Is Anyone Figuring Out Which Girls Character They Are?

But I wonder whether other people are truly relating to them? Or if people, by and large, like them? I generally have a weird, high standard that I hold fictional women to, and these characters, by and large, don’t seem competent in the ways I admire (that is to say, doing well at their jobs, basically, working hard, being polite, not saying things like “maybe I hope I have AIDs” to a gynecologist). So it might just be me. But I think one test of whether or not we actually find television characters appealing is when we try to project our identities onto them.

Whatever you think of her – and God knows she had a ton of shoe debt – there were women who felt that Carrie Bradshaw was not simply speaking to them, but speaking for them. Think about how many times you have heard a woman with man trouble proclaim “I am Carrie. I am such a Carrie.”

People play this game and are delighted by it. If you do not believe me, wait outside any club in the meatpacking district on a Saturday night. The women there still talk about how they are a Charlotte, or a Miranda, and, actually, no one ever says Miranda, but that’s not the point. The point is that a decade after the show ended, people still see themselves – or want to see themselves – in these specific characters.

And I’m not sure if that really happens with Girls. For all people seem to be watching it, I think if you tell someone “You’re such a Hannah!” they will reply “No, my parents do not pay for me in my entirety, and I did not use a suing app to try to sue the boss I sexually manipulated, you utter asshole.” As far as I can tell, no one wants to see themselves in any particular character. No one wants to play this game.

Admittedly, many people will say “I know a girl who is exactly like Hannah” but the subtext on that is “I am really smug about the fact that my life is much better than this one particular friend I have.” If this is really supposed to be the show that speaks for our generation, it seems like women should feel like one of the characters is a representation of them.

Do you? Are you the British one? It’s cool that you seem to get some pleasure out of sex, albeit monstrous pleasure.

Is anyone playing this game? For all people seem to be watching the show, I haven’t really heard anyone doing so, yet. I will make a good faith effort. I’m a Marnie. I attend factory parties looking as though I am on my way to a Junior League cocktail party. I hate myself.

(Oh, hell, despite myself, I hope it works out for these crazy kids.)

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    • Fabel

      I have not watched this show, but based on your description of Marnie yesterday, I’m probably her. I’d be pretty pissed if my boyfriend shaved his head, no matter what the reason (horrible, yes) & I really have no remorse about spilling wine on expensive things.

    • Sonsy

      The only reason I can keep watching is Jessa (the English one) because if it weren’t for her I would be trying to reach through the television and rip out all their ovaries so they can never biologically reproduce. That’s how much I despise the other three.

    • kt

      Yeah, they are all pretty awful. I really, really hate Marnie as she seems to be the most self involved. She doesn’t even seem to like her friends or ANYONE for that matter except men who try to sexually intimidate her.

      I think it’s easier to do the “I’m a Carrie…etc.” thing with SATC because those women were more set up like archetypes rather than “gritty real people”…I mean, we never saw their families, we never really saw them work, we didn’t know much about their chiidhood/ pasts…they were like cartoon characters. Shows that are more down and dirty tend to alienate people’s identity with a character because their are inherently more details about the characters, making them less like you. I can see a little of my earlier self – centeredness in Hannah, but nobody ever paid for shit for me, so I, by extension don’t “feel like Hannah.”

      On a side now, I once had one of those “backhanded” friends who’d tell you a compliment which was really an insult all the time, and she used to say that she was Carrie and I was Miranda because I had short hair. Mind you, I’m the writer who lives in wicker park and she’s the corporate admissions consultant who lives in the Gold Coast. How she fucking thought she was Carrie, I’ll never know.

      • Sam

        That second paragraph = really well articulated and I totally agree. I think having really specific characters is the same as having a really specific, detailed “personality test” or horoscope or something. If they’re detail oriented and well developed with unique reactions and characteristics, it’s so much more difficult to identify with them because they’re not just that broad, “soon you will face great difficulties!” fortunes or “you like to be both wild and straight-laced” analyses. People aren’t going to identify with these characters as easily as more generic ones which, unfortunately, Sex & the City took to a very high level.

