Monday, May 12, 2008

Are the Friendships in 'Sex in the City' One Big Lie?


I put my American Studies degree to work earlier today in a very long blog post for nymagazine.com, in which I analyzed other people's analysis of 'Sex and the City.' I'm posting it below.

Sex and the City: The Movie has dared to debut in a city other than New York. The film had its world premiere across the drink in London today. In light of this occasion, The Guardian asked some quasi-famous dudes for their thoughts on the series and how true it was to life. Toby Young, former Vanity Fair scribe and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, weighs in:
I lived in New York for five years and in my experience such behavior was typical. Attractive single girls not only dropped their 'dates' at the slightest whiff of a bigger, better deal, they routinely betrayed their girlfriends, too.
Well, what about the middle-aged men who routinely drop their wives for a bigger (breasted), better deal, leaving them to take care of the kids? Sorry, Toby, no sympathy here. When it comes to courtship and marriage, women won the battle, but men won the war. Young makes a fair point in the latter part of the statement, though. One aspect of the girlfriend dynamic that Sex and the City never really delved into is the theory that women are socialized to view all other women as competition. Plainly: That all girls secretly hate other girls, and if you don’t believe this to be true, you clearly haven’t been watching The Hills this season. (For all the accusations that the show is scripted, it captures female cattiness in a way that is unparalleled.)

Young continues:
Once you remove the pixie dust of female camaraderie, contemporary New York emerges as an essentially pre-feminist society in which the courtship rituals are strikingly similar to those depicted in the novels of Jane Austen. Women are second-class citizens who are expected to use their youth and beauty as commodities in order to secure their economic wellbeing. 'Sex and the City' is set in this world, but it conceals its brutality behind a veneer of cocktails and laughter. In reality, female friendship is the first thing to be sacrificed in the cut-throat competition for rich husbands.

Eh, disagree. In Jane Austen’s time if you didn’t land a husband, you were screwed — like, majorly screwed and forced to live with your parents because there were all sorts of laws preventing women from owning property. Whereas the characters on the show had jobs and could afford to support themselves in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world. The women used their youth and beauty not for economic well-being but to find a partner because it’s human instinct and we’re raised on fairy tales that ingrain in us the notion that love and marriage equal a happy ending. Also, female friendship isn’t the first thing to be sacrificed when in cutthroat competition for a husband. It’s our free time and then our pubic hair.

P.S.: Sarah Jessica’s hat reminds me of this totally disturbing book I read as a kid about a boy who ate a seed and then a tree grew out of his head.

P.P.S.: See that woman in the background wearing flats at the premiere? She was later taken aside and quietly pummeled with Manolos and Jimmy Choos. Don’t feel sorry for her. She knew the risks.

Are the Friendships in 'Sex in the City' One Big Lie? [NY Magazine's Daily Intel]

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

FWIW, after 30+ years of marriage I still enjoy my wife's free time and her pubic hair. The Sex and the City women might remind themselves to be careful what (men) they ask for, they may get it.

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