Mr. Big had just half-ass proposed to Carrie Bradshaw when I stumbled on a late night airing of Sex and the City: The Movie on E! I, like most SATC fanatics, have watched the two movies so much that I can recite the lines and act out full scenes with friends.
This still hasn’t tarnished the importance of the series and these films for me. So, I grabbed a frozen fruit bar from the freezer (thanks to Weight Watchers), cuddled up with my leopard print snuggie and watched the last two hours of the movie with glee.
I was in tears (as usual) when the ending credits rolled. That “love is the label that never goes out of style” line bursts the levees EVERY time. But SATC isn’t all waterworks and sappiness.
There are happier moments and even comedic ones e.g. Charlotte defecating on herself in Mexico. Overall, Sex and the City is filled with teachable lessons that all women can and will learn about love and life.
When Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and the infamous Samantha revolutionized sexual expression in prime time, I was still an impressionable child. So I was forbidden from watching. But at some point, mom relented and allowed me to tune in each week as she did.
For a while, we had a routine. We would watch Six Feet Under, then SATC and finally, The Sopranos before she sent me to bed. SATC was the first show I can ever remember bonding with mom over. She used Sex and the City to teach me about relationships and sexual liberation. It was my first exposure to life as an adult woman. I relish in those memories.
In hindsight, I know that I initially adored SATC because it was forbidden fruit that I was finally allowed to taste. It was great being the sole child in junior high who could recount Samantha’s latest sexual exploit. But now that I’m older and I examine themes in media for a living, I realize that there are five unique reasons that Sex and the City still appeals to me.
Sisterhood Surpasses All Limits
As we know, I graduated from a historical black college for women. Sisterhood was shoved down our throats and we were forced to bond with others whether we wanted to or not. But the sisterhood between these four characters was genuine. Through religious conversions, breast cancer, moves to France and Los Angeles, and the loss of numerous loves, their friendship remained as authentic as it was when they met in the 1980s.
The significance of their sisterhood was rehashed as I watched the first movie. Mr. Big has been a jerk from the first episode of season one. He has attempted to ruin Carrie’s self-esteem with his tyrannical antics, inserted himself in her life when it was convenient for him and even refused to tell her his real name.
Yet, her sisters surrounded her in love, support and encouragement when Big left her at the altar. Even though they all had their opinions about him, none of them judged Carrie’s decision to accept his proposal.
In her darkest hour, her sisters were there to lift her spirits and feed her when she refused to eat. Even after witnessing all of this pain and nursing Carrie back to life, her friends still celebrated her union when she decided that his love conquered all. Their friendship is the unequivocal definition of sisterhood.
You can’t tell me that Samantha is not the epitome of Helen Gurley Brown’s definition of feminism. Her self-assured character has full reign of her life, from power moves in her career to who she was intimate with.
She lives her life on her terms and never caves to society’s perception of her decisions. Even as Samantha battled breast cancer, she was still resilient and never allowed her friends to drown her in their empathy.
But all of the ladies are fabulous feminists. Charlotte values her family unit, but was strong enough to divorce her first husband when she became unhappy; Carrie empowers women through writing; Miranda is a lawyer who takes no prisoners and offers no apologies; and Samantha has an office in Times Square. She has never had children and has no intentions of getting married, but she is still content with her life. These ladies are fabulous feminists.
No Fashion Boundaries
SATC introduced middle-class Americans to couture fashion. It was all strategic product placement; but Carrie’s obsession with $400 Manolo Blahniks inspired legions of women to save monies from their checks to invest in a pair.
Their wardrobes are almost as popular as the show itself. If I had to choose between Carrie’s closet and $1,000,000, I would choose the latter (I am a graduate student with some debt after all) – but it would be a difficult decision. For the SATC gals, fashion was an art form used to express their individual personalities. Even Charlotte’s puppies were fashionable in their Burberry coats.
Realistic Depictions of Love
I think women can and should have it all. If we consider what we’ve endured, balancing children, a husband and a successful career is not even a drop in life’s bucket.
Of course I want the Princess Tiana ending, complete with a brownstone veranda and thriving businesses. But I also realize that life is not an ensemble romcom like He’s Just Not That Into You. What I appreciate about SATC is the depiction of love as it is without the superficial frills.
Love can hurt. It is like a rollercoaster. Some seasons will be happier than others. It requires compromise and sacrifice. There is no simple solution. All relationships won’t endure the tests of time. We see how complicated love is in the successes and failures of the relationships on Sex and the City. As a 20-something millennial who is now dating and falling for the wrong dudes, I appreciate that realism.
Carrie Bradshaw was the first character I ever admired for her writing prowess and entrepreneurial skills. She built an empire on offering dating advice to women. It resulted in a gorgeous apartment in Manhattan, freelance articles in VOGUE and bestselling books.
Carrie was one of my earliest writing inspirations. Back then, I was convinced I would be the African American Carrie Bradshaw, writing about how to have successful relationships and offering advice in a popular column. It’s laughable now because outside of YourTango [I scored an internship there! Deets coming soon], I don’t consume much love and relationship news at all.
So that mission has changed. But the foundation is still the same. I want to write and use that to launch a larger brand. Watching Carrie succeed encouraged me to write. And here I am.
Cheers to the ladies of SATC for their innovation, brilliance and fabulous feminism!
What are some of your favorite Sex and the City moments?
* I love Girlfriends, but it never had as much of an impact on me as Sex and the City. I can’t explain why.