more by MaryAnn

dogs must be carried | by maryann johanson

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Amazon author
tumblr
Pinterest
RSS

more reasons to hate ‘Sex and the City’

Sex and the City 2 is doing remarkably well at the U.K. box office, handily retaining the No. 1 spot this past weekend and overall doing about twice as well, comparatively speaking, as it is performing in North America. As Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog notes:

After two weekends in the US, it has grossed $73.1m, a figure that would suggest a UK result in the £7-8m range, by industry rule of thumb. In fact, Sex and the City 2 has taken £13.7m here.

Why? Damned if I know. I don’t understand even why it has done as well as it’s done here in the U.S. But it gives me a chance to bitch some more about how fucking much I hate Sex and the City, and in particular this second movie.
The primary reason is the enraging assumption that many men seem to have that all women absolutely adore Carrie and her friends and their various misadventures. This comes to the fore in supposedly hilarious works of subversive pop culture commentary such as Brian Donovan’s annotated trailer for the film, offered at True/Slant. Entitled “What men think when watching a ‘Sex and the City 2′ trailer,” it is in fact a good approximation of what many women, myself included, think while watching that trailer. Well, except for the out-and-out misogyny and ageism, of course. (There are plenty of reasons to hate SATC that have absolutely nothing to do with the ages of the characters or the actresses who portray them, and that have absolutely nothing to do with the notion — which appears to surprise an awful lot of men — that women continue to be sexual as they get older.)

Donovan’s commentary also references the absurdity of personal gender politics when it comes to our consumption pop culture. He indicates terror at the prospect that his girlfriend will drag him to see SATC2, though he concedes that there is one thing that might make him give in: the promise of a blow job. Indeed, it is invariably part of the discussion when it comes to movies denigrated as “chick flicks” that women must coerce men into seeing these films with them, and that men are helpless to resist, particularly if they are offered something in return.

It makes me want to take aside whatever idiot women would do such a thing and say, “Why on Earth would you want to force your boyfriend/husband to sit through a movie he really doesn’t want to see? Just go with your girlfriends, for Christ’s sake.” It makes me want to take aside whatever idiot men would allow themselves to be so manipulated and say, “Why do you put up with that kind of treatment? Just find a girlfriend/wife who doesn’t need to be bribed into having sex with you.” It makes me want to take aside everyone who would be a willing participant in such an unhealthy relationship and smack them.

I don’t like seeing movies — even movies I hate — become such divisive weapons. Could everyone please just grow the fuck up?

And then we have Bill Gibron at PopMatters, who offers us his “clearly male manifesto,” which he imagines may reveal “an irrational fear of my feminine side”: “The Three Reasons I Won’t Be Seeing ‘Sex and the City 2.’” The reasons:

“Because I Have An Intellect”
“Because I Have A Complicated Aesthetic Appreciation”
“Because I Have A Penis”

Remember, Gibron believes these are all “clearly male” characteristics when, in fact, only the third is.

He goes on to explain in depth how all of these “clearly male” qualities lead him to be offended by SATC, and along the way, he actually uses the word “spinster” and the phrase “maiden aunt,” indicating that even when he appears to get it, as in this bit:

But the main message of Sex and the City has always seemed to be linked irretrievably to the notion that no woman is complete unless she’s crammed full of…well, you know, and that’s not enough to base a 140 minute movie on, let alone two.

he really doesn’t.

More reasons why Gibron will avoid the movie:

I don’t get lathered up over faux romanticism, don’t see myself foaming over a tie-dyed scarf set or a pair of Manolo Blahnik thigh highs.

I don’t get lathered up over such things either. But I still don’t understand in what way not getting lathered up over these things is “clearly male.” (And hey, I bet there are plenty of gay men, and probably a few straight guys, too, who do get lathered up over these things. Are they any less “male”? Of course not.)

Gibron’s wrapup is particularly infuriating:

So let female nation have their nonsensical exercise in product placement piffle. It’s really not meant for me anyway.

He really does believe that all women love SATC.

