Published on February 26, 2014 | by Nina Hoogstraate


Nudity and Girls

headshot of Nina Hoogstraate

Nina says she loves the rawness of HBO’s ‘Girls’ [Seren Jenkins]

Girls is like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. In my view, the show is absolutely amazing (as is Dunham). It’s funny, frustrating and sometimes fairly depressing, but most importantly, it feels real. Almost anyone in their mid-twenties can relate to their daily lives: the moaning, bitching, the lack of money, the hangovers… everything. Even the nudity.

There’s been a massive discussion about why Hannah Horvath (aka Lena Dunham) should, or shouldn’t, sport the au naturel look on her super awesome HBO series Girls.

Tim Molloy, journalist at TheWrap (as well as many other publications over the course of the series’ existence) has made a substantial fuss about the amount of times Dunham shows her bits in Girls.

At the Television Critics Association press tour, Molloy asked Dunham why Hannah is seen naked so much on the show, “at random times for no reason”.

The journalist said the scenes did not arouse him, whereas the nudity found in Game of Thrones did, commenting: “They are doing it to be salacious and, you know, titillate people.”

Sexual context

In my opinion, Molloy pretty much answers his own question – why do people need a reason to be naked?

In Hollywood, with both TV and films, there seems to be this ‘rule’ that being naked must be within a sexual context. Unless of course you’re what popular culture deems as ‘fat’ or ‘chubby.’ Then it just can’t be sexy.

In Game Of Thrones there are a great deal of scenes involving naked women. AOL even has a video compiling all of them together in 16 minutes. All of these scenes are, in one way or another, sexualised.  The women involved are not casually walking from the bedroom to the kitchen to make a cup of tea in their birthday suit.

Plus, the women in Game of Thrones all, unsurprisingly, have the perfect-popular-media-influenced body: nice ass, the breast size just under a handful (because anything extra is a waste), the stomach nicely toned etc.


This is the epitome of today’s society and the way women should (apparently) look: it is sending all the wrong signals to teenage girls who feel pressurised to have this ‘perfect’ body.

For example, my 16-year-old sister has given up eating bread because she’s scared of getting fat. If I were to ask her to eat it, it would take me 15 minutes to convince her to take just one bite of a slice of wholegrain (no exaggeration).

So I guess you could say that Dunham , through her naked scenes, is protesting against ‘the man’ – the sexist, misogynistic one, and the societal one. As she explained to Molloy, her character’s nudity represents “a realistic expression of being alive.”

Make of it what you will – artistic expression, publicity stunt, who cares? Why does it matter who is naked? Or, more importantly, why they are naked?

Surely being in the nude is pretty standard for anyone and everyone? I guess it’s different if you’re in the comfort of your own humble abode and not on a TV screen viewed by millions of people. But still, at the end of the day it’s just a human being without any clothes on, and Dunham is doing it for all the right reasons; she’s making a stance for all the people – not just women – who are made to feel uncomfortable in their own skin.


Esquire made a good point in saying that the level of nudity in the show can also be interpreted as humorous. Countless actors, writers and comedians have used their body to get a laugh.

Not that Dunham’s body is something to joke about, but the episode of her in a yellow mesh top whilst off her tits on cocaine is undeniably hilarious, and it shows an aspect of nonchalance and self-reassurance.

I can promise you that no one would be making a fuss at all if Natalie Dormer were to play Hannah’s role. Dunham isn’t conventionally pretty and, like most of America, is slightly overweight, but it’s this that makes the entire show so raw and truthfully brilliant. She also has awesome tattoos, which we wouldn’t have seen if Hannah was wearing clothes all the time.

People need to stop making a big deal out of controversies that aren’t doing anyone any harm, and start embracing the beauty of reality.



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