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Lena Dunham and "Girls" is a triumph for real nudity
These days, we’re not exactly unaccustomed to seeing acres of bare flesh romping across our television screens. Count the minutes down to the watershed, and then suddenly everything’s less CBEEBIES and more CBOOBIES (Game of Thrones springs particularly to mind, here). Apart from amongst the most prudish of us, nudity on TV is now accepted as perfectly normal. So when someone undressing onscreen causes a bit of a stir, it’s worth taking a look at why.
Series two of HBO’s Girls has just started airing across the pond, and with it comes a return of the palaver surrounding Lena Dunham’s oft-disrobed body. American shock-jockey Howard Stern this week caused controversy by declaring that being subjected to Dunham in the altogether “kind of feels like rape” (yes, Howie, that is exactly what rape is like – something you can flip off with a switch), and the New York Post was only slightly less offensive, referring scathingly to her on-screen nudity as “pathological exhibitionism”. For all the howls of enraged anguish, you’d think that the girl had literally barged into everyone’s kitchens whilst they were having breakfast and whacked her baps out all over the table.
But no: the only thing that Dunham is ‘guilty’ of is not having the type of body we’re used to seeing on television sets and in the media. This isn’t the picture-perfect, unrealistically-proportioned body that’s been airbrushed to within an inch of its life. It’s a body that you wouldn’t be particularly surprised to see in your mirror, or inhabiting the outfits of friends - and which is all the more remarkable for its being unremarkable.
For all the championing of “healthy body image” and so-called “real women” that women’s mags often cynically pretend to employ (whilst simultaneously ripping celebrities to shreds for having the merest hint of cellulite), the range of what variety of female body is deemed attractive is still as narrow as the women defined within it. This week, for example, Grazia is running a “Happy Body” issue, featuring a covershoot with Daisy Lowe. Lowe is described variously as “curvy”, “not skinny” and having “thunder thighs”, and is thus deemed suitable as the face of the campaign. And yet the next paragraph tells you that she is a tiny size eight - size eight, yet still regarded as being larger than what’s deemed usual or acceptable for female celebrities. And this is a campaign that is ostensibly claiming to challenge negative body image.
So there’s something progressive – almost revolutionary, in fact - about the approach to nudity in Girls. Rather than being sexualised flesh, designed to titillate, this is matter-of-fact flesh; uninhibited flesh that owns its own sexuality, and reminds us that there can be other reasons for nudity other than satisfying the male gaze. Dunham is as likely to be seen naked on screen eating cake as she is to be seen naked within a sex scene. More refreshing still is her refusal to apologise for not having the so-called “perfect shape”. “My response is, get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die”, is her unapologetic reply to critics. APPLAUSE.
“Seeing the flab and the flaps and the veins and the cellulite and all those other little so-called 'flaws' that make a body a human body can be quite a shock when you're used to the plasticised vision of femininity that we're constantly bombarded with by magazines and advertising,” says Rhiannon Cosslet, editor of popular feminist blog Vagenda, “When you see another woman's body in real life, you suddenly think 'oh, I'm normal.' It's not just comforting, but a bit empowering too. You realise that it is, after all, just a body, and that we all have them.”
Personally, I like to take every opportunity to get my boobs out; they are a constant source of amusement to me. There is nothing that I ever don’t find hysterical about the fact that there are fleshy meat-sacks hanging off the front of me, billowing and dangling away down there. We have to live in our skin, every day, and my feeling is that we might a
- Good for her. Seriously.
- but who wants to see "real" nudity on TV? We can see that at home.
- She is the most hated woman in the US now.
- How about showing some of the "real men" fully nude on her show? Now that would be controversy I could enjoy.
- R4 I could not agree more that there is a double standard. In films it's common to see female nudity. Yet, since that very thing amongst men makes a large segment of the movie buying demographic uncomfortable, it's relegated to what we call art or independent films. A movie that shows two hot, young, straight, females engaging in a little girl-on-girl action will be talked about as a hot scene (think Black Swan), whereas a similar scene with two men will get the "gay theme" label. If straight women can suck it up and stare at silicone for all these years, I'm sure that straight men can handle looking at skin too.
- Once again, the "REAL women need to appear on TV" platitudes get thrown around, but it's something nobody really cares about when push comes to shove.
- [quote]Count the minutes down to the watershed, and then suddenly everything’s less CBEEBIES and more CBOOBIES (Game of Thrones springs particularly to mind, here).
What the fuck does this even mean? What are CBEEBIES?
- British article- CBeebies is a TV channel for toddlers.
- Ugh, if by "triumph" you mean "hideous fat cunts jiggling their nasty cellulite-ridden pear-shaped saddlebags all over the place".
It is disgusting. Television should not reflect real life, or the everyday woman...as a poster upthread said, if men wanted to see dumpy cunts, they'd look at their wives. Where has the glamour gone? Where is beauty? It's all so tragic and revolting now.
