Monday, June 02, 2008

Sex and the City Movie/Sexism review



I've always been a fan of Sex and the City. Yes, the show had some flaws. It was relationship-centric (99% of the time those relationships were heterosexual and involved white, athletic-bodied people with VERY disposable incomes). That aside... I still loved the show. Episdoes could make you laugh and cry and they dealt with some very real subjects -- the episode where Miranda's mother dies, where Charlotte miscarries, where Carrie breaks her engagement with Aidan and when Samantha learns she has breast cancer -- are just a few examples. For all their flaws, these characters were very interesting and they were WOMEN.

I don't think I need to stress how rare it is for a show to revolve around the lives of women (even if those women's lives seem - at times - to revolve around men).

So when I heard the movie was finally coming out, I was thrilled. The event became even more hyped because my girlfriends used it as an excuse to get together. We all met in Bismarck (I live about 3 hours away) but one came all the way from Montana (8+ hours) -- gas prices be damned, we hadn't seen each other in years and this was our excuse!

There were about 7 of us and we spent the whole day together prior to the movie. It was wonderful catching up. I got to hold a friend's new baby and touch the belly of another friend who just found out she's gonna have a girl! We talked about our relationships, marriages, careers, politics and yes, we talked about sex. We're Midwest women from a low/middle class. Our shoes are Payless and we take our 'posh breakfast' at Perkins. Still, the SATC women appealed to us.

Not all of us loved the movie. One woman in our group felt the women weren't "strong enough" and several of us agreed that we didn't understand their romantic choices. But most of us really enjoyed the movie. I was one of them.


**SEVERE SPOILERS AHEAD (in blue)***

...

Seriously, stop reading if you don't want MAJOR plot points revealed.... you have been warned....


When Steve tells Miranda he cheated, the audience in the theater gasped. When they put their relationship back together, it was one of the most touching, realistic moments I've seen in film. Cynthia Nixon and David Eigenberg (Steve) brought me to tears when they reunited on the Brooklyn Bridge (do NOT forget kleenex).

There are plenty of laughs but also serious heartache. Carrie is jilted at the alter by Big (in one of the least sensible parts of the movie, in my opinion) but the scene is so powerfully acted, I could really forgive some of my nagging questions about Big's motivations. Charlotte in particular will give you chills in that scene. As Big tries to approach Carrie, she screams "NO!" My friend Randi pointed out the subtext in that 'NO' was clearly, "If this woman was not in my arms, I would rip out your jugular." Amen.

Really, I don't know if I've laughed that hard in a movie theater in years. I left the theater very happy and I'm taking my mother this weekend. She's a much harsher critic than I am - so we'll see...

Here's where I get pissy though. The press around this movie has sucked the big one seriously-- one reviewer even called it a "Taliban recruitment film!"** Sexy boyfriend (who I left at home) said our local news woman went to the theater and was trying to "find a man" who wasn't "dragged against his will." When I went, I met several men out with wives/girlfriends who said they enjoyed the show. Why is this shocking? We aren't perplexed when women enjoy action or horror movies, why can't men enjoy a movie where the females lead?

Then I saw one of my fave you tube channels, Reel Geezers, reviewed the movie and they really pissed me off too. It was just one sexist comment after another:

- These women aren't that hot
- They are bad parents
- They're thoughtless -- they care about shoes, not the Iraq War
- It was like soft core porn.

I've watched other Reel Geezer Reviews and they aren't prudes by any means. Not sure what is up with them.

Why is the media asking asinine questions like "Will regular women relate to the SATC girls?" -- really? Do we worry if men will relate to the Hulk? After all, men don't get big and green... I'm not sure men can look past that to the message. *sarcasm*

SATC women have always been into shoes, bags, designer labels etc. But is that any more ridiculous than the gadget/car/weapon fixation we get in so many traditional "men" movies like Batman/Bond?

Speaking of "soft core porn." Bond has a different bed mate in every movie, often times more than one woman per movie. We don't blink at this! However, when we portray women who aren't necessarily in monogamous relationships (and enjoy sex), suddenly it's 'too much'? PLEASE.

As for the Iraq war comment-- that just takes the cake. Did anyone go into that theater with the expectation that the war would come up? Do we expect the stoner dudes in Superbad to stop and ponder war and peace? NO. But because it's women shopping, drinking and partying -- suddenly it's "shamefully" shallow.

If you enjoyed the show, I think you'll enjoy the movie. If you've seen it, please tell me what you think. :)

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Last minute thought--- I recall Sarah Jessica Parker from movies like "Hocus Pocus" and "First Wives Club" (where she plays the sexy young girlfriend) --- and I realized something... she's always been a cute/hot girl at the multiplex. She's never been the "ugly friend" or anything like that.

And for good reason... She's NOT ugly. Not until Sex and the City took off and she became a heroine for single women everywhere. Then suddenly Maxim named her Unsexiest woman alive. Interesting that suddenly lots of critics are stumbling over themselves to print their feminist backlash reviews railing at these women for being ugly and shallow.

One commenter at Women & Hollywood blog may have said it best:

It's a bizarre cultural experiment, seeing how so many people are so threatened by a single movie aimed squarely at ladies.



** UPDATE: More sexist press for Sex and the City -- this one manages to also be sexist to Hillary Clinton in the process! What WILL they think of next?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a heterosexual male and I haven't seen the movie. The only reason I would see the movie would be to check out leading actresses. Otherwise, this movie looks like it awash in stuff men could care less about. Call me captain cave man, but I just found the whole series to be a bore.

Tobes said...

You're entitled to that opinion. I find Rocky/Rambo/Steven Seagull *(or whatever his name is) movies boring so ... to each their own, perhaps?

But I don't know if it's fair to say the movie is "awash" in stuff men could care less about. There movie has lots of fashion and shoes to be sure, but at heart it's a film about relationships, love, family etc. I think that can appeal to either sex.

Bianca Reagan said...

I heart babies! The happy kind, anyway.

I don't know what Perkins is. I lunch at Souplantation.

I haven't seen the movie yet. I will be renting it on DVD.

Two of the women aren't parents, so they aren't bad at it.

Four years later, one would hope the Iraq War would be over.

The media asks asinine questions because that is all their asinine bosses will allow them to ask. For further explanation, see Stephen Colbert's thoughts on Scott McClellan's latest book.

I don't watch James Bond movies for the exact reasons you pointed out. Yet my Mummy watches them. She has problems.

God forbid women be ugly and shallow. Those critics should watch one of my favorite (for real) shows, The King of Queens. Doug would be better looking if he lost and kept off the excess weight. Plus, he's always shallow.

I need to find my own Sexy Boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

Great insight. I loved the movie and wouldn't really change a thing. Miranda and Steve's situation really just pissed me off. Visit http://sandeep-sexandthecity.blogspot.com/

Jade said...

You are dead-on about the sexism! I heard such bad reviews for this movie, I was really expecting a flop. But I'm a huge fan so I went anyway and I of course loved it.
I address sexism/women's stereotypes in a related way in this article I wrote: http://www.bridezilla.com/2008/06/carrie_bradshaw_the_biggest_br.cfm

I am looking for feedback from smart women:)

Anonymous said...

Saw it. Dumb movie.

patrick said...

Sex and the City seems to have a polarizing effect on both men and women... people either love the movie or they hate it

movies said...

I think Sex and The city movie is best for all the people who can stand a whole season of the series, and the ones who want to fill their yearning for HBO Sex&TheCity nights, well. i hope they'll do a sequel :)

movie download said...

Sex and the City is one of those movies that will always enjoy a love and hate relationship with so many people. Personally, I liked it.