When the first season of Girls premiered on HBO, Lena Dunham caught a lot of slack because of the lack of “color” in the cast. Although the series centered around young women living in Brooklyn, NY, diversity did not exist. In their version of Brooklyn, which happens to be a lot of people’s version of Brooklyn, it was lily-white. Even though it was met with criticism and opposition, the show went on to become yet another HBO hit, and even received four Emmy nominations. Although winless at the Emmy’s, Lena Dunham’s success seems to be going full speed ahead.
Recently, Dunham spoke at Fortune magazine’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit, described how she felt “heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated.” Dunham also said the second season of Girls will feature more characters and some of them will be “of color”. She said she did this in response to viewers, “who are women of color who want to see themselves reflected on-screen.” “All I want to do is make women feel excited and included by the show,” she said.
In my own post about Girls, ironically the one thing that didn’t bother me was the lack of diversity. I was more annoyed at the hipster sympathy and forced provocativeness I sensed from the writing and characters. As a fan of Dunham’s film, Tiny Furniture, it didn’t matter to me that there weren’t any people of color in the show. As a woman with a diverse circle of friends, I realize that not everyone’s clique is full of diversity, and maybe this was just Dunham’s reality. Just as I couldn’t relate to Carrie Bradshaw in Sex In The City, and the oversexed and expensive shoe wearing women. I couldn’t relate to the characters in Girls, not because they were white, but because I’m not a hipster, that’s 20-something and living off my parent’s money.
I’m pretty sure Dunham realized there was a lack of diversity from the get-go, but maybe she didn’t realize that she’d receive backlash from it? In an effort to allow for more diversity, will she add a token Asian or Black friend? Maybe a Black boss? Who knows, but I guess the complainers now got what they wanted.