- [quote] Where has the glamour gone? Where is beauty? It's all so tragic and revolting now.
- Andre Leon Talley weighing in.
- The show seems to be her fantasy of what she would like her life to be. And she is a bit of a sell out. She has been criticized for the lack of diversiity on the show so she creates a character who is male and black and who just happens to love fucking her. Never mind that he comes off more gay than her room mate. And of course we knew he wasn't going to last too long. In a rather contrived plot twist, he broke up with her after a heated discussion on race. Then there is Adam's supposed obsession with her. This doesn't ring true. He didn't really care about her in the beginning of the show and I think men tend to size up pretty quickly if a woman is going to be a casual fuck or something more. They rarely change their minds. Bottom line, she needs to keep her clothes on and show more of what makes the character tick and where she is going.
- There's a double standard on the double standard. If "regular" men were naked on TV with their 5 inch cocks, they would be ridiculed for having micropenis.
- "Where has the glamour gone? Where is beauty? "
The modern version of glamour has lost any connection with beauty. Plastic surgery, steroids, spray tans, manscaping, hair extensions, starvation diets, it's all become grotesque.
It's gotten so bad, I'd rather see ordinary people being naked!
- [quote]Television should not reflect real life, or the everyday woman...as a poster upthread said, if men wanted to see dumpy cunts, they'd look at their wives. Where has the glamour gone? Where is beauty? It's all so tragic and revolting now.
I'm pretty sure I've read your comments before and now I think I understand your obsessive ugliness about Girls and Lena Dunham. This quote says so much more about you than you realise. It's sad that you rely on tv to give you an escape from your hated 'reality'.
- [quote]There's a double standard on the double standard. If "regular" men were naked on TV with their 5 inch cocks, they would be ridiculed for having micropenis.
Who said they'll be erect?
- I don't want to see hot women naked on TV. Why the hell would I want to see Lena Fucking Dunham naked?
- Dumpy Cunts would be a great name for an all-girl band.
- [quote]"get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die”, is her unapologetic reply to critics.
So young, so naive........so embarrassing.
What an ego she has to assume there will always be a appetite for her exhibitionism. The clock is ticking and she's on minute 13.
Most people don't want to see her 'young' fat thighs. NO ONE will want to watch her jiggle them around when she's 100. Hollywood is not kind to even the most beautiful woman as they age. She won't even be able to get a reality show once she hits 40, much less when she's 100.
Oh yeah, and those tattoos will look great on her saggy 100 y/o ass too.
- It's a triumph for twee hipsterism.
- Let's all hold our breath waiting for real nudity to include men on tv to happen....men are chicken shit but expect women to show it all.
- [In a rather contrived plot twist, he broke up with her after a heated discussion on race.]
Oh really? Did it escape your notice that she was disgusted when she discovered the extent of his Republican political and social views?
No one wants to fuck a freeper.
- That's why I applaud the great men of 'Oz', R22.
- R15 = fat girl who still thinks that playing "you're a sad hater of reality" card she heard a popular girl will make her seem smart and snappy.
Sorry, Chunks. The world requests you keep your clothes on, too, when it's around.
- There is nothing "thriumpant" about being fat and showing it to the world.
I understand that the majority of women in Hollywood are abnormally thin but, being fat is also abnormal.
Lena Dunham is not "empowering" or "normalizing" fat girls. She is making a mokery of them and herself.
She may have a bit of talent as a writer but, she is a lousy actress and should stay behind the scene.
- This thread is useless ....etc
- Since when is sitting on a toilet naked and [italic]eating[/italic] a "triumph for real nudity"? Who the fuck does this?
I'm reminded of a story a friend told me about when he was drafted back in the late '60s. He'd gone through the whole induction process over an exhausting sleepless two day period, traveling from Chicago to wherever he was sent for basic. Finally at the end of the second day, he went to the latrines before lights out to find some guy taking dump while eating a Twinkie. And without batting an eyelash, the guy said "Hey, there! How 'ya doin'?" in a very southern accent. Can you imagine? Exhausted, tired, scared, homesick, and just plain sick.
- Eldergays get upset over a chunky, naked youngster.
- She is 26. Why does she refer to herself as a "girl" in interviews?
- And here I thought the hipsters were all about the skinny jeans.
- I knew a fat, humpbacked, mentally ill exhibitionist like her. She finally got sober and stopped pissing in the streets but kept working in bars and shacked up with this other crazy woman who would introduce herself to strangers by shoving her hand down their pants and shaking their genitalia.
- This show should be used in Guantanamo Bay instead of waterboading..
- I watched this show last night and it's creepy more than anything else.
Was she wearing a diaper and a baby hoodie/towel? She seems to spend much of her non-naked time in shorts sets. Those are for children. Will she start wearing a baby cap next and carrying a lollipop?