As you may have heard, the backlash against Girls — the new HBO show about four Brooklyn girls with trust funds — has officially kicked off.
Of the criticisms that have directed at the show, and there have been many, one that’s been repeated a few times is how painfully white it is — the show, at least in the pilot, was completely devoid of substantial non-white characters. The only person of color to make an appearance in the show was an comically jolly homeless black man in the final scene. There was also an Asian girl who got like 5 seconds of screentime to say how she was good at Photoshop.
Perhaps if the show were set in rural Nebraska, there would be less made of its lack of color. But it’s set in Brooklyn — one of the more ethnically diverse places in the world, and some are finding it unacceptable that the show appears to be little more than a Brooklyn hipster version of Sex and the City.
In a post for the Hairpin, New York Times tech writer Jenna Wortham, who is bi-racial, writes:
But I definitely did not expect these kinds of girls. They looked like the kinds of girls in college who would push their hands into my freshly teased party hair – without asking – to ask me if my curls were real and whose already overstretched smiles would wobble a little bit when I showed up at the party with my roommates before cautiously asking if I went to school there.
My chief beef is not simply that the girls in Girls are white. I’m a white girl and not a white girl, identified by other people as black and not black for as long as I can remember – which, in mixed people speak means biracial. But the problem with Girls is that while the show reaches — and succeeds, in many ways — to show female characters that are not caricatures, it feels alienating, a party of four engineered to appeal to a very specific subset of the television viewing audience, when the show has the potential to be so much bigger than that.
These girls on Girls are like us, they are like me and they are like you, they are beautiful, they are ballsy, they are trying to figure it out. They have their entire lives ahead of them and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I just wish I saw a little more of myself on screen, right alongside them.
So with all that venom floating around out there, Girls staff writer Lesley Arfin decided to respond with the tweet in the lead image: “What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.” She has since deleted the smart-ass tweet.
When will people learn that silence is the ultimate power move?