Why I Dislike Sex and the City
I’ve seen more episodes of Sex and the City than I probably should admit, and it’s actually a pretty good show. The problem, as with all iconic television series, is that too many people don’t just see it as a show — and, anticipating a rebuttal here, that’s exactly how the writers wanted it. And, given that at least some people appear to be taking the messages of Sex and the City to heart, I have some reservations about the message that’s being promoted.
I take issue with Sex and the City for the same reason I take issue with Third Wave Feminism (link to the description in case you need it), and not for the reason most feminists would probably think. If women want to be sexually liberated, that’s their business and frankly makes the world more entertaining for me, so that’s not my criticism. My problem with the show is that it paints a wholly unrealistic picture of what’s attainable in life — not just for women, but for anyone.
The great thing about Second Wave Feminists is they were focused on achieving political and social equality. If some women want to make dumb choices, so be it and they shouldn’t face discrimination for it — at least not to a greater degree than one might discriminate against men for similar choices. Sex and the City, and the movement it embodies, completely ambiguates the lines between choice, responsibility, and consequences.
I might have felt differently had the series ended differently, but it didn’t — instead, it took the exercise to its most illogical conclusion. The entire point of the series is to show that women (supposedly like men) can be rich, powerful, ambitious, fun, sexually promiscuous, etc. etc. etc. all the way into their upper thirties, and still be completely realistic in holding expectations that stability and bliss and satisfaction and true love are right around the corner.
The series tells women they can have it all no matter how long they wait, so why settle? As a middle-class white male, who supposedly enjoys all the privileges of society, I wouldn’t bet on those odds for myself. One major problem, as I’ve written about before, lies in a false stigma about settling. And — not trying to piss off the feminists any more than I may have already — that doesn’t even take into account the psychological implications of several inate biological differences, including differing peaks of sexual desire, the fact that women can only have children for so long, and the cold reality that men place more weight on outward appearance.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I probably will at some point. I suspect I would be interested to see how the writers handle the fact that the main characters are now over forty and probably still struggling to balance all of their competing interests, emotions, and ambitions in order to have it all. But until then, I’ll direct you to my favorite someecard of the week.