Gibron gets extra bonus points for annoyance, too. He’s a film critic, and he’s making a specific point of avoiding this movie because he thinks it’s for women. Imagine if a female film critic wrote a long essay explaining why she wouldn’t be seeing the latest Michael Bay explos-aganza because she “has a vagina,” and went on to further assume that anyone with an intellect who wouldn’t want to see that film must also have a vagina. Do you think she would taken seriously as a film critic after that? I doubt it.

Plus, of course, any female film critic who avoided films she thought were intended for men would have a helluva time finding enough films to write about on a regular basis.

As I said above, there are many, many reasons to hate SATC that have nothing to do with the gender or ages of the protagonists, but many male critics have chosen to focus their vitriol on those very facts, without, for the most part, noting that this is a fault of the film, which treats its stars very poorly. The tenor of these complaints could have been: Isn’t awful how Michael Patrick King appears to have deliberately set out to make four vital, sexy, attractive, adult women look like hell? Instead, though, it has been: These women look like hell, like all women of those ages invariably must.

Which, in turn, has prompted some feminist critiques of the male-written film criticism. But even those doesn’t seem to understand the problem with SATC, either.

From Jill Filipovic at Feministe, in a piece called “Defending Sex and the City (sort of, not really)”:

The film also challenges our ideas about marriage and motherhood — and those challenges are rarely met with enthusiasm in a culture that lionizes both, without actually taking steps to support the individuals who make up (or wish to make up) those institutions.

It’s true that the one moment of genuine honesty in SATC2 comes when Miranda and Charlotte are talking about how hard it is to be a mother, and how children cannot fulfill all a woman’s needs. But then the moment is utterly, horrifically ruined when a baffled Charlotte says that she “doesn’t know how women without help do it.” By which she means the full-time live-in nannies that both women have. The tone-deafness of this moment is absolutely shocking. Most women who are mothers somehow do manage to balance career and parenthood without benefit of this kind of “help,” and for these characters to display this level of clueless entitlement completely negates the reality of their commiserating, because it suggests that they truly are not women the women in the audience are meant to identify with. If these women feel such despair even though their situation is the very best it could possibly be, and the mere-mortal-middle-class women in the audience are somehow coping better than they are… well, how does this “challenge” anything?

The wealth and privilege that these women toss around without even appearing to appreciate it is part of what is so off-putting about this film in particular. Imagine if one of the wealth-fantasy films of the Great Depression featured rich people toasting one another with expensive champagne and marvelling about how they didn’t know how all those poor dumb rubes standing in bread lines or working for the WPA were managing? If SATC is meant to be fantasy, then the fantasy is shattered when the characters actually throw their wonderful lives in the faces of the audience.

I’m not sure how SATC2 is meant to challenge our ideas about marriage, unless we’re meant see it as subversive that Carrie — whose marriage figures most in this film — finds it stifling that her husband wants to eat at home one night a week. It looks to me as if Carrie married Big for his money and nothing else, and now that she’s done decorating their Fifth Avenue spread — with his money, of course — she’s totally bored with him. Perhaps it’s true that Carrie is challenging our ideas of marriage: I always imagined I would enjoy being alone with my husband, were I to acquire one — what would be the point of having one otherwise. I find myself challenged in the notion that I might not be able to stand being with him.

More from Filipovic:

And while I’m also critical of the emphasis on consumption in the show and in the movies, SATC seems to draw disproportionate criticism for celebrating wealth and stuff. You don’t hear the James Bond or Oceans-whatever-number-we’re-on-now movies being taken to task because the lead characters are obsessed with money and toys.

Where to even begin?! No one is holding up James Bond or Danny Ocean as breakthrough male characters showing us sides of men no one had dared allow to be expressed before in pop culture. No one assumes that James Bond and Danny Ocean represent all men. In fact, you’d get laughed at if you suggested such a thing. And SATC2 is about nothing else but celebrating wealth for its own sake. What do these women do with their wealth and privilege? Not one damn thing except treat themselves to whatever they desire. Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending money on yourself if you have it to spend… but merely spending money on oneself is not the basis for an interesting story.

