“Girls” writer, director and star Lena Dunham stopped by the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday to speak alongside her mother, visual artist and filmmaker Laurie Simmons. Although titled “Mother and Daughter: Voices of Two Generations,” the event touched critically upon the HBO hit’s most memorable quote: “I am the voice of my generation. Well, maybe a voice.”
There’s no denying the latter. The series has successfully tugged at twenty-somethings’ heartstrings. Students struggling to find themselves have called the comedy “relatable”–Emerson students sure have fallen under Dunham’s spell. But, is the 26-year-old really the voice of today’s millennials?
According to BuzzFeed, Dunham admitted during her talk: “I don’t think I ever imagined that [the quote] would haunt me the way it is. … But if my writing can show what it’s like to be young, I’m happy.”
Here is what Dunham has flawed about being young, however:
College Debt Actually Exists
The average student loan debt hovers near $27,000. Considering New York City is the most expensive place to live in the United States, there’s no way the series’ stars could survive off their coffee shop, cocktail waitressing jobs. Real twenty-somethings are saddled with the nationwide financial burden that exceeded one trillion dollars last year. When are the characters complaining about that?
And so does Ambition
Millennials are supposed to be “ambitious,” right? Too bad the girls on “Girls” aren’t. Dunham’s character Hannah threw a fit in the show’s opener when her parents told her they were cutting her off. Sure, she mused about publishing her book of essays, but that day never dawned, and how is only one part-time job allowing her to make ends meet?
Marnie worked in a gallery for a season or so, but after she lost her job, she went on the hunt for all of two seconds before succumbing to her spandex-spun waitress uniform. Before you ask, “What’s wrong with waitressing,” the answer is “nothing.” But anyone who watches the show knows she gave up the job search after one interview.
Hundreds of recent graduates are passing their days by going on multiple interviews, or juggling two, three or four part-time jobs so they can afford to live in their shoebox-sized apartment. Speaking of which…
Most Millennials’ Apartments Aren’t That Big
Especially in New York. The traditional twenty-something’s apartment is a hallway, and comes complete with at best IKEA furniture and the lingering stench of the downstairs Chinese restaurant open 24/7. Even Bob’s Discount Furniture is out of the price range, because…
We’re Not All Partying in Warehouses
Or trying cocaine for stories. Or dating a guy who has never-going-to-happen dreams of becoming a woodworking artisan, but survives courtesy of his Grandmother’s monthly checks. Surprising, I know.
What Dunham did get right, however:
Is That We Should All Think Like This:
Dunham’s final piece of advice yesterday, according to BuzzFeed, was certainly spot on:
That’s the piece of advice I always give when kids or adults approach me saying, “I want to write and I want to know what your tip is for breaking through and making people read your work.” To never fit yourself into a mold of what you think Hollywood needs, what NBC needs in its 9:30 slot. The more you go into your own experience, if you express your truth, it’s going to resonate with someone.
Perhaps instead of living by “Girls,” you should be living by Dunham.
To see photos of Dunham in Boston, check out the photos below.