In a time when the concepts of diversity and race are such hot-button topics, it’s easy to hate Lena Dunham and her new show on HBO, “Girls.” With its all-white cast of female characters scrambling to make it in New York City — with help from their parents, the show has come under fire for its lack of diversity and showcase of white privilege.
Part of me understands and can even appreciate the criticism. As a Korean-American woman, I know how it feels to be unrepresented or misrepresented on television shows that are nearly always written by white men. After reading all the negative reviews, I decided to take a look for myself. When I was finished with a couple episodes, however, I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. The main issues with the show are not at all unique to “Girls” — many other popular shows have all-white leading actors despite their metropolitan settings.
It’s a little bewildering to me that “Girls” has been picked as the show to attack, when it exhibits some great qualities many other shows lack. For one, it features creator, executive producer and lead actress Lena Dunham, whose experiences are the basis for the program. Dunham, who is not considered commercially attractive, holds her own on set not because of her looks but for her intelligence, ambition and humor. In the show, Dunham makes fun of her white privilege instead of placing it on a pedestal. Rather than add offensive token characters, the show attempts to produce something real and familiar — just girls.
Television has a long way to go before it acknowledges everyone, but for now, I’m impressed with Dunham and very curious as to what “Girls” has in store.
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