BROWN GIRLS FOR LENA

 –illustration by  Zelda Galewsky

–illustration by Zelda Galewsky



–written by Bianca Betancourt


I was 18, I was stranded in the midst of an outer Chicago suburb for the duration of my first college winter break, and I had a shiny new iPad. It was then, during midnight binge sessions after my little sister (whom I shared a room with for the season) had gone to sleep, that I discovered the world of HBO’s Girls

Though at the time the show’s supposedly determined “scandalous” scenarios weren’t completely relatable to my freshly free of high school experiences, I was instantly hooked. In a similar way as to how Carrie Bradshaw and friends captured the “if only I could dream” city wishes of starving women writers and fledgling fashionistas everywhere, Lena Dunham’s Girls storyline seized the fermentation of desperation that oozes from all millennial twenty-somethings: we all are working to be somebody in a society that could care less. 

The proof of the accuracy of Dunham’s depiction of millennials today didn’t need the journalistic backing of the millions of think pieces that analyzed and compared the show’s antics to those of young people today. The proof was evident on every sidewalk in Brooklyn, Portland, Chicago and San Fran–we moved to these cities to be far away from our parents, aim for our unrealistic art oriented career goals and lie about being fine being broke–as long as we can afford the rent of our designated brownstone walk-up. 

It wasn’t until Girls was entering it’s third season, where it wasn’t a question of who watched it but why you weren’t–where I was beginning to be chastised for my outward support of Lena Dunham and her show. 

Comments, like lighthearted ones from my brother along the likes of of course I liked the show since I was “white” were easier to shrug off then remarks from fellow female friends and colleagues who said I shouldn’t support someone who doesn’t support “my kind” or “girls like me”. 

It was on more than one occasion I spent a walk to the train contemplating what those comments meant. 

No I wasn’t white, and no my upbringing wasn’t the hush hush extravagance Dunham supposedly lived as an adolescent. But aside from the color of my skin, my dreams were the same as Dunham, showcased in the media in her real life, and in the hyperbolized versions reflected in the episodes of Girls. I unadmittedly want to be a voice of a generation that’s said to have no morals or goals. It’s why I do what I do, no matter how much money going into finances or neuroscience would make me. 

More importantly, I’m a product of a mixed-race marriage raised in an almost color-less town, where thankfully I never lost my sense of self, culturally, and saw no barriers between myself, my goals, and a the two-percent ran world–which is why I’m a brown girl who’s here for Lena.

Because as important as it is to be culturally and socially aware of the mishaps and outright wrongs that are endlessly slapped in front of us on a daily basis, it’s even more important to hustle through them all without a sigh. In the end, we, as women, will gain and attain more by working together and supporting each other. Our skin may be brown, but our achievements and expected success, will ultimately be colorless.