HBO's Girls has ruffled feathers and furrowed brows since its inception in 2012, but Allison Williams' confounding character Marnie has become one of the more prominent sources of confusion and frustration, especially with the form she's taken in Season 3. But Williams has it all figured out, apparently: Marnie just needs to masturbate.
In an interview with Dazed, Williams talks about the issues with Marnie, particularly her dependence on men and male affection. "I hope Marnie can find a way to somehow fulfil [sic] herself, I hope that she starts masturbating more, doing whatever she has to do to be her own person," she says. "There’s nothing quite like knowing that you can make it on your own. It’s very empowering."
While "that girl needs to masturbate more" is usually a comment reserved for someone who seems tightly wound, a more cutthroat, vulgar version of "lighten up." And while Marnie is certainly someone who used to embody the word "uptight," her more recent issue is that she's unraveling while confining herself to a tiny, little nutshell. Charlie broke her heart and left her alone (how exactly, we'll never know thanks to to Christopher Abbott's swift exit) and once more, she's lost her bearings without a boyfriend to anchor her. In Season 2, her first breakup with Charlie had a similar affect, sending her careening into Booth Jonathan's creepy audio visual lair and grasping for foundation and meaning.
Marnie is very much an untethered flag, flapping about in the wind without a man in her life, so naturally, Williams hopes her character can gain some independence from this "daddy issues" based tendency and masturbation is the method by which she thinks Marnie can do it. Her comments may sound like a shock jock sound byte, but Williams actually speaks the truth. Masturbation can work as an empowerment tool.
A recent New York University study found that, in fact, women in Marnie's demographic (young, educated, heterosexual women) do find masturbation an empowering act. Put simply, the study proves "the feminist theory that when women are able to focus on their own sexual pleasure or learning, without the concerns of pregnancy or pleasing a partner, they may feel sexually empowered." And that sexual empowerment could, in theory, help a woman dependent on male attention to realize that life without a boyfriend (or boy-Booth Jonathan) isn't a sad life.
Of course, heartbreak isn't easy on anyone. It always manifests itself in different ways, but in Marnie's case, perhaps taking her O into her own hands (like she did the first time she met Booth) could make her life a little easier.
So perhaps Williams is right. If Marnie could manage to take control of her sexuality — with something as natural and easy as masturbating — maybe she could find her happy place after all. But then we wouldn't continually find her making a spectacular musical mess of herself, so for television comedy's sake, maybe she shouldn't learn that lesson just yet, but soon.