backgrounds next season, but to quote Jon Caramanica of the New York Times, "What's a worse fate: clumsy token diversity or honest whiteness?" I don't want Dunham to write in a Latina just to temper all the criticism. I want to see a Latina character who is complex and rid of the same amount of idiosyncrasies that plague the other girls. I want to see a Latina that resembles me and my friends. Someone who had to bust her butt to become the first person to graduate from college in her family. Someone who struggles with maintaining her identity because she chooses to date men outside of her race. Someone who is close to her family even though they don't support her financially. Someone who is constantly asked slightly racist questions from her white friends, but not out of malice but from a place of ignorance. Someone who may not be a girl, but is definitely a 'chica.' If Dunham can capture this next season, she will achieve something that no other show is doing: expressing diversity without tokenism. If she can't, I doubt viewers would mind. Either way I'll still be watching.
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