Guys and ‘Girls’: A Test Case in Male Audiences and Female Protagonists

I admit I’m totally shocked by this statistic. But it turns out that 60 percent of the audience for Girls, Lena Dunham’s post-Sex and the City take on the lives of sheltered young post-graduate women in New York City, is male. MediaPost, the source of that statistic, suggests that some of it might be men sticking around after Game of Thrones, though if those men were uninterested, you’d think they’d burn off during the half hour airing of Veep that happens in between the end of Game of Thrones and the start of Girls.

I’d be curious to know why those dudes are watching—and Slate’s deconstruction of the show every Monday by a slate of male viewers has become one of my must-reads to start the week. Is it to get insight into the lives of young women? Is it to laugh at Hannah and her friends because their lives are such a horror show? I’m glad for the evidence that men are more than capable of turning out for a show about a female protagonist, an anti-heroine, even. I just hope they’re not turning in because they hate Hanna Hovarth more than they’re actually interested in her.