Sex and the City: Still Relevant or What?

If you didn’t know already (and as a college-aged woman you should), Sex and the City 2 arrives in theaters this weekend. While my friends and I have become pretty big fans of the television series, the movies are a bit foreign… almost a different strain from the original spirit of the series. I remember way back when in middle school, my mom would make me leave the room every Sunday night because a “certain” program was on she wanted to watch, and given the context, it was a bit too scandelous for my little eyes and ears. I didn’t really think much of the series until college, when it suddenly became a chill Friday night favorite and an oft-referenced tome of female wisdom.

However, Sex and the City has become a bit dated. My mother watched it. Now I watch it with my girlfriends. TV shows rarely span this generational gap and exist with such longevity. Originally, Sex and the City was sort of shocking. It broadcast nudity, sex, dirty language, and frank conversations about women and sexuality into living rooms everywhere. It offered an empowering, feminist message: a group of four women who often valued professionalism and friendship over men.  Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte became role models for millions of single women looking for someone special. The show empowered women to think about themselves first and to explore their sexuality, while standing firm in their refusal to make excuses for the, ahem, trifling men of Manhattan.

But what is the focus of the series now? In magazines and online blogs, discussion of Sex and the City has recently been limited to Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall’s feuds and the fashion choices of famed costume designer Patricia Field. Seemingly, as the costumes get more elaborate the feminine empowerment message begins to fade to the background. (I mean, everyone talked about Carrie’s wedding dress in the last movie, but where was the frank discussion about being forced to sacrafice your dream wedding to your beloved because he’d already been down the aisle twice before? What? No room for compromise?)

While I have yet to check out this latest installment of the franchise, I have high expectations for fabulous men, fabulous bedroom scenes, fabulously frank conversation, and of course, fabulous shoes. Will the feminist sentiment still persist despite all the glamour? Let’s hope so. After all, we fell in love with the idea of Carrie Bradshaw because of her “every girl” insecurities, aspirations, and quirks – the glam and glitz has always just been an added bonus.

By Kylie Thompson, Harvard University

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