On the bright side, Girls doesn't contain any body or slut shaming. Hannah is not a conventionally attractive lead, and yet we see her stripped down to her underwear (in episodes to come) and sexualized. Like the aforementioned sex, this is something that this series obviously understands about what women want to see on television and what is missing from the dialogue -- a representation of what another type of female body looks like. Hannah sitting around in an intimate post-coital state and talking about reclaiming her body was one of my favorite moments in the pilot. When her idiot hook-up partner Adam (Adam Driver) asks about her seemingly random tattoos that she got in high school, her explanation was impeccable: "Truthfully, I gained a bunch of weight very quickly and I just felt very out of control of my own body, and it was just this, like, riot grrrl idea and I was like, 'I'm taking control of my shape!'" The female body, as Ashley Judd will tell you, is not on display for the patriarchy to deem "good enough," nor are we waiting around to be finally redeemed by society and allowed to be "real" because of our "curves" -- Hannah has a body which she uses to have sex with, go to her job with and do drugs with, and it's allowed to be naked whenever she wants it to be. Yes, it may be Dunham's actual figure, but in Girls, Hannah's nudity signifies what is hopefully a new pattern in modern television: women of all shapes and sizes doing whatever they want with their bodies, playing any and every role unapologetically.
My friend and colleague Leigh Alexander recently explained the current status quo well: "I know I'm not allowed to think that what men think is important. I am not allowed to feel insecure about my desirability ever because I need to be A KICKASS AWESOME INSPIRING FEMALE HEROINE and if I want anyone to think I am attractive or 'wife material' that means I am participating in the evil patriarchy and I have been brainwashed by the ad industry and social conditioning or whatever." By simply having a woman without clothes on not hate her figure/weight nor exist solely as a sex object for a man nor absolutely love her body 100 percent nor be so straight-up brave, Girls does a service to womankind -- something hinted at when Adam whispers to Hannah mid-thrust: "You modern career woman. I know what you like. You think you can come in here and just talk all that noise?" Maybe the guy she's sleeping with right now is a complete a-hole, but Hannah enjoys having sex with him, and neither her body nor sex with him doesn't exist so that the audience can laugh at the idea of a woman wanting to have it in the first place.