Is Sex and the City Sexist? (No Spoilers)

I was never what one would consider "popular" in high school or college. I didn't play soccer or cheerlead or drive a new car as the elite pack of girls did in my mostly affluent private Catholic high school. I didn't pledge a sorority and I wasn't into the frat party scene in college, both of which seemed to guarantee instant success in attracting both male and female attention.

Because of this, I didn't have scores of friends to hang out with whenever the mood struck me, and frankly, I liked it this way. Unlike my husband, whose current circle of close friends is larger than the number of friends I have had throughout my entire lifetime, I have always preferred to share myself with a select group of a few people. It's a purely selfish motive on my part, really. If I'm going to invest the time in developing our friendship, I want the relationship to last. I'm not in it for the short-term, which explains why my best friend and I have know eachother since First Grade, some 26 years, and why my two other closest friends have been parts of my life since 1990, our freshman year in high school. I still talk on the phone about once a week to a friend I've had since Kindergarten who now lives in a distant state. As their friend, I am fiercely loyal.

Perhaps this is why Sex and the City appealed to me from the start when it debuted on tv in 1998. For those not familiar with the show, it centers around four very different women living in New York and chronicles their journeys through relationship and professional successes, heartbreak, medical problems, bad hair days, and horrifically embarrassing moments. Through it all, their friendship remains steadfast and unwavering.

I saw the movie on Saturday, and while I took issue with some plot-points, I loved it overall. But heading into the theatre, I wasn't sure I would. So many reviewers had given the film negative ratings, and with so many of them using the term "anti-feminist" to describe it, I had my concerns.

In addition, several letters to the editor in my city's newspaper slammed SATC for setting back the women's movement for the way its main characters were portrayed. These writers felt that the movie advanced the idea that women are vapid, self-obsessed, materialistic shopaholics who only care about themselves and eventually, about finding a man.

I find this ironic. Isn't one of the chief complaints leveled at feminists that we're cold, selfish, power-hungry shrews looking to advance professionally no matter what the cost? Just look at the treatment Hillary received from the media. And yet SATC, the story of four NYC girls having a blast amidst the crap of life with nary a single discussion of gender politics among any of the characters, is anti-feminist?

I didn't find the film anti-feminist at all. What I saw was four intelligent, attractive and very different women who have been friends for over a decade and who despite all that life has thrown at them remain devoted to each other. In fact, I think that this sums up what feminism is all about: devotion to the sisterhood bond and the respect each gives to the lifestyle led by the other three. Miranda is a lawyer and a mother who works full-time. Charlotte is a wealthy SAHM. Samantha is single, successful, has no desire for marriage or children, and loves the thrill of the chase more than anything else. And Carrie is a best-selling novelist with a fabulous collection of shoes. I won't give away her marital status here so I stick to my "no spoilers" intention.

Four different women. Four different paths. No judgement. Fierce loyalty.

This is feminism personified.

13 Responses to “Is Sex and the City Sexist? (No Spoilers)”

  1. # Blogger MsPrufrock

    Fashion is just another character -it doesn't define who any of the women are. It's ridiculous and an ignorant assumption in my opinion, largely voiced by people who haven't watched enough of the show to have any idea who the characters are.

    Hmph.  

  2. # Blogger Editorgirl

    Kristi - I couldn't have said it any better myself!  

  3. # Blogger Shannon

    ok, i haven't seen the movie yet... watched it when it was on HBO... I found it so interesting because they were so different from me... I want to see the movie but right now just can't justify spending that much on a movie to see it by myself... but I love your views on it... that is how I saw the tv show... maybe you should write reviews for the paper hehehe!  

  4. # Blogger Chas

    I've avoided blog posts about the movie so far, so I haven't heard anything negative yet. All of my real life friends have loved it! I've determined that some people will find something wrong with anything...movies, songs, TV shows...they just have to have something to whine about.  

  5. # Blogger Mom24

    I have no one who wants to see it. *sigh* I just might have to break down and see it with the hubs. Anyone I've "talked" to online, says it's wonderful though. I can't wait to see it.  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    You say it better than I could.

    Besides, I think some people forget *this is a movie*. It's for entertainment, not necessarily for making a statement.  

  7. # Blogger Andrew

    "In fact, I think that this sums up what feminism is all about: devotion to the sisterhood bond and the respect each gives to the lifestyle led by the other three. Miranda is a lawyer and a mother who works full-time. Charlotte is a wealthy SAHM. Samantha is single, successful, has no desire for marriage or children, and loves the thrill of the chase more than anything else. And Carrie is a best-selling novelist with a fabulous collection of shoes."

    Feminism personified...through the lens of a gay man. Just change the names to Charlie, Michael, Sam, and Carl. ;)  

  8. # Anonymous Ness

    I just really enjoyed the movie - and I only saw the occasional episode of the tv series. People will always complain - they probably looked at that movie, and thought - oh, my life isn't like that - let's slam the movie! Then go and forget to shave their armpits yet again.  

  9. # Anonymous Anonymous

    My Oh My Oh My! You are expecting twins!!! I have been MIA and am only now finding out this fabulous news!!!
    I am absolutely thrilled for you, and had a wonderful time catching up on all of your news!
    I haven't seen this movie yet, but loved the show and the characters. It drives me crazy when all those "Smart" women have to analyze everything to death and take the enjoyment out of everything that's meant to be fun.
    Ramona  

  10. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I think it is definitely a feminist show. I don't really like the idea that in order to be feminists we must eschew men, sex and hygiene. I have a sneaking suspicion that idea came about because unattractive women felt marginalized. I think it is entirely possible to be a feminist who also enjoys lipstick, waxing and being sexy. So there:)  

  11. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    I have been looking forward to this movie for a while, but just haven't had the chance to see it. I never thought the series was anti-feminist, and must admit that I'm sometimes a little jealous of the wonderful bond the characters have. I'm glad you liked the movie.  

  12. # Blogger Kellan

    I can't wait to see this movie - I still haven't seen it. Glad you enjoyed it.

    I'm Kellan, btw - nice to meet you. See you soon.  

  13. # Anonymous patrick

    Sex and the City seems to have a polarizing effect on both men and women... people either love the movie or they hate it  

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