Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Rumors of Lena Dunham's nudity have been greatly exaggerated. BuzzFeed's Louis Peitzman, who, in response to a new wave of discussion around the Girls' skin factor, decided to calculate just how much screen time nudity gets on the HBO comedy. It turns out to be not that much: Peitzman asserts it's only roughly 3% and provides a handy pie chart to drive the point home. He also argues that despite the criticism that much of the show's nudity is random and pointless, the overwhelming majority of it is in contextually appropriate situations: sex, showering, dressing, and, er, relieving oneself. He only counted two so-called random flashes of nudity — the topless ping-pong game, and Dunham's infamous Icona Pop-dancing, nipple-flashing coke scene. He admits that Dunham-as-Hannah does get the lion's share of nude scenes on the show (64%), but hey, she is the lead character.
Overall, Peitzman argues that Girls is less sexually explicit than Game of Thrones or True Blood, while more willing to offer parity between sexes in its nude scenes. Even though female nudity dominates the show (74%), so do females in general (the show is called Girls, after all). "There is still a significant amount of male nudity, more than you’re likely to see outside on another series with four female leads. (Sex and the City, which Girls is forever compared to, springs to mind.)" Peitzman wrote.
Peitzman concludes that people overestimate the amount of actual nudity on the show because Girls is a fairly sexually explicit show overall. Many of the most lurid sex scenes don't even contain full nudity, just unabashedly risqué implications. He also points out the inevitable polarizing topic: Some people just aren't that comfortable with Dunham's full-figured body, so every bit of it they see feels like too much. "She seems, to some, gratuitously naked, even if she’s only naked for a very small percentage of Girls," he writes. In other words, it's the same sad and myopic media status quo that keeps women worried about the size and shape of their bodies.