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24 July 2011 @ 04:30 pm
Imported title: "Sex and the City is about as 'feminist' as a copy of Playboy"  
So, today was the second day I saw the episode Sex and Another City and, just like the first time I saw the episode (which was a month or so ago), I wondered why Samantha idolizes Hugh Hefner. I ended up looking him up and realized he actually could be called a gay rights activist and even took a few Sociology courses before going out on his own. He was the heart-broken soul, apparently, when he came from the Army and his first wife told him that she had cheated on him. Not only that, but he stayed married to his second wife longer because he cared about his kids.

So, where is the disconnect? How did the Playboy mentality happen?

I tried searching the connection between Sex and the City online and found two articles that were interesting enough for the moment:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100040525/sex-and-the-city-is-about-as-feminist-as-a-copy-of-playboy/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/7746119/Sorry-sisters-but-I-hate-Sex-and-the-City.html

I had already enjoyed Ariel Levy's discussion on Sex and the City and Playboy via her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. It was a great read. However, I never watched Sex and the City until this year, so it was harder to truly analyze and interpret the show on my own. Well, I agree with her now though, but I also can't seem to hate the show completely. Then again, my argument for most things is that there is a good and a bad.

The first article is written by a man who finds that the show is just as beneficial to single men as Playboy. The argument is that it has the women expecting less of men and giving more, because they will "share [their] bed with any Tom, Dick or Harry, but the only men you should marry are chief executives who look like male models and earn over ten million dollars a year." While, the second article notes that "Sex and the City stole its feminist credentials, I think, by showing female sexuality."

Sadly, I may have to agree and disagree to both, but more specifically to the former. I do admire the discussion of female sexuality and relationships. Tanya Gold, the writer of the second article, summarizes Sex and the City episodes as such: "Each episode of the TV series is about a sex column [Carrie Bradshaw, the journalist] is writing. She asks herself a question, spends the episode investigating it and usually comes to the conclusion that she has no conclusion. She is, simply, the worst journalist in the history of the world." Even though there are not a lot of answers, I merely appreciate the questions as a way to start thinking myself. Not everything can be answered but isn't it more laudable to just raise awareness?

I, however, disagree with the way such processes are displayed, which is where I can somewhat agree and disagree with more of the first article than the second. The way Toby Young, writer of the first article, discusses Sex and the City seems almost as demeaning as the show itself. I realize how counterintuitive that sounds but he blames the women for the acceptance of stereotypical male culture rather than blame the stereotypical "single man" mentality itself. In fact, in the whole article, that is the whole point... to show how SATC promotes the single men ideology and, through that, how there is nothing wrong with that. Yeah, I find that a bit bothersome.

The second article was more specific to how Sex and the City is less about feminism and more about consumerism, with includes shopping for men. It honestly brings up every single problem I have with the show, starting with the opening sequence, to how the ends for all the characters. With all of my rants, clearly there would be nothing to enjoy from the show. Yet, as I already mentioned, it's the thought-provoking part of the show that gets me. Each character brings something different to the table, even though the overlying theme is as disturbing as ever. It also helps set the notion that everyone is really complicated, which I do want to believe. I enjoy the openness/candid nature of the discussions; the fact that they so openly can discuss sexual matters is refreshing. Even when they criticize certain matters, such as a women gaining weight... due to a pregnancy... as a self-esteem killer, I want to gainsay that and say that it made me sort of laugh at the notion.

That does not mean I want the culture to completely encourage promiscuous or consumerist behavior. I just don't think it should be condoned or encouraged when it is one sex and not the other... case in point, the earlier article, which suggests that it's a great mentality for men to have sex with multiple partners but the show gets the man thinking that "if you’re willing to trade access to your body for a Cosmopolitan and a copy of Vogue, why would a man bother to spend $10,000 on a diamond ring?" Thank you for saying it's completely fine for men to do it but women doing it is disgraceful and no wonder they don't get married. I'm sure that if you are sleeping around, and you don't get married, only a few will actually blame it on your mentality. Actually, I don't get how married is the ultimate outcome, but that's not the point of this note.
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triplettkedu on November 2nd, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
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