Obseshes

The Relative Transgressions of 'Girls'

By Kate Carraway

The discussion around Lena Dunham’s body (her body!) last week after an episode of Girls where she spends a couple of days having sex with Patrick Wilson—who I find creepy and unappealing but who the Man Internet decided was waaaay too hot for Dunham and who would never put it in her—was too ubiquitously retarded to do anything but turn one’s face away from the sickly yellow glow of it. This is always my move, if I can get away with it, to grow silent and silenter, and hum through all of the mansplaining and subsequent girlsplains to connect to what I actually think about it without the howling directives of one million faster-faster-faster online essays. And what emerged for/fascinated me about Lena Dunham’s Body is not her body itself (which, of course, features a traditionally correct waist-hip ratio, some thickness and some thinness, and breasts that belong on a high school senior, like, calm yourselves) but her more general aesthetics: her hair, her teeth, her tattoos, her clothes. None of this—none of what is called “beauty” and “style” by magazines and therefore Official Girl World—is foregrounded in the same way as her body (again: a normal body, if not a normal TV body), probably because you don’t have sex with your hair and teeth and tattoos and clothes (welllll, sort of your teeth sometimes if they like that) and sex is so important to the show, and the nudity so frequent and casual.

You do, though, perform your girlness with your beauty and style and mien and attitude and whatever. These particular aesthetics, these machinations and markers of “beauty” and “style” have a lot more to do with who a girl is to herself and among girls and eeeeeven among a lot of men than what your butt is like. (See: Jessa and Marnie discussing Hannah’s “shiny forehead” in a way they’d never discuss her thighs, because such are girl-rules; how Hannah’s black fishnet stockings indicate what kind of self-destructive/self-actualizing Adam-sex she wants, and how Hannah’s yellow fishnet shirt indicates her coke haze and her a priori decision to be whoever and do whatever for her work and so for herself; how every printed blouse and romper and short short, and plastic dress and J-Lo earring and Age of Innocence fan club feather jacket function perfectly and quietly as sociocultural and aspirational shorthand; how Hannah, who is the least “sex goddess”-y of the Girls girls, but easily the most fun, routinely gets with the cutest and most wantable dudes.) Both Lena and Hannah maintain this sort of squiggly, no-color hair (in real life Lena has a cayuuute pixie cut); unorthodontiaed teeth; teenager tattoos; clothes that don’t fit the body (her body!) that men do—on the show, in life—want to fuck. Outside of total lifestyle revisionism, really changing a body’s shape is not possible. In both spheres—Lena Dunham’s more than Hannah Horvath’s—these ways of doing “beauty” and aesthetics are mutable, “fixable,” easily untransgressive, just easy, especially in the context of television. So what Lena is willing to do, or not do, with her beauty, is the same as what she has done with her body, even though it’s been subsumed so thoroughly in every stripe of criticism and commentary because we’re more used to seeing worn-out, scuffed-up flats than a naked, normal ass and titties. And that’s it for this week’s “Girls Corner.”

THIS

The video for the Zig Zags’ “Love Alright” and just “Love Alright,” and how the Zig Zags are, if not actually haunted by the ghost of Indian Jewelry, then double-cheek-kissed by it. This will probably be meaningless to you, but this is about me.

KURT

Kurt, Kurt! I was so little; all the boys wore their Nirvana shirts to school (I wasn’t allowed one, not then); Courtney went on television; it was our first grief. I guess because Wednesday “would have been” his birthday (fuck this so profoundly that the “f” part of the “fuck” gets stuck like the point of an arrow before the other sounds can even penetrate), his “style legacy” (ACTUAL QUOTE) is being diagramed on the darkest, most cynical side of the internet, where there is also a “mohair cardigan in honor of” (ACTUAL QUOTE). Just, fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff.

HIGH PONY

I’m really liking a high pony with a side-bang, especially right now that my hair is so blond it’s blue, and it’s saying something about the 1950s but also not.

W/E-ING

New alternative to phone sex: when a guy you’re w/e-ing texts you about the different kinds of masturbations he’s doing at his house—not to get off or get you off, just, like, as a weather report. Kind of sweet?

PANCAKE TERROR

I like that thing when you forget about something amazing that is in the world. Leaving amazing things behind and then finding them again is AAAAAHHHH. I feel this way about my favorite baseball hat, which I found in a box, and pancakes, which I don’t order at restaurants because they reformulate inside my body as an angry crone with mile-long fingers just wringing and wringing the white flour and sugar out of the digesting pieces and flicking them into my bloodstream so I have to either sit on the pavement or throw up in basement bathrooms. But did you know you can make pancakes at home where your bed is? It’s true.

VINE

The problem with Vine is that when you really like someone’s Vine… ry? Vinery? You have to watch it nine or 60 times in a row just to memorize all of the background details and their speech patterns and guesstimate what intersection they’re at.

Previously - Vin Diesel's Cream-Colored Long Johns

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway

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