In partnership with HBO.
More often than I like to admit, I will launch into a story about something that happened to a friend of mine, only to realize halfway through, oops, that something didn’t happen to my real-life human friend, it happened to Issa on Insecure. There’s something so comforting about settling into a multiple-seasons-long (fingers crossed) relationship with a TV character. Yes, it’s fun to self-identify (Miranda sun, Kelli moon, Sue rising) as a personality shorthand, but getting to spend time with a character, watching them grow, shift relationships and haircuts, is a journey you take together. It can feel a little voyeuristic, a little one-sided, but in my experience, you grow as they grow, too.
This year to celebrate Women’s Equality Day, HBO paired up with artist Jeanne Detallante to create four limited-edition prints showcasing a few of HBO’s daring, hilarious and ambitious female characters and the issues they deal with in their storylines, and bring to the forefront of our cultural conversation their Because of Her campaign. We had a little soiree to mark the occasion with HBO in Brooklyn last week, and now we’re bringing the fun to the dot com.
The prints (and these exclusive tote bags featuring said prints) aren’t available for purchase but they ARE available to win! Enter below for your chance to win one of the totes, prints, and a few other goodies (*cough cough* Repeller swag) along the way. Let’s get to know our art pieces and the characters that inspired them a little bit better, shall we….
Kicking things off with a bang, Issa from Insecure is fighting against the stereotypes that black women face on the daily. Evoking her regular hype-up sessions with her reflection, the art points out all of the assumptions and stereotypes that are put on black women. Insecure tackles the black millennial experience from multiple angles, celebrating the characters’ wins, loses, missteps and, as Kelli so iconically put it, growth.
Speaking of Insecure, Issa’s best friend Molly gets her own piece (and if you watch the show, you know Molly would want it that way) addressing the struggles of women in the workplace. On average women earn less than men in almost every field, with the gap widening by race, but for many of us in professional organizations, there’s so much more than that. In the most recent season of Insecure, Molly’s professional arc consists of leaving a predominantly white and male firm for a predominantly black firm, only to find that she is still navigating frustrating gender politics. She along with so many of HBO’s ambitious female characters — like Miranda from Sex and the City, Amy from VEEP and Sansa from Game of Thrones — shines a light on the myriad ways working (or ruling) as a woman is fraught beyond the pay gap.
In her piece, Hannah from GIRLS faces her critics head-on as she talks about her struggles of her “non-conventional body-type.” While Hannah certainly wasn’t for everyone (who is, really) her open and often funny discussions around her body were brutally honest and often refreshing. Fast-forward seven years from GIRLS’ premiere episode and we have Euphoria‘s Kat drolly exclaiming that “I’ve been afraid my whole life that people were going to find out I was fat. But honestly, who gives a shit? There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn’t give a fuck.” Seeing fun, sexy and comfortable characters of different body types talk about their bodies and people’s reactions to them is an important form of representation, but the fact that their bodies aren’t what defines these characters is what makes them worth sticking with season after season.
Last but absolutely not least, this piece featuring Maeve from Westworld, is all about Thandie Newton’s bad-ass character, who is a literal robot, dealing with all the expectations of what makes a perfect woman. Sexy (but not too sexy), submissive, feminine — it’s a familiar representation of how women often navigate the expectations of not only what they do, but how they do it. A near-universal experience of figuring out who you truly want to be in a world that is full of impossible standards.
I hope you’re inspired not only to enter to win, but also to meet me in the comments to talk about TV, as it is literally the only thing I want to do. What’s your favorite makeup look from Euphoria? The insult from VEEP you can’t wait to use? The pair of Shiv Roy pants you most covet? Sign up, comment, and we’ll reach out to let you know if you’ve won! Let’s talk about it alllllll.
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Feature graphic by Dasha Faires.