Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's a GIRL on TV?

For my project, I am exploring what it means to be a “girl” on television today.  There are three shows currently in their 3rd season (or about to start their 3rd season) with the word “girl” in the title, Fox’s New Girl, CBS’s 2 Broke Girls, and of course, HBO’s GIRLS.  All three of these shows feature young women in their mid-to-late-twenties as protagonists, yet their titles call them girls.  I want to textually analyze these characters lifestyles, jobs, fictional living situations, sexuality, relationships, their race and the race of the other characters on the shows, to figure out what it means to be a “girl” on television.  I will be writing an essay comparing their similarities and differences, and what I believe these characters are lending to the meaning of the word “girl”.  For presenting purposes, I will create a Power Point, with key points high lighted from the essay, and link scenes from each to show examples.

I have found many articles discussing GIRLS, and some about New Girl and 2 Broke Girls.  For the rest of October, I will focus on reading these articles critically and keep looking for more examples.  In early November, I will continue reading articles for others’ examples, but also start re-watching episodes to find specific scenes I want to use as examples.  In mid November, I want to write and edit the essay, so that I have December to create the Power Point.

This project interests me because I enjoy watching all of these shows, and love to hate them a little bit.  I am writing my own television script about young women, so I think examining what other people have created in a similar market is key to my success.  Making a power point will also be a good refresher for me, as I have not made one in years.

I hope this project will be of interest to the class audiance.  And if anyone likes debated what Lena Dunham should have done different in GIRLS, I'm always down for that! 


Albiniak, Paige. "More Years Of Laughs Ahead For Hope, New Girl." Broadcasting & Cable 143.12 (2013): 29. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Bell, Katherine. "“Obvie, We're The Ladies!” Postfeminism, Privilege, And HBO's Newest Girls." Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 363-366. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Daalmans, Serena. "“I'm Busy Trying To Become Who I Am”: Self-Entitlement And The City In HBO's Girls." Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 359-362. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

DeCarvalho, Lauren J. "Hannah And Her Entitled Sisters: (Post)Feminism, (Post)Recession, And Girls." Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 367-370. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Colston, Cherese E., "Seeing the Unseen: Underrepresented Groups in Prime-Time Television" (2013). Senior Honors Theses. Paper 331.

Grdešić, Maša. "“I'm Not The Ladies!”: Metatextual Commentary In Girls." Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 355-358. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Hogan, Victoria S.. (2013). Behind the Scenes: A Look at Socio-cultural Messages in Situation Comedies and their Effects on Gendered Messages. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 15. Available at:

Nygaard, Taylor. "Girls Just Want To Be “Quality”: HBO, Lena Dunham, And Girls ' Conflicting Brand Identity." Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 370-374. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2013. 


  1. I find your topic very interesting but I think you should also discuss the many ways these show miss discussing other aspects of girlhood and/or womanhood, such as discussions of RACE (New Girl has Cece, but is it enough? How is her ethnicity represented?), sexuality (something other than the cis-gendered hetero), language, etc. When watching these shows lately, I think of bell hooks' concept of the oppositional gaze. I would find your project much more compelling if you were able to tackle some of these issues. Yes, finally we have popular shows with female leads and even predominantly female casts (and one is even not too skinny!), but why stick to the same supposed norm that has always been presented us?

    Here are some articles I found:

  2. Thanks so much for your comments and article suggestions. I was always going to consider race in my project, but I guess I didn't really mention that in the proposal, so I will add that. It's kind of a given with all of the flack 2 Broke Girls have received over Han (the diner owner) and by GIRLS all being white. I will check out your suggestions. Thanks again!

  3. I think this is absolutely an issue which needs to be explored. Why are women so very typecast and there are often only a few types of characters they can play. It would be interesting to expand this to explore how and why the cycle perpetuates itself and the impact it has on women.

    This could be of interest