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‘Girls’ Audience Made Up of More Old Guys Than Actual Girls

Girls
HBO

The internet has been having it out for weeks over sexism in relation to Lena Dunham‘s series ‘Girls.’ It’s been thought that it’s a show primarily watched by women, a show that most men dislike, and we’ve been lobbing accusations back and forth about who likes/dislikes it and why… But friends, we can stop our fighting now.

Turns out more men than women are watching ‘Girls,’ and a bunch of ‘em are old dudes. (That sound you just heard was an old-timey record scratch.)

Vulture posted an interesting article on the findings from the Nielsen ratings (yes, they aren’t the most reliable barometer for home viewership, but still), which carries with it the surprising statistic that 22% of audience members watching ‘Girls’ are males over the age of 50. Perhaps they just forgot to take their Centrum Silver, assumed a title like ‘Girls’ implied some sexy business, and were pleasantly surprised by the rich characters and relatable humor. Maybe they want to learn more about their own daughters. Maybe they forgot to change the channel after some Richard Gere movie.

Even more startling is the finding that 56% of viewers watching the series are men, and those men are tuning in for premieres and re-runs either live or through their DVR. That may not sound like a huge number, but compared to more masculine shows on HBO, it’s impressive. ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ for instance, drew a 59% male audience last year, while the soapy ‘True Blood‘ pulled in 52% male audience last summer.

But what does it all mean?! The internet has been torn asunder with people accusing ‘Girls’ haters of sexism (unfortunately, those accusations have been founded more often than not), with gender bias being the crux of way too many arguments, rather than the actual merit of the show. Todd Van Der Werff published a great piece today at the AV Club on the way ‘Girls’ challenges the masculine perception of television, but it looks like many of the same guys who watch HBO’s more male-centered dramas are also fans of ‘Girls.’

Maybe it’s just that so many of them are over 50 and totally over all that knee-jerk sexism nonsense. Or maybe there just aren’t enough men who love ‘Girls’ talking about it. After all, it’s hard to hear the chorus of praise over the din of hatred.

Other fun facts Vulture picked up: the median age of a ‘Girls’ viewer, regardless of gender, is 43, five years older than the average ‘Sex and the City’ viewer, and just one year younger than those who watch ‘Game of Thrones.’ What does this tell us? Middle-aged people clearly have their finances in check because they can afford HBO. These numbers don’t account for the number of people of any age or sex watching ‘Girls’ OnDemand or through the HBO Go subscription service, but might we consider that the younger people who relate to ‘Girls’ the most are those without the means to afford HBO, and thus probably watching it with friends, or — brace yourselves — pirating the show through illegal means? It’s definitely possible.

Older women aren’t watching ‘Girls’ as much, with only 14% of viewers listed as females over 50, which is understandable because — at that age — who the hell wants to relive their 20s? Am I right, older ladies? Pass me the moisturizer, let’s rage on this dry skin while we read a good book.

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