I’m mystified, too, that anyone could interpret the Oceans movies as being obsessed with money and toys. The money’s just a macguffin in these stories: the challenge of getting it is the point. We only see those characters spend money in pursuit of that goal. Those movies would be really fucking boring as hell if they were all about watching George Clooney shop.

Ashley Sayeau at NPR also focuses on the critiques of materialism run amuck in “The Nation: The ‘Sex and the City” Double Standard”:

The image of women spending money, especially on themselves, has long been a controversial subject — one that taps into cultural anxieties about women’s progress and its effect on masculinity.

That may be true. It probably is true. But there’s a difference between a woman spending money and a story that is about women spending money to amuse themselves and doing no other damn thing at all. Shopping isn’t automatically a feminist statement.

[C]onservative ideology infuses the question of women and spending, and reviewers would do well to remember this.

So we shouldn’t critique the mindless consumerism of these women, or any women, at all, ever? Bullshit.

Oh, and let’s not forget that female consumerism has been a way to trap women since at least the postwar period. There’s a feminist slant to be observed on women and spending, too. The more strides women have made careerwise, the more we’ve been pushed to spend larger and larger amounts of money on clothes, makeup, and other fripperies. And when women might have been saving money to buy a house or invest or travel, we’ve seen feminism get turned around as marketers tell us that spending money on ourselves for clothes and shoes and bullshit anti-aging creams and so on is feminist act. Why shouldn’t we critique SACT for implying that Carrie was right to spend so much money on her appearance, because it did indeed lead to her catching a rich husband? Is that feminist?

And at What Would Toto Watch?, film critic Carrie Rickey is quoted reacting to male critics’ reviews of SATC2:

It’s a fantasy film. No one harshes ‘Iron Man’ for being populated with bubbleheads [as Ebert criticized 'SATC 2']. No one criticizes ‘Iron Man’ for its privileged characters exercising their privileges [as A.O. Scott did].

Iron Man 2 is populated with “bubbleheads”? Since when? Tony Stark is a flippin’ genius, and he “exercises his privilege” to force peace upon the planet. (Yes, he also clearly spends money on himself, what with the collection of sportscars and all, but it’s also just as obvious that this is not the only thing he spends his money on.) I may have zoned out during SATC2, but I didn’t see Carrie Bradshaw doing anything of the sort. Do we really want to equate Carrie Bradshaw’s spending with Tony Stark’s? Or with Bruce Wayne’s?

I’m all for yelling, “Hey! Where’s the movie about the billionaire genius philanthropist woman!” But let’s not pretend that the Sex and the City women are out for anyone but themselves. And don’t tell me that that female self-involvement to the exclusion of all else is a fantasy that I need to embrace. Because I won’t.


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/flick/public_html/wptest/wp-content/themes/FlickFilosopher/loop-single.php on line 104
  • JoshDM

    Northern Exposure outstayed its welcome on the last season.

  • Kate

    Your SATC criticism is always excellent, Maryann.

  • Accounting Ninja

    I’ve been digesting this post for a bit and want to say, brava!
    Although I am disheartened that all anyone can ever criticize about this movie (franchise?) is the usual misogynistic shit, I am glad to see you taking it to task for the outrageous elitism.

    Let us not forget that it also contributes to the whole “women are nothing but money-grubbing, gold-digging whores” stereotype.

    Yes, PLEASE deliver me a FEMALE superhero story! One that does not revolve around her sex appeal, saturated with the male gaze, or an inordinate amount of attention on her being a woman.

    Is The Incredibles really the best they can give us in this regard?

  • http://paulliver.livejournal.com/ Paul

    If a woman said she wasn’t going to watch any more M. Bay movies because she has an intellect, artistic appreciation, and a vagina, her posting wuold probably be metaphorically gang raped by trolls incapable of posting coherant thoughts longer than “You B—, you suck!”

