June 11, 2008

Feminists Write About Sex and the City

It's been a bit lonely out here. (I know that everyone and their sister has written about Sex and the City, but not too many from a feminist perspective. Here are some other opinions.

Amanda Marcotte aka Pandagon writing in Alternet
All these attacks on “Sex and the City” in light of the movie that has come out---mostly from people who probably never watched a minute of the show---are sexist. And they’re a particularly insidious form of sexism, one that feminists are prone to falling for, which suggests that women don’t deserve respect unless they distance themselves from unserious things.

But the worst is the assumption that because it’s about four women and it’s funny and it’s about sex and there’s expensive clothes, then it is by definition stupid. Why? Because it’s feminine, admit it.

And that’s why, as I’ve said before, the show is a fantasy for a lot of fans who don’t have that opportunity to live, well, like men get to. And that’s why the show is such a sore spot in our country, because it put a friendly face on that demonized woman, the independent woman. There’s not a lot of room for independent women still in the Hollywood machine. Movies like “Knocked Up” can push the envelope of raunchy humor, but still play it very safe and deny the threatening idea that a woman (gasp!) might not want to be tied down to just any random dude who asks. The Sexual Politics of Sex and the City
Sarah Seltzer on RH Reality Check
SATC allows its characters to feel the omnipresent judgments and conflicts in women's lives, and feel them deeply, in a way that resonates with truths about modern womanhood. But then, as the arc or episode draws to an end, the four characters always accept each other. That kind of unassailable sisterhood is a feminist ideal, even when accented by silly designer shoes.

Let's hope that the triumph of this film, combined with that of Juno, means that there will more smart movies for women. But more importantly, let's hope that it gives Sex and the City II, and other movies of its ilk, license to be more risky, to be more real, and to include racial diversity that's more than just a gesture. Sex And The City: Eww It's For Girls!
Anita Diamant in the Boston Globe
Ah friendship; the love that dare not speak its name. I speak of women's friendship, a thing nearly invisible in popular culture where women seem to operate in a near-friendless vacuum. Friends and the city
Judith Warner on the NY Times website
“Sex and the City” is the perfect movie for our allegedly ever-so-promising post-feminist era, when “angry” is out and Restalyne is in, and virtually all our country’s most powerful women look younger now than they did 20 years ago. Woman in Charge, Women Who Charge
Paula Kamen on Women in Media and News
But the reviews have gone above and beyond just criticizing the movie to being very defensive about the characters’ sexuality, to the point of exhibiting a strange hostility. New Yorker hostility beyond being ‘just not that into’ SATC