“My Life On My Back”: GIRLS and Rape Culture

If you haven’t heard of Lena Dunham’s hit show Girls, you might be living under a bit of a rock. The show has been deemed something you just don’t find anywhere else on TV. Some people love it, some people hate it – some people hate seeing Dunham naked (she not only writes, but also acts, directs, and produces). Left and right, there have been lots of controversy buzzing around both her (not size zero body) and her show.

Lately, season two has taken a dark turn. (Spoiler alerts ahead.) The characters are more isolated than ever. After a failed marriage and hurtful encounter with her emotionally abusive father, Jessa has disappeared into thin air. She is a “free spirit,” but one carrying heavy wounds from her past. Shoshanna no longer has her “dreaded” virginity badge, but she has cheated on her first boyfriend who she “loves.” Marnie has been on a downward spiral since the beginning of the season: sleeping with a gay man, being downsized from her job, becoming a hostess, dealing with a gaping rift between her and her best friend Hannah, and entering a “relationship” because she wants Booth’s life. It seems she was on a slightly better note last weekend when she finally admitted her lifelong dream of wanting to be a singer – but apparently this translated to suddenly singing a terribly slow remix of Kanye’s “Stronger’ at her ex’s party. And then having sex with him. Meanwhile Hannah has fallen back into her OCD ways under the stress of a stalkerish ex-boyfriend (Adam) and a (e-)book deal that she has to finish by the end of the month. She’s so stressed that she punctures her ear with a q-tip. Yeah. That was a ridiculously painful scene to watch. None of the girls are in a good place. In fact, this whole episode reeked of self-destruction and awkwardness.

But the worst of it all is in the scene that people can’t stop talking about. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about: does Adam rape Nat? The episode begins with Nat(alia) and Adam having sex for the first time.  “I’m ready to have sex now,” she announces. They begin kissing as she lists all her preferences. “I like how clear you are,” Adam tells her. “What other way is there?” she asks. It seems that they are going to be a hopeful and cute couple. Continue reading

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