    On the other hand, I think there’s a sliding scale from “movies intended for men” to “movies intended for women,” and the best movies are often between the two instead of in one or the other. So if a reviewer didn’t review movies obviously intended for the opposite gender, I think they’d lose more income than respect, because they wouldn’t get “hits” off of searches for some popular movies.

    As for the scene in which “Miranda and Charlotte are talking about how hard it is to be a mother,” I wonder if this was botched because the writers’ logic was running in the wrong direction. If the intention of the movie was to protray the, ahem, tough life of the upper middle class, they might have done a better job. But the intention of the movie was more likely to show them on vacation, so they needed a reason to deserve a vacation, so they protrayed motherhood as difficult.

    I don’t believe James Bond is actually rich. I just think he has an unlimited expense account, which looks like the same thing, but isn’t. But I grant the point about Stark and Wayne.

    As for spending and political implications, shopping is all over the political map. Is shopping a trap to prevent women from amassing enough capital to achieve economic independance, or a symbol of women’s economic independance? Is shopping a symbol of wifely motherhood or of self-centered, sinful, indulgence? Is shopping a side-effect of our evolutionary heritage in which men hunted and killed a wildebeast once a week and women foraged for food daily, or a symbol of being cut off from natural life and substituting consumption? A symbol of confidence in the American way of life, or the shallowness of it? Is it a fun hobby or a substitute for a fun hobby?

    A: Yes. B: No. C: Both. D: It depends.

  • Knightgee

    No,Iron-Man is pretty much textbook guy wish fulfillment, as are most superheros. He’s a privileged, cocky, self-indulgent, witty, intelligent, attractive, selfish billionaire playboy who is a superhero because it’s fun and he was nearly willing to quit at the first sign of difficulty. He makes arrogant choices that hurt others, but it’s okay because it all works out in the end and he gets the girl, whether he has learned anything or not. His negative qualities only matter in the short-term while his positive and surface qualities are what he is known for. He’s more or less Carrie Bradshaw, minus the genius and with better acting and writing. And it’s that better acting and writing that makes him lovable as opposed to insufferable.

    In reality, movies like SatC2 are no more insidious than crap like Transformers in terms of being sexist poorly-written nonsense designed to sell products, but of course, since it’s for women, it’s perceived as far worse than any movie for men and complaints against it begin to take on a more gendered tone. This isn’t something SatC is responsible for, as this has been true of movies targeted to females for decades, it’s just that only recently have women been able to exercise some kind of power over the box office with their cash and their cash alone.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    I’m not a big fan of the SATC movies but it’s worth remembering that they didn’t invent product placement and conspicuous consumption. Even American Beauty and The Blind Side–which were supposedly at a more serious audience than the SATC movies–seemed to think it was quite natural for its main characters to spend more money on a mere couch than some people spend on two or three months worth of rent. And since one was based on a true story, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find that there were people in real life who actually thought that way.

    Then again, most Hollywood movies–including many which claimed to do otherwise–have always seemed like infomercials for either the very rich or the upper middle class so what else is new?

  • par3182

    What’s the number one film of all time at the UK box office? Mamma Mia. Why on earth are they surprised that SATC2 is popular?

  • MaryAnn

    No,Iron-Man is pretty much textbook guy wish fulfillment, as are most superheros.

    Okay, I’ll buy that. But as a woman, I don’t find anything about *SATC* to be anything close what I wish for and fantasize about.

    I’m not a big fan of the SATC movies but it’s worth remembering that they didn’t invent product placement and conspicuous consumption.

    That’s true. But *SATC* did bring those things to obnoxious new levels.

    Even American Beauty and The Blind Side–which were supposedly at a more serious audience than the SATC movies–seemed to think it was quite natural for its main characters to spend more money on a mere couch than some people spend on two or three months worth of rent.

    In *American Beauty,* though, that ridiculous sofa becomes a symbol of how ridiculous the people who bought it were. And I’m not a fan of *The Blind

  • MaryAnn

    No,Iron-Man is pretty much textbook guy wish fulfillment, as are most superheros.

