This Girls ‘Nepotism’ Poster Illustrates The Privilege Backlash Against Lena Dunham And Her Co-Stars

Girls "nepotism" poster Lena Dunham Allison Williams Zosia Mamet Jemima Kirke

For the most part, we were fans of Lena Dunham‘s new HBO series Girls because we felt that it captured the awkwardness and struggles of our twenties with more realism than we’ve seen on television before. But a new joke poster seems intent on arguing against that point, by showing that the comedy’s four stars are not the Everywomen we’re hailing them as. This Girls nepotism poster began making the rounds on the internet over the past twenty-four hours. Instead of the actresses’ names, it brands each girl by her famous parent.

The most obvious for me are Allison Williams, with her famous father Brian Williams from NBC, and Zosia Mamet, whose father is the playwright David Mamet. But Jemima Kirke‘s dad is a drummer, and Lena’s mother is an artist, so both girls have also known more success and privilege than your average twentysomething. And that can be upsetting for viewers, who are meant to take these characters as indicative of the Millennial generation.

The Jane Dough lauded the poster, arguing that it would have brought much more gravity to the show to cast at least one person who didn’t have familial ties within the entertainment industry:

Hollywood is an “all about who you know” business, but I’ve been most inspired by its success stories of people who worked their way up through persistence and talent without the celeb parents boost, and just one of these types could have brought some balance to Girls.

Weirdly enough, backlash to this backlash poster came from actor Crispin Glover, who wrote an insightful rebuttal on his Tumblr. You should read the whole thing, but here’s the beginning:

I don’t think people understand what a hot load of misogyny this mock poster is blowing. There is no doubt that privilege gets us everything in life. But there is also no way that HBO is going to give someone a TV show based solely on who their parents are. The channel that does that is E!, ok? It makes me so angry that everyone wants to reduce the hard work and creativity and risks that went into this show to nepotism.

To be fair, these young women are famous within New York circles, but not to the public at large. Not everyone sees Mamet plays or goes to Bad Company shows, so to many viewers these girls might as well be unknowns. If it only bothers young women struggling to make it in New York… well, as the show proves, we’ve got a lot more important things to worry about.

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Photo: Newsweek’s Tumblr

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    • Kelly Morrow

      “i didnt like the Harry Potter movies because that Dan Radcliffe kid isnt actually a wizard” -this article.

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    • ChadMedia

      To be fair I think the poster takes as big, (and a well deserved,) swipe at Judd Apatow too.

    • LBoogie

      Calling this poster misogynistic is ridiculous. That doesn’t make any sense and convolutes the criticism the poster points out. It’s an obvious transparent deflection.

      What the poster is pointing out is how terrible nepotism is and how it stifles any new talent and real creativity.

      In the small incestuous pool called Hollywood, creativity is stagnant and people, who are often times less deserving, are given huge opportunities because they have the cut-in-line password – the right last name. The poster, in true derided textual tone, reminds people that this show has been done already (“And you thought they canceled “How To Make It In America”"), and has been remade because someone’s daughter wants a successful show and the premise worked then and should work now (or perhaps the daughter saw it when she was young and forgot, and has convinced herself that it’s an original idea and no one has dared to tell her the truth. Either way, it’s been done). This is quintessential and typical of the entertainment industry and is a huge reason why it’s suffocating creatively. How can it breath under all the last names that may or may not have talent? Because to say that all of these girls have talent is a) subjective b) extremely debatable and c) have never seen the powers a good editor/s wields.

      But without taking too many digs at these girls and guys (that’s right Apatow, we know not only who your roommate was but also who your grand/parents are!) The thing is that these people are stealing opportunities from other people who might be far more deserving and possibly far more talented but without the right last name.

      Let’s be clear, the argument and outrage isn’t over that these girls aren’t living the lives of the characters, because that would be a ridiculous assertion and an illogical argument. What’s wrong, and what the poster is poignantly mocking, is that the characters these girls are portraying are struggling and staying exactly where they are, in part, because of the people like the girls playing these characters. The girls whose fathers/mothers/grandparent make a phone call and get their grand/daughter/son that audition or script read because their kid has been stomping their feet on the floor of their multi-million dollar home/estate, all while their struggling counterparts, who might have gotten a call back for the role or original script under any other circumstances did not because they were robbed by nepotism.

      And that’s just the beginning of the subsequent calls. One of which is to several media outlets that are specifically instructed to proclaim the talents of the kid and refute that nepotism had anything to do with the kid’s achievement/success.

      That’s what this mock poster is pointing out. That’s what’s wrong with nepotism.

    • hello_design

      Such a simple view on the world, cute really.

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