Why Hustler’s porn parody of HBO’s Girls is really making me angry (and how the reaction to the news is probably even worse than the news itself)

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“Girls”: from left, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, and Jemima Kirke in “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident,” (Season 1, ep. 07, first aired May 27, 2012)

 

Here’s what’s been massively pissing me off today: Hustler has filmed a porn parody of HBO’s GirlsYep, the porn industry is trying to hang on to the coattails of Lena Dunham’s successful TV show and, in doing so, has subverted everything which has made the show successful.

Dunham has lashed out against this, giving three reasons on her twitter account why she just can’t get behind the porn version of her work:

dunham

 

And, of course, she is completely right in saying so. Because by turning Girls into pornography, Hustler has completely missed the point of Girls, as have so many. The excuse is that there is a lot of nudity in the show anyway. What people just don’t seem to get is that there is a huge difference between nudity and pornography. When a woman changes her clothes, or gets into the shower, or becomes intimate with a partner, or just dances around her flat naked simply because nobody’s home, it is not a pornographic act. Hard as it may be for some to believe, not everything a woman does is an attempt to seek sexual approval from men.

The obsession to sexualise everything in order to control it is sick, perverse and, unfortunately, widely accepted as standard. It is why “shut up or I’ll rape you” was an acceptable throwaway joke for boys to use when I was an adolescent. We didn’t question it, although it certainly jarred with me, because it was normal. It is why men still think it is perfectly normal to say something like, “So-and-so gets on my nerves; I’d love to hatefuck her.” This is perfectly acceptable lingo now. People don’t react to it, we don’t bat an eyelid. “Hatefuck” is snarky, funny and cool, right?

When I first heard the news of Hustler’s Girls porn parody, I was browsing the internet and stumbled across this article. The title itself will reveal to you the reporter/publication’s bias (Surprise, surprise! The reporter is a WOMAN. But more about the propagation of female objectification and rape culture by women some other time). The title states this is a parody which the “Porn Stars just want Lena Dunham to understand“. Because, of course, it is Dunham who is being unreasonable here by trying to protect her work and by speaking out against the sex industry. But if you identify as a feminist and have, on occasion, tried to defend/protect your gender against sexualisation in the form of sexist jokes, porn, or misogynist comments, I have no doubt you will have at one time or another been met by this response:

“Oh get over it. It’s just a bit of fun.”

That seems to be the standard response to shut a feminist up, no? “Grow yourself a sense of humour.” It’s fine that we’re getting off on abusing your entire gender. It’s just a joke. Haha. We love you really. Now go make us a sandwich while you’re laughing.

Take a look at the comments on that article I linked to and you’ll get another common response; one I’ve frequently been told myself, in fact: “Oh, you’re just jealous because you’re too ugly/fat/common for people to want to jerk off to you.” Gee whiz. Just listen to my heart shattering.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the value of women: if you’re not going to get your tits out and spread your legs and feel privileged that men now view you as an object (congratulations! you have fulfilled your social duty!) then the only explanation must be that you’re an ugly cow who’s bitter because nobody wants to fuck her. That’s the dichotomy. Sex kitten or bitter hag. To even imagine that women might be intelligent and have a healthy perspective on sex which sees her as an equal in the bedroom and not as a glorified wank-aid, is too much for society to handle. And you know how society deals with intelligent women? They fuck them. Either literally or figuratively.

Girls is intelligent and refused to turn even its sex scenes (some quite graphic, though always simulated) into pornography – opting instead for realistic bumbling awkwardness – so the world retaliated by turning it into porn. AND EXPECTING IT TO BE THANKFUL FOR IT. “Here. We fixed it for you.”

As if that weren’t enough, I was doing research for this blog-post and came across this “article” (if you can call anything the Daily Mail publishes “an article”) entitled: Lena Dunham wears very unflattering denim shorts as she brands Hustler’s Girls porn parody ‘gross’. As if the two facts were somehow inextricable.

Girls star Lena Dunham isn’t happy – and not because of the unflattering outfit that she was forced to wear on the set of the show. The star of the HBO hit is disgusted that adult magazine Hustler is planning a porn version of the series, aptly titled This Ain’t Girls XXX, and she did not hold back her opinion of the proposed project.

Well, shit, Lena Dunham. Don’t you know that you’re meant to look all goshdarned dolled up when you talk about something like your entire concept being shot to shit and turned into pornography? How do you expect people to take you seriously if you look ugly. Girlfriend, put on a tight dress and a bit of lipstick, for crying out loud. Oh, and lose some weight while you’re at it. We all know fat people are just there to be the butts of jokes. Am I right?

According to website Xbiz, ‘In the XXX parody, Hannah (Alex Chance) decides to forsake men, and boyfriend Adam, to experiment with lesbianism. After a few satisfying jaunts she returns to Adam — and mankind.

Silly woman. Doesn’t she know she can’t stay away from men for long? I mean, of course lesbianism is FINE when it’s done for the gratification of a male audience but really, “all every woman wants is some serious deep-dicking“. Right, guys?

People ask me why I identify as a feminist in a world where “feminism” is still a dirty word. This. This stuff right here. This is why I’m a feminist. And it isn’t about hating men. Men are brilliant. They’re fantastic. I love them. I’ve loved quite a few of them. Men are trying to find their way in the world, same as women are. What it’s about is hating that it’s become normal to hate women as “just a bit of fun”.

And if this stuff doesn’t make you just the tiniest bit angry… if the thought of your mother or your sister or girlfriend or daughter being seen in this way by society as a whole doesn’t make you want to change shit up, then there is no hope for any of us.

(My friend Hannah has written a post on how travelling through India made her a feminist. You should definitely read it by clicking here.)

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