    Okay, I’ll buy that. But as a woman, I don’t find anything about *SATC* to be anything close what I wish for and fantasize about.

    I’m not a big fan of the SATC movies but it’s worth remembering that they didn’t invent product placement and conspicuous consumption.

    That’s true. But *SATC* did bring those things to obnoxious new levels. Even movies with high levels of product placement are rarely actually *about* the acquisition of those products.

    Even American Beauty and The Blind Side–which were supposedly at a more serious audience than the SATC movies–seemed to think it was quite natural for its main characters to spend more money on a mere couch than some people spend on two or three months worth of rent.

    In *American Beauty,* though, that ridiculous sofa becomes a symbol of how ridiculous the people who bought it were. And I’m not a fan of *The Blind Side,* but at least those wealthy people did use some of their wealth for the betterment of others.

  • http://drnorth.wordpress.com Dan North

    Excellent take-down of a poisonous (or at least unhygienic) cultural phenomenon. It wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that the scale of SATC’s popularity seems to have mitigated against the need for a broader range of “films for women” (by which I mean films that investigate, interrogate or at least represent female subjectivity in all its complexity and variety). We don’t need more chick flicks, apparently, because SATC has got it all covered – look, its like four entirely different women, and you can choose which one represents you! That’s value for money!

    It’s not cool at all, but men are not exactly well served by being constantly positioned at the forefront of pop culture, unless the films are investigating how handsome intelligent billionnaires cope with the pressures of having lots of power, money, women and just tooooo much to do! I’m not whining about it, just remarking that the marginalisation of women downgrades everyone’s experience at the cinema. I wish the hatred of SATC wasn’t even seen as a gender issue – so many movies around are all about fantastically wealthy people discovering that money doesn’t automatically make them happy. But buying stuff does.

  • RogerBW

    It makes me want to take aside whatever idiot women would do such a thing and say, “Why on Earth would you want to force your boyfriend/husband to sit through a movie he really doesn’t want to see? Just go with your girlfriends, for Christ’s sake.” It makes me want to take aside whatever idiot men would allow themselves to be so manipulated and say, “Why do you put up with that kind of treatment? Just find a girlfriend/wife who doesn’t need to be bribed into having sex with you.”

    Indeed, I find this quite bizarre when I see it. My guess, and it is only that, is that having Got Her Man the woman is meant to feel that she can never for one moment let him off the chain: everything he does must be With Her, so he couldn’t possibly go for an evening at the pub with his mates while she and her mates watch a film.

    As for the “women don’t enjoy sex, so they dole it out in small doses as rewards” idea: that is a toxic meme which deserves to be burned out wherever it sprouts. Women: if you’re not enjoying sex, at least one of you is doing it wrong!

  • Liz

    This critic is on more reason to hate critics. Or say it with Samanthas words “F**K YOU”.

  • Kevin

    I’ve always thought that the hyper-consumerism and patrician tone-deafness, both in the SATC series and the films was an attempt at Ab-Fab style hyperbole. That is, they did it for laughs. That’s not to say the SATC writers were succesful. Rather, I think SATC fails and Ab-Fab succeded there because few people would accuse Patsy and Edina of being portrayed as groundbreaking feminist icons for their vapid consumption and sneering contempt for the have-nots. The audience is supposed to laugh because their behavior is so shocking to the regular folks watching–not in small part because, though we envy their wealth, we can find catharsis for our own money woes in their baffoonery. So, because their consumption is portrayed as something to we actually shouldn’t emulate, and with most other characters as comic foils to this (Saffie, especially, as the intelligent conscience), the Ab-Fab writers could even be accused of purposefully divorcing feminism from consumerism.

