“Carrie: Are we simply romantically challenged, or are we sluts? (2:3)” The previous statement, by the infamous Carrie Bradshaw, summarizes the portrayal of women, specifically Carrie Bradshaw herself and Samantha Jones, in Sex and the City. The situations given to the two different women, between the other two characters, deter from the edge of chauvinist and feminist. When viewers are posed with the question of what comes to mind when the words “Sex and the City” are mentioned, a typical response is sex, fashion, men, and feminism.
The unusual mix of contradicting words conjure a scary thought – the nouveau, independent woman must be outspoken, almost in a vulgarity of the sense, in matters of fashion, relationships, the workplace, and even in sex. The former statement might be somewhat frightening to the average young