By Samantha Gualito
As expected, Lena Dunham was without clothes in the season three opener of her HBO show “Girls” last week, yet her nudity is still causing controversy two seasons later.
At a recent panel interview, the Wrap reporter Tim Molloy was perplexed as to why Dunham’s character Hannah Horvath frequently appears naked, stating that she “is often naked at random times for no reason.”
Dunham, as she has done numerous times before, replied that she tries to create “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive” with the nudity.
Art almost always imitates life, and Dunham’s show — as much as people love to hate it — does just that, even if it only focuses on white, privileged 20-somethings.
Dunham is not wrong. People do get naked every single day, men and women alike. The problem with “Girls” is that critics often challenge Dunham’s artistic intent with her nudity on the show.
Her intent is to portray real life — that’s it. Arguments about Dunham’s choices and whether or not they can be considered feminist is something that critics like Molloy should be asking instead.
But after two seasons, these critics still don’t get why she is naked on the show. Have they forgotten about how HBO is one of the few places on television where it is okay to be naked? If not, then what is it about Dunham’s naked body that perplexes all these critics?
It may have something to do with proportions. Dunham’s bigger-than-a-size-zero body is not exactly what we would expect to see on television. When we do see a naked woman, she often resembles one of those naked statues without arms, not the girl sitting next to you on the bus.
So be it if her nakedness isn’t titillating audiences the way, say, Kate Upton’s naked body would if she ever chose to. But to keep challenging Dunham takes her artistic intent and turns it into a statement about how “real” women should probably not be naked on television.
Dunham has explained her frequent nudity on the show. You don’t have to agree with it or like it, but challenging her intent — especially going into the third season — doesn’t do any good.
Her naked body should not be taking on this much controversy at this point. There are more ways to talk about the nudity than the way critics like Molloy have been talking about it.
Instead, we should focus on something that we can challenge: the diversity on her show. Diversity is also a part of “being alive,” after all.