    I actually think SATC, the series, meant to, and often succeeded in doing the same thing. It was usually ham-fisted, but still. As the show wore on, and, as all shows eventually do, the writers had to keep the audience’s attention by ratcheting up the hyperole–turning their characters into caricatures of themselves and of the show’s original premises. Then, shoved through The Hollywood Bedazzler, the caricatures become like body-snatched simulacra, soullessly parroting thoughtless lines based on dim memories of their former selves. Any point, feminist or otherwise, to the dumb consumerism is therefore lost as the zombie SATC shambles along to box office glory, fed by the brains of reminiscing fans.

    Ah well. It happened to the X-Files, too.

  • JoshDM

    @Accounting Ninja – what, you didn’t like My Super Ex-Girlfriend?

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    This critic is on more reason to hate critics. Or say it with Samanthas words “F**K YOU”.

    It’s true, Mary Ann does provide lots of ammunition for prickly, thin-skinned, entitled people with shitty taste in movies to hate critics. I can’t think of higher praise than that.

    As for the SATC backlash – I hate the whole franchise too, and I’ve hated it long before it became fashionable. Of the current wave of anti- feeling, a lot of it does include sexist and ageist stuff, which is pretty depressing. What I think isn’t commented on, though, and what Mary Ann addresses above, is the way the movie’s defenders want to have it two ways. The franchise is both a brilliant exploration of the psyche of the modern woman (when someone’s writing an article praising it) and a bit of escapist fluff that you shouldn’t think too hard about (when you’re trying to defend the franchise from a hostile review).

    I was hugely irritated when I saw a magazine strapline this afternoon that accused men of “not getting” SATC2. I’ve heard this one thousands of times now; the papers shouldn’t have dispatched male reviewers to critique this film, since their penis renders them incapable of understanding it.

    (As an aside, one of the truly annoying things about this kind of argument is that it forces you into unsupportable generalisations, saying “men” and “women” when you really mean “stupid men” and “stupid women”. Try substituting the phrases: you’ll be surprised how it improves the debate)

    It annoys me because, yeah, there aren’t many female professional film critics, and yeah, there should be more. But this should be a cause that people keep up constantly, rather than use conveniently when the critical consensus doesn’t go their way. The former is principled, the latter just immature.

    In any case, Sex and the City wasn’t made by members of a feminist lesbian commune in Paraguay, was it? The series was created by a man, the movies are written and directed by a man, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the majority of people working to produce and promote them are men – the only significant female talent involved is the source author and the lead actresses. So how come men like Darren Starr and Michael Patrick King are allowed to ‘get it’, but as soon as some bad reviews come in the whole gender is supposedly incapable of comprehending this series?

  • Pat Mustard

    I can do no more than quote my old friend, the Daily Mash, on the subject:

    LARS VON TRIER REVEALED AS ‘SEX AND THE CITY’ MASTERMIND

    The Sex And The City franchise was secretly conceived by Lars Von Trier as an exercise in existential horror, the Danish director has revealed.

  • Dokeo

    This critic is on more reason to hate critics. Or say it with Samanthas words “F**K YOU”.

    Wow! Articulate and classy.

  • Lisa

    Charlotte complaining about how hard it is to be a mom is quite ridiculous. I fear for her children. I hated her from the moment she quit her job – for a guy!

    But, although, you rarely saw her there, they did make a point of saying that Miranda worked her ass off to become partner, so I think it’s fair to say managing a work life balance would be tough for her.

    I have not seen the movie but I do think a lot of the male reviews were misogynistic. I’m sure this movie was at least as bad as any of the Transformers movies but there was a special sort of bile reserved for SATC.

  • http://paulliver.livejournal.com/ Paul

    “The franchise is both a brilliant exploration of the psyche of the modern woman…”

    If a woman said that to me, I’d finish with “and therefore proof that a man should never, ever get married.”

    There have been tribes where each woman has a hut for her and her descendants, but all the men (anyone over 13) live together in one big hut where they hang out, plan their next hunt, brag about their last hunt, and plot world domination. We’re heading back in that direction, I swear.

  • MaryAnn

    In any case, Sex and the City wasn’t made by members of a feminist lesbian commune in Paraguay, was it?

