Greater Than the Sum of Our Ladyparts

Well, it took some doing, but the Internet finally filled me with enough umbrage to get me blogging again.

After reading Jezebel’s summation of several critical responses to the latest episode of Girls, here I am, torch in hand, ready to throw down some Realness.

First: I haven’t seen this episode yet. I do watch Girls, and I do enjoy it. However, I am not fangirling Lena Dunham with voracious abandon like so many of my peers. I’m of the opinion that her talent is sometimes a little overrated. Yes, her work is on occasion revolutionary, but at other times the praise she inspires is so… amplified. And I’ll take whatever flak you have to throw at me for saying so.

Still, this post is inspired by the good stuff. Perhaps the best stuff. There are several things that I admire about Ms. Dunham, but so far sparking this conversation is number one on the list. If for some reason you don’t want to read the Jezebel article (though it’s worth a read), here’s the Cliff Notes for what’s happening:

In the latest episode of Girls, the character played by Lena Dunham has a brief, whirlwind love affair with a character played by Patrick Wilson. The critical response has largely been that a girl who looks like Lena Dunham could never – in “real life” – inspire that kind of passion in a man who looks like Patrick Wilson.

Allow me to sum up my feelings about this with my favorite Tavi bitchface.

TG Bface

It has also been argued (by both men and women) that it makes sense because she’s twenty years younger than him, and what guy wouldn’t go for that?

To sum up, the internets are all in a tizzy because ostensibly this could Never Ever Happen in Real Life:

girls-lena-600x-1360597324It is simply too shocking to be believed. Maybe it was a dream sequence??

Since RLB is a blog focused on Positivity, if you need more outrage then I suggest a google search on Girls Season 2 Episode 5 for a healthy dose of righteous indignation. There’s plenty of it out there, and justifiably so. While it’s Sorely Tempting, I also will not rattle on about the double standard that exists in our entertainment culture (LD ≠ PW, but SR = KH?) because again, there are many elaborate and eloquent arguments on that subject that are a mere search engine away.

Instead my plan is to reinforce that Women Are More Than Their Looks, and to do so by countering the disbelief now permeating the Girls Recap Blogosphere with some Truth. In this instance, Truth is known as Pictures of Men Considered to Be Gorgeous With Their “Average” Looking* Partners. Alternate title, Men Who Don’t Need to Date Supermodels to Feel Validated. OR, my new favorite:
Women Are Beautiful In Many Ways For Lots Of Reasons.

*For the purposes of this Truth, “average-looking” will include any woman who falls outside current prevailing stereotypes of what defines female beauty. Women who, like you and me, would never walk a runway or appear in Vogue. For the record, I think every single woman pictured here is Absolutely Beautiful. 

More to the point, thanks to the nature of celebrity, it’s not even up for debate that any one of these men, at any given moment, could up and leave their wife or girlfriend in favor of a smokin’ hot, social-climbing lingerie model or CW TV star. But here they are, loving the women they are with because they are beautiful, and clever, and intelligent, and hilarious, and tenacious, and charming, and dazzling, and loving, and and and and and…






I might get some backlash for including this last one, but here’s some truth from me. In my opinion, Paul Newman is basically the most handsome man who ever lived. He’s at least in the Top Five of All Time. His wife, Joanne Woodward, was a lovely woman. She was also by no means an Elizabeth or Marilyn or Sophia (thought by many to be the most beautiful women of all time). But look at these pictures.

Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman PNandJW2 PNandJW

Look at how much he Loved Her. How much they loved each other. Clearly this love goes beyond the physical, and that’s the kind of love we all want.

Attraction starts with SMELL, people. It’s fucking science. It doesn’t matter where you each fall on some mythical, invented scale of gorgeousness. What matters is how you feel about each other, how you champion one another, and how you LOVE.

End of debate. Drop mic. Lemon out.

6 thoughts on “Greater Than the Sum of Our Ladyparts

  1. This is such a dumb fucking argument. Not yours, by the way. I agree with you. I don’t understand why this is even a conversation. Wait, it’s not. This is just one of those things that happens when people need to bitch about something. As a fan of bitching about things, I see know problem with having this conversation in your kitchen, at a bar, etc., but bringing it up as a legitimate point of contention with a show is stupid. I’ve seen one episode of Girls, and it was fine, but I didn’t particularly like it. I found it unrealistic in terms of the shittiness of the characters created (I don’t know that many self-important people who all hangout together), not about whether they share baths or fuck people “out of their league” (something that I don’t think exists, by the way).

  2. Part of the issue with the episode, though, is that the sex happened pretty early on… arguably before any other non-sex-drive factors had much of a chance to be the reason for whatever attraction. That is, sure, people of subjectively different attraction levels meet and stay together for very long periods of time ala your photo examples above, but likely all of those examples above also didn’t have sex with each other within 10 minutes of their introduction.

    I can see both sides. This episode was definitely plausible but not that probable.

    1. “…plausible but not that probable.” Such is the case with a countless number of movies and tv shows when it comes to romance, sex, and relationships. What’s most interesting to me is the vehement response to this particular pairing/scenario on this particular show. How often have any of us, Ever, had a sexual encounter that happend so instantaneously? Still, that’s not why everyone is suddenly up in arms, shouting “that would Never Happen!” from behind their computer screens.

      So people can’t suspend their disbelief for Lena and Patrick and their brief affair, but it’s perfectly reasonable that Katherine Heigel would pursue Seth Rogan, Julia Roberts is a hooker, people are constantly forgiving their partners for leaving them at the altar in search of what their ‘heart needs’, Zooey Deschanel is ‘awkward’, and *Salma Hayek is married to Adam Sandler*?? Not to mention the entire plot line of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

      In the romances of film and tv, we tolerate and accept so much that is not even plausible, let alone probable, but for some reason This Moment in the lives of these two people is simply preposterous. Based on the reactions I’ve read, that reason boils down to an obnoxiously narrow perspective: people do not see Lena Dunham as a ‘hot girl’, so her sexual candor and agency over her own body is unbelievable. This perspective is at the root of why women are so often not taken seriously in the entertainment industry, and I cannot applaud Lena Dunham loud enough for constantly challenging such a dated, ignorant, and bullshit standard for what makes a woman valuable.

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