Insecure and Imperfect
By: Steffany Ramirez
HBO’s Insecure, co-created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, is the most witty, genuine, unapologetically-real, and entertaining series for women of color. The show gives us two beautiful, intelligent black women Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) who are learning to take charge in their careers, love lives, and friendships living in Los Angeles, California. I can’t remember the last time I watched a show I could relate to on multiple levels. As a west coast girl, making late-night taco truck runs, saying “hella” in damn near every sentence, and snacking on hot cheetos are staples of my short-lived life. It’s a California thing. The show’s connection to the west coast isn’t the best part though. It’s the show’s awkward and self-deprecating humor that I adore the most.
Not only is this show painfully relatable, but it’s proven to me that I don’t have to be a “perfect” WOC in this world. There’s room for me to explore and make mistakes without being forever indebted to them. To me, these are the messages that women of color desperately need to receive in today’s mass media. Simply put, we need not fit into your carefully written perception of WOC, nor do we intend to do so.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, sometimes we’re the shitty friend, the unfaithful girlfriend, and at times, not privy to the prejudices we hold. As we’ve all come to figure out, nothing in life can be categorized as black or white. There is complexity in every situation and decision we come to. Insecure demonstrates these tensions perfectly through the character of Issa.
For example, Issa begins to tire of the life she is maintaining with Lawrence because of his lack of drive, their indecisiveness in regards to their next career steps, and feeling like she has confined herself by settling down at her age. As it goes, her mind begins to wander, and she ends up rekindling with an ex-love interest of hers, while Lawrence begins to take initiative in his life. She immediately regrets her decision, but not enough to admit her wrongdoings. Issa is forced to learn the hard way when Lawrence decides to leave and start exploring on his own.
Insecure not only shows that we are allowed to make mistakes, but it also shows that we’re allowed to seek and experiment with relationships that aren’t necessarily aligned with society’s belief systems. Molly finds herself in an open relationship with a childhood friend and struggles with her internal beliefs, society’s watchful eye, and juggling between logic and love. Here we have the contrast from Issa’s dishonest situation, whereas Molly is invited to a completely honest and straightforward open relationship – yet still feels this path is not for her.
Love, lust, and naivete can keep us going back to things that we know don’t completely fulfill us and leave us feeling empty in the end. Molly is eager, obsessive and unrealistic when it comes to finding a partner, so when the opportunity arises, it is nothing like what she expects it to be. When we open ourselves to new experiences, we begin to understand how multifaceted we are as WOC, constantly learning, balancing and thriving. Consequently, it is when we are tried through unfavorable circumstances that we are confronted with the inevitable, making a decision when we’d much rather hide away from it altogether. Insecure and its magic brought me a vast sense of clarity when I needed it the most – here’s to being an awkward woman of color in a world that doesn’t know we exist.
photo and trailer: HBO
Steffany Ramirez is a college student from the Bay Area double-majoring in communications and film production. She harbors a strong passion for dark humor, decorative tarot decks, and hot cheetos. She’s worked as a camera operator, creative consultant & emergency fill-in actress for the local television station in Hayward, CA. You can stay in the loop with her current projects Instagram.