    • Sam

      Maybe I’m just a wreck, but I see myself in both Hannah and Jessa. I’m terrified of real life (although I would never ask my parents to keep supporting me…) and have had at least one relationship that involved me really wanting the person to commit but it was nearly impossible to get them to–and even when they did, it was reluctant–so that’s the Hannah-ness in me. The Jessa-ness is that I’m stupidly impulsive and romanticize my own actions sometimes despite my better judgment. These aren’t necessarily things I love about myself, but I do see them in these characters and all of my girlfriends, while we watch, say “OH GOD THAT HAS TOTALLY HAPPENED TO ME” many times. One of them recently broke up with her boyfriend only to desperately regret it when seeing him with another person soon after, so that situation was dead-on regardless of the sadness and the fact that it’s her own fault. I think we’re also all at that soon-after-graduation stage, as well, so maybe that has something to do with it? Who knows; I just know that even though some parts of this show feel weird (like the OBGYN appointment, o’course), I love it a ton and can relate to the situations really well.

      Although I didn’t realize all their names are alliterated until I saw the little paper dolls yesterday and that makes me…conflicted.

    • Jamie Peck

      Your hatred of this show will never stop giving me the sads. It’s funny and true and funny because it’s true! At least, for me and many others. I’m not exactly like any of the characters, but I identify with certain things about all of them. I alternately want to hug and slap them, which is pretty much how I feel about my younger self.

      And Hannah has stopped asking her parents for money! She’s going to figure it out. I don’t know how you could come away from that parental episode not feeling some tenderness towards their relationship, despite the ways in which she is still kind of selfish.

      • Queenie

        I agree! its very relatable for our generation. Sex in the city seemed to unreal. I’m from NY, not many live that lavish life and have scenarios like that. Girls is a fresh slap of reality. The sex is real, the situations are real, the personalities are sewn together perfectly. I love it all.

    • Amy

      I find myself really enjoying this show even though I steadfastly believe that anyone who would enjoy this show must be insane.

    • Angie

      Hannah: She’s a dreamer. She wants to be this ideal she created for herself when she was like 12, the creative, successful, brilliant, grown-up, New Yorker who changes lives with her insightful words… but really she’s just a lost, insecure little girl who has never learned how to take care of herself and now finds herself being forced into adulthood.. which is scary and hard if you have been a pampered child your whole life.

      Marnie: Probably the prettiest fish in her small pond, has based her self image on how she thinks others see her. Her long time boyfriend adores her, worships her, treats her like a precious little princess… she is terribly bored with him and with being stuck on a cushioned pedestal, but she doesn’t really know who to be if she steps off the pedestal. Even in her own eyes, she is one dimensional.. a pretty face, proper behavior, not a risk taker. The ultimate good girl (with a real person inside screaming to get out).

      Jessa enjoys being the sex goddess type. She must always be fun, always be daring. She seems to get a sense of power in using her sex appeal to make men follow her around like hungry children follow an ice cream truck. She is starting to question her lifestyle and the choices she makes.

      Basically, these are all young, flawed, little girls who have been flung into the real world and are trying to figure out who they will eventually become. As obnoxious, selfish, rude and shallow as these characters are, they are also very real and interesting. I enjoy watching them figure themselves out. Good show if you like character development and real girls.

    • M

      I think, to be honest, that it was easier to project your own identity onto the SATC characters because they WERE more likable. Everyone WANTED to be Carrie or Samantha, or sometimes even Charlotte. These girls, like real people, are flawed – there are many things about them that are really, truly hard to love. People do not play the SATC game with Girls not because the characters do not reflect a generation of women, but rather because they reflect that generation as they are, not as they would like to be.

    • Eagle Eye

      Jen – do you think that you don’t like the show because you’re too close in age?

      At 25, idk, the show doesn’t really do much for me, but all of my friends adore the crap out of it, many of whom are pushing 30 and can look back that that time in their lives.

      Maybe we’re too close?

    • L

      That British character? What?! She has no interest in people (and therefore none in culture, and a limited capacity to be interested in herself), which makes her incredibly boring.

      I said this to a PA at work, and before I could get to the good part, the kid was jumping up and down and pointing to herself, saying, me me me! So she does it. Poorly.