    I see what you’re getting at, Der Bruno, but that kind of characterization doesn’t do someone like me any favors, either. One does not need to be a lesbian who lives on a commune to find plenty of feminist reasons to hate SATC.

    men are not exactly well served by being constantly positioned at the forefront of pop culture

    True. But even among the most mainstream of movies, there’s still a much wider range of masculinity on display. And there’s never a film that is hailed as representing all men. Our pop culture simply does not allow for such a concept, that men could be so neatly wrapped up in one small package.

    an attempt at Ab-Fab style hyperbole

    But only, at best, an attempt… and one that failed. AbFab is funny, partly because it can in no way be interpreted as trying to be “realistic” or dealing with real issues that affect real women’s lives.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Sorry if that came out wrong. The intention wasn’t to characterise feminists who have a problem with SATC but instead to parody what I feel is an implicit assumption in the “men don’t get it!” line of defence – this weird idea that SATC is such a pure, unimpeachably womyn-centric product that no man can ever understand it, whereas in reality there are men who not only understand it, they make it.

    “A feminist lesbian commune in Paraguay” just struck me as the silliest, most hyperbolic way to parody that idea. Occasionally I do need to remind myself that there actually are people out there who really believe all feminists are Communists, and lesbians, and probably Paraguayan too, why not?

  • Accounting Ninja

    Der Bruno, I see your point. One reason why the SATC movies bug me is that it IS written by men. It’s men telling women what their fantasies are, and then people using it as a weapon against women to show how frivolous and shallow women are.

    Everytime some dude tells me that I must love shoes and shop til I drop, or that I’m not “visually oriented” but instead look for the fattest wallet, or that I am naturally more nurturing and motherly and therefore a better parent than my husband (full honesty, HE’S better at that! I’m the “fun parent”, a traditional “dad” role. I invented “Slurpee Day”!). Anyway, every time I hear stuff like that, I think of SATC. Lots of men really *believe* these socially sanctioned lies and stereotypes, and lots of women do too. Hell, maybe these women even fervently believe that all women are like this.

    But that’s pretty common, it’s feminism 101. Women are taught to follow the rules, to adopt femininity and eschew anything that might be seen as “unwomanly”. The infuriating thing is that lots of misogynists then use this social conditioning as “proof” that women are inferior.

    Before my feminist awakening, I was a woman who did not like all the “typical” woman-stuff (I still don’t). But I wrongly hated WOMEN for this. I bought into it, that women must really all be ninnies, and I must be so unique! However, the flip side of this was that I felt defective as a woman. After all, I still had all of society telling me that “real women” like this or that. I suspect a lot of women who “don’t like other women” feel like this. But their real enemy is NOT women, it’s society and the (wrong) messages out there.

    Now I realize it is ALL a lie, and the “typical” women out there might be just following the rules. OR they might really like the stuff, but why should it be regarded as “inferior” because it’s for women? Men like plenty of frivolous stuff but no one denigrates their entire gender for it.

  • KLW

    Maryann, I find your disgust with the movie entirely understandable in the sad light of how many people will regard it as somehow a meaningful representation of real people in our world today. The thoughtful, pungent way you express that in this post is what has kept me coming back to this site for all these many years.

    I’m a guy who liked SATC on TV, found it an entertaining spin on the modern, evening soap-opera, a form where you never stop asking the question “who really lives like this?”. I never saw the characters as emblems of anything but maybe a teeny, elite sliver of women in some Big Apple myth, exemplary of nothing, and just to be watched for the fun of how things evolved with these characters as they move within their imaginary world. I watched about 30-40 minutes of the first movie and quickly found it tiresome. No plan to see the second unless it’s the best of a terrible selection of shows on TV some years from now.

  • http://paulliver.livejournal.com/ Paul

    “Men like plenty of frivolous stuff but no one denigrates their entire gender for it.”

    Actually, I spent most of my college years listening to women denigrate men for stuff both frivolous and serious. However, I will concede that most jokes about men are more specific, such as nerd and jock jokes.