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Monday, May 12, 2008

"We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld


Is it just the shoes?

"Detractors deride it as little more than women obsessed with men and shoes. But this does it a disservice. Kate Smurthwaite says that as a feminist and comedienne, she is a big fan. "In fact I would go so far as to say that if you enjoy Sex and the City, you ARE a feminist.

"If you can watch the amount of sex Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda have without shouting 'harlot' at the screen; if you're not horrified by the idea of women having professional jobs, living alone, talking about sex, drinking alcohol, having children out of wedlock, experimenting with lesbianism, owning vibrators and all the other stuff they do, then you support a level of freedom for women that is a very long way off for a majority of women in today's world."...

What does ring true for him is the time and effort New York women put into grooming, from their pedicured toes to their Brazilian waxes to their blow-dried hair.

"It made it seem sexy and normal, rather than mind-numbing, to spend hours painting your nails. Its sleight of hand is to make this seem like a post-feminist choice, rather than sexual enslavement. As a man, I shouldn't really object - go right ahead, make yourselves look gorgeous for me and my leery mates."

And Tate, of Time Out London, also covets its portrayal of a job very like his own. "Endless brunches and very little work. If that's what life is like as a magazine journalist, I'm working for the wrong publication."

Perhaps it's like that in Time Out's New York office."

The comments are even better:

"Yawn. Let me sum up EVERY episode of Sex and the City:
- Pretentious woman has self-obsessed issue.
- Pretentious woman discusses self-obsessed issue with equally pretentious friends (assuming they aren't too busy with their own self-obsessed issue)
-Pretentious woman has experience that either confirms or disproves self-obsessed issue and writes about it.
- Kim Cattrall gets them out.
And that's pretty much it. Oh, and with lots of shoes.
Stuart, Margate

Isn't SATC anti-feminist? Although these women are all independent with careers and are sexually liberated etc, the show is mainly about how these women relate to men. They seem to be all obsessed by men and the need to pin one down. The thread through the show is how these women need the perfect man to complete their lives. It always comes across as quite sad and desperate to me.
Steve, Oxford

Anyone who's watched the show will know that binge-drinking and casual sex are cool - thanks Sex In The City for contributing to Modern Britain.
Bob, Southampton, UK

Men should beware of SATC women. After watching this programme, my wife's internal frame of reference became SATC. Her obsessive comparison was "Why is my life not like SJP's?" She spent all our savings funding a SATC life and we eventually separated with her moving to London to pursue her fantasy.
Jim, Edinburgh

I have often wondered what it is I like about it because I can honestly say I despise each of the four women. In contrast, I quite like the male characters. There is obviously a lot of male influence over the show. Why else would the women be completely self absorbed/neurotic messes while the men are charismatic and relatively sane? And feminist? I think not. If this show is intended to empower women by encouraging irresponsible behaviour, then it has certainly succeeded. I wonder how many young women out there have bought an impractical and overpriced pair of shoes because Carrie wore them on SATC. They seldom address the issues that come along with overspending. I have never seen Carrie tear open a credit card bill and collapse on the bed in despair.
KL, London

I'm a man and I live in NYC. I watched the show and found it funny at times, irritating and silly at other times. Still I watched it. The only thing that bothered me was where did they get all that money and great apartment locations? I was a single man making good bucks and living in a hovel in Brooklyn and could barely afford much more than a few dinners a month on the town with the shoe obsessed gals I knew.
Phil, Brooklyn, NY

It was refreshing to see strong, independent women like that on TV. A feminist show, probably, but what disappointed me the most about it was the absolute cop-out at the end. After all the episodes and seasons of these women being independent, strong and well able to take on the world on their own terms, they end it the way they did, with the soppiest of nods to romanticism and conformity. The most unfeminist ending they could have thought of. Bah, humbug.
David, Ireland

I know nobody who watches it. My female friends tell me it is bereft of any humour, even if you are a woman. I don't think watching Sex And The City makes you a feminist at all, it just shows that you have no sense of humour and will tolerate any old drivel, nothing more.
Russell Lambert

Whatever spin feminists put on it, it's just not normal behaviour for women to act like they do on this show - women trying to be men. What needs to be stressed is that women are biologically different to men. They don't naturally look to "spread the seed" as men are programmed to do. Also, it is not sexy for women to act this way. Personally I wouldn't ever want my daughter to watch this show and therefore be influenced by perceiving this sexually deviant & promiscuous attitude as normal. With the world gripped by STD epidemics and single parents, this is the last show that should be on TV. It's unbelievable how much TV can mould a generation's values.
Conor Smith, Dublin, Ireland

My partner despises this show and "doesn't get it" - I feel very alone in the female world in that I totally agree with him. I cannot stand this programme. I can't exactly say why I don't like it as I enjoy comedy and good storylines (which SATC apparently has) but something about it makes me dive for the remote control whilst shouting obscenities as to why people watch it.
Helen Preston, Swindon

Personally I think SATC is very sad. It has created the idea for women to seek satisfaction in material items. The idea that any hardship in life can be fixed by purchasing a pair of $300 shoes is pathetic. Girl power, yeah right.
Andy, London, UK

"....if you're not horrified by the idea of women having professional jobs, living alone, talking about sex, drinking alcohol... then you support a level of freedom for women that is a very long way off for a majority of women in today's world." Fascinating how if you reverse these and apply them to us men, you are left with a stereotypical laddish, uncaring, selfish, immature character that we unfairly spend our modern lives apologising for. But it's OK if you're a feminist - it's a positive thing. Ridiculous.
Scott, Oxford, England

I find SATC a bit boring and shallow and never really got into it. I think it's because I don't identify with any of the characters. You don't have to be a cocktail glugging, shoe worshipping sex maniac to be a feminist and I find Kate Smurthwaite's comments as ignorant and as shallow as the show itself.
Rachel, London

I think Brian Griffin (Family Guy) summed it up best after watching it with some gay friends: "... so it's a show about three hookers and their mom?"
Neill, Plymouth, UK"

The question is begged: who's the strawfeminist here?

I also learnt something new today: SATC ended 4 years ago (doh!)
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