Sesali Bowen is an Entertainment Writer at Refinery29. All opinions are her own.
I didn’t think that Hannah’s pregnancy would still be a thing going into the final episode of Girls. But not only is Hannah still pregnant, her pregnancy appears to have progressed unrealistically fast. The strange sense of time in Girls’ fictional New York is just one of the inconsistencies that stand out to me regarding Hannah’s pregnancy.
When Hannah decides to keep her baby, I thought we had arrived at the moment when shit would finally get real for the Girls protagonist. Throughout the series, Hannah has managed to bounce back from every career mishap without ever facing the serious possibility of eviction. Her parents cutting her off in the series premiere has been her most devastating financial blow to date. She’s had it easy as far as I’m concerned. But another mouth to feed when you’re a broke freelancer living in New York just isn’t the kind of thing you can weasel out of on sheer luck or awkward charm.
For example, Hannah does not have health insurance. But she has also had an ultrasound, and I have no clue how she paid for it. We see Hannah walk for what feels like miles around Brooklyn — trying to find her friends or someone to fuck, checking out magic candle shops, buying freeze pops at the bodega, hanging out with Elijah before an audition — and not working. There hasn’t been a single clip of Hannah at a public assistance office, trying to get medicaid or food stamps, something that most people in her position would have to do immediately. An oversight this significant in the wake of such a monumental shift in Hannah’s life almost feels intentional.
In Sunday’s episode, Hannah interviews for and accepts a position as a professor at a college upstate. In the interview, the department head shares that they are excited to bring on someone who can teach their students how to write for the internet. Their first choice is Hannah — a spotty writer with only bachelor’s degree, and a baby on the way — because the department head thinks Hannah’s “a fucking hotshot.” It’s another side-eye-worthy story line running parallel to the pregnancy. (I have a master's degree and have been writing for the internet in an official capacity for five years. The only unsolicited offers I get are unpaid podcast interview opportunities and threats of violence via Twitter.)
In the interview, Hannah has to initiate a conversation about her pregnancy herself, and her declaration that she’s going to work right through it is a sufficient enough answer for her future boss. Meanwhile, women across the country feel like they’ll be passed up for raises, promotions, or entire jobs on the basis that they are or may become pregnant. It seems like Hannah’s dream job, with its full benefits and grown-up salary, is a magic pill that essentially saves her from some of the harsh realities of being a single mom.
As the series winds down, Girls is getting cozy with the idea of growing pains as a natural part of coming into adulthood and moving on. Everyone else in the foursome is experiencing a moment of reckoning — Shosh is moving on from her friends and getting married, Marnie has humbled herself enough to move back in with her mom, and Jessa is finally willing to accept that "she aint shit." So it seems kind of irresponsible that Girls is still refusing to acknowledge how privilege can help ease those pains for others in Hannah's situation. Obviously, it would be great if no single mother ever had to struggle with things like housing, employment, and health care. But watching a white woman go from barely functional adult experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to a professor living in fully furnished, picture-perfect home in the country feels like a slap in the face, especially when women are currently facing so many threats to social services and reproductive health care. It doesn't feel real. For all the miraculous resolution it brings, it doesn’t feel right, either.
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