Confession: I’m a Jenny Schecter ~fangirl~.
That’s probably my biggest baggage. When a fellow lez finds out I like Jenny, it usually sends her running in the other direction, screaming. But, hear me out! Jenny gets a bad rep because, well, yes, she’s kind of batshit. But crazy unlikeable men are hailed as great characters all of the time!
Jenny is unstable and mean at times, yes, but she’s also incredibly strong, smart, hilarious, and gorgeous. I also completely worshipped Jenny and Shane together. That shit was so hot to me. I know—I’m disgusting!
Now let’s move on. I present to you the moments that Jenny is a feminist hero, hot as fuck, an overall badass, or a combo of all three.
1. AFTER THIS MONOLOGUE, NO JENNY SLANDER WILL BE TOLERATED.
I mean, seriously, this scene should be taught in a women’s studies class. Jenny rips right into patriarchy and misogyny. Listening to this monologue is painful because it rings so true. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s relentless. It’s powerful, vulnerable, heartbreaking and biting. It’s spoken from Jenny’s heart and delivered like a total badass. She is unflinching in the face of such invasion, misogyny and betrayal. When Mark says she made him a better man, SHE KEEPS COMING FOR HIM. YAS! She doesn’t let him off the hook. As a teen growing up in suburban Long Island, I had no education on feminism. Jenny truly taught me my first feminist lesson.
2.The time she stripped without shame.
The time she stripped without shame. Yes, its slightly annoying that she’s engaging in sex work tourism here, but it’s such a powerful moment. With there being so many inaccurate stigmatized portrayals of sex work on TV, it was refreshing to see a woman stripping because she felt like it. She tells Shane it empowers her because she gets to choose when men see her naked. Yay reclaiming the male gaze!
3. When she cuts off her hair.
When she cuts off her hair. Yes, I know it’s kind of a fake deep moment, but it’s also insanely relatable for many queer women. “Will you cut my hair?” then shedding a single tear is so…Jenny. Its overly dramatic, very sad girl poet girl, but also so real. Then “Naked as We Came” by Iron and Wine starts playing. My heart!! (Okay yes I’m totally wine drunk and crying rewatching this scene right now.) I felt it as her hair fell to the ground. It was a shedding of her previous self and the acceptance of her real self. A lot of us have had a moment similar to this.
4. She is relentless and tenacious in the face of rejection.
She has rejection letters plastered all over her wall and it keeps her going. And she eventually gets published! Yay Jenny. Then all her friends got mad at her for “Les Girls.” She’s painted as the villain here but it’s actually a v relatable moment for writers and artists. We inevitably take inspiration from people in our lives and it’s a risk to publish knowing they might not like the way they were portrayed. Jenny honors her craft and her passion in a way that I think is admirable. They’re all narcissists anyway and totally enjoyed hate-reading the book.
5. Her relationship with Niki Stevens is v beautiful.
Femme on femme love can be hard in public, with gawking from straight men and people not taking your relationship seriously. The scene with her fucking Niki with the strap on had me shook when I saw it for the first time. It was exactly the kind of sex I was interested in, but never saw it authentically portrayed with the absence of the male gaze. It was empowering and enlightening to see a femme/femme relationship that partook in rough strap-on sex. It challenged gender roles, “rules” and stereotypes. It validated that the kinds of women I was interested in and the kind of sex I enjoyed having was just as queer as Shane fucking Cherie poolside with the strap-on. (also fucking hot, I came watching that scene for the first time … without even touching myself! *takes bow*)
6. When she can’t decide between Robin and Gene.
Sure, it’s a little annoying and manipulative to ask both of them to stay over, but it’s honest. Jenny is unapologetic in her confusion. Jenny is gentle with herself (maybe not with Robin and Gene) but she recognizes that she’s confused and tries to work it out without shame. I think if more people had this open attitude about sexuality, we’d be less repressed.
7. Just this…
WE’RE NOT FAGGOTS, WE’RE DYKES!
8. When she explains that we really, really just don’t need dick.
As a previous Creative Writing graduate student, I can attest to writer bros shitting over a women’s piece simply because it explores female sexuality. Usually, I sulked over this and made passive-aggressive Facebook statuses, but Jenny calls it right the fuck out.
9. Her style!!! Who else can pull off bangs like Jenny?
As a young closeted queer without any IRL les mentors, I looked up to Jenny. She shaped my lonely lesbian adolescence, which inevitably shaped the person I am today. Jenny is a brave, bold and talented woman. It’s time we start giving her the respect she deserves.