The Sexual Politics of Sex and the City

Sexist criticisms of Sex and the City miss the point.
Argh, I’m done hiding my head and will be brave enough to talk about it, having been inspired by Sarah Seltzer.  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.  (Of course, if you adequately empty your life of humor and beauty to show how serious you are, you’ll get it for that, too.) As an audience member at one of my reading suggested, there’s something very fishy about the way the writers at Gawker and Jezebel bash the show for what?  Doing pretty much the same stuff that they do at those websites, except at least “SATC” is fictional.  And the sluttier-and-tougher-than-thou one-upmanship just made me embarrassed for the participants. 

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.

Meanwhile, you’ve got commentators like Best Week Ever’s Paul F. Tompkins and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. They’re both generally smart, enlightened folks, but last night Tompkins dropped by Olbermann’s show so they could snicker their way through a “Sex and the City survival guide for men.” (Check it out below.) The premise, of course, was that no so-called real man would ever want to see a movie about three-dimensional, adult female characters. (The TV show also featured plenty of well-rounded, interesting male characters over the years, by the by — Steve, Aidan, Trey — but we can ignore that inconvenient fact.) Quipped Tompkins: “If you’re with a woman who is insisting that you go see this movie, I think it’s time to maybe date someone else. Because men are not meant to see this movie with women.” Way to police those restrictive gender roles, bro!