Too many of the messages twenty-something women hear about their development have to do with being in control and grabbing the reins. While I’m in favor of being the masters of our own destinies as women, I also want to advocate taking risks that render us a little out of control. Risks that may result in missteps and mistakes, but from which we learn more about ourselves and what we want.
The realism of Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls has been much lauded, or decried depending on who’s doing the commenting. Amidst all of the unsatisfying sex, frank conversations, and sensitive portraits of twenty-something’s, I am most heartened by the way the show takes on the risks inherent in the twenties. The show depicts the painful risk-taking and failures of the twenties, although these are somewhat cushioned by the privileges of money.
The first time I watched the show I found myself cringing at the sex scene in which Hannah goes to her erstwhile boyfriend’s house for sex to make herself feel better after being “fired” from her internship. I was cringing with some horror, but also with recognition. Recognition of the pain involved in taking risks and making mistakes, which the characters in Girls do regularly.