"Welcome to the age of un-innocence. No one has breakfast at Tiffany's and no one has affairs to remember."
The quote above, as voiced-over by Carrie Bradshaw in the first few minutes of the series premiere of Sex and the City, is a blunt, raw and factual description of what the rest of the episode depicts. What Carrie leaves out however, is that although no one is participating in what she mentions, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't wish they were.
This post aims to welcome those who are unfamiliar with the series and to also stay relevant with the themes in this course. In an effort to do so, problematic and interesting feminist ideals from the very first episode will be identified and distinguished.
The episode/series begins with an anecdote that is being narrated by Carrie. This anecdote is incredibly important as it raises several issues, specifically problems, that will be discussed later in this post. What is important to the boost of feminism in the episode comes after the anecdote. Questions of power struggles between men and women are brought up by the character of Miranda, and then again by all four ladies (Carrie, Miranda, Samantha & Charlotte) over dinner and drinks. Several attributes of a successful Manhattan woman are listed, empowering the female. However, with that comes the vocalized fear that men may be threatened by a successful woman. Further, the issue of age is raised. All of these women are over the age of 30 and have successful, stable careers. They desire the same stability in a relationship as they have obtained in their careers and simply refuse to settle - and why should they? In this conversation, Samantha Jones announces that this is “The first time in Manahattan that woman have had the same power and money as men.” Later, Miranda challenges a man on the categories in which men place women: pretty vs. interesting. It is clear to see how the show is initiating a discussion on the changing dynamics between the genders and how it is affecting women, specifically.
On the contrary, much happens in the episode that dismantles the hard work done to empower women. Starting with the anecdote in the beginning of the episode mentioned earlier, it portrays a 'traditional' relationship in which the man is courting the woman, and holds all of the power by controlling the pace and intensity of their relationship and essentially leaving the woman broken-hearted. With all of the discussion on the success of women and their capabilities, a quote by Charlotte upsets the progress that is attempting to happen: "keep your mouth shut and play by the rules." Her quote suggests that women must dumb themselves down in order to achieve ultimate happiness, which comes in the form of a male companion. Moreover, the show relies on stereotypically gendered behavior: Carrie eating ice cream out of the tub, Charlotte painting her toe nails and ditching her friends for a date, Carrie noticing the lack of a wedding band on Mr. Big's finger, and allowing herself to be rescued from "the unthinkable...walking home" by him.
As we will see as this course and blog both progress, this show offers excellent examples of both double standards and feminism. The concept that the show is based on and the progression in which it attempts to achieve conflict. Although there are successful women sitting around a table discussing feminist ideals, at the end of the day they are participating in a tired stereotype of women who spend their time obsessing over men.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sex and the City is an American cable television and film series. The original run of the show was broadcast on HBO from 1998 until 2004, for a total of ninety-four episodes.
Set in New York City, the show focused on four caucaisan American women, three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties. The quirky series had multiple continuing story lines and tackled socially relevant issues such as sexually transmitted disease, safe sex, and promiscuity. It specifically examined the lives of big-city professional women in the late 1990s/early 2000s and how changing roles and expectations for women affected the characters.
The show was primarily filmed at New York City's Silvercup studios and on location in and around Manhattan. Since it ended, the show has been aired in syndication on networks such as TBS, WGN and many other local stations. However, basic cable outlets at local stations excise certain explicit show content that was broadcast in the original version. In 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."
Format - Romantic Dramedy (Drama/Comedy)
Created by - Darren Star
Starring - Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon
Created in - the United States of America
Number of Seasons - 6
Number of Episodes - 94