As someone who entered young adulthood during the Sex and the City era, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love the show. Everytime it’s on, I watch it. It doesn’t matter that I already know every plotline, piece of dialogue and outfit the characters will be wearing in each episode – I am still genuinely entertained. And rightly so, since the show has been cited as a significant step forward for feminism in pop culture. A friend of mine even took a class dedicated to the cultural significance at UC Berkeley – it clearly made an impact on society.
During the show’s six season and two movie run, a variety of female issues were explored through the eyes of four very different, often caricaturized single ladies. We became more than acquainted with shoe hoarding writer Carrie, tell-it-like-it-is lawyer Miranda, sexually promiscuous PR mogul Samantha and traditional aspiring-wife Charlotte. It’s safe to say that most of us millennial females have heard it, asked it or thought it at least once: Which SATC character am I? But to my shock and disgust, most would like to be identified as “a Carrie.”
When you take away the fashion, clever puns, adorable rent-controlled apartment and Sarah Jessica Parker’s onscreen charisma, what are you really left with? Answer: a shallow, self-obsessed woman who irresponsibly spends every single cent she earns on designer clothing. She is self-admittedly uninterested in art, politics, or anything remotely intellectually stimulating, and she obsesses over trivial dilemmas. Oh, also, she wants only what she can’t have and changes herself for every single man she dates.
Remember when she pretends to be a furniture designer and non-smoker all for one date with Aiden? Or when she gives up her job to move to Paris with the Russian? Or how about the episode where she dates a politician? She immediately started dressing the part and wearing his political badge while campaigning for him. Did she care what his politics were? Nope. Or when she dated Jack Berger, the insecure, struggling writer? She wanted him when he was still seeing someone, got him, then complained that he wasn’t over his ex and got irrationally angry that he couldn’t commit. The list goes on.
And then, of course, there’s Mr. Big. The epitome of the “one that got away,” embodied by an ultra rich, ultra suave business man who was escorted around by a driver. For six seasons, we watched Carrie and Big get together, break up, have affairs, talk, not talk, have sex, not have sex and so on and so on. Per usual TV formula, the “will they or won’t they” gimmick entertained viewers, but when they actually did end up together in the series finale, Carrie solidified herself as a complete idiot.
I would argue that Mr. Big was one of the most narcissistic characters on television ever (with Carrie Bradshaw as a strong contender for second place.) His actions repeatedly proved that he did not love or respect Carrie in the slightest, yet she still chose to be with him – something a desperate, delusional person would do. No self respecting, independent woman would stay with a man who treated her so poorly. Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s recount some of the ways Big hurt Carrie through the years:
But it’s not just her poor choices with men that I find fault with – it’s her egocentric point of view manifested through vapid insecurity. For example, after she cheated on Aiden and they broke up, she becomes so consumed with what he told his post-breakup girlfriends about her that she meets with his best friend Steve to ask about it. Call me crazy, but once you’ve cheated on someone they’ve more than earned the right to speak negatively of you. There’s also the episode where she obsesses over what Big’s wife thinks of her and decides to fake interest in a charity and max out her credit card on a new dress just to prove her worth to herself. Once again, the list goes on.
Sure, we can all relate to some of Carrie’s predicaments and poor choices. No one is perfect. All women have insecurities, fallen for the wrong guy at least once and maybe even lost their identity in a relationship before – it’s part of life. But, ideally, we recognize our mistakes, continue to evolve as women and make better choices the next time around. Carrie Bradshaw, on the other hand, remains emotionally stagnant, trapped in an endless cycle of self-induced conflict by continuing to make the same mistakes again and again. There’s nothing desirable about that.
Kristel is a Los Angeles writer, actor, producer and social media-er. She spends a significant portion of her time pretending to be other people on camera, on stage and online. Here she gets to be herself. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram if you love cat photos: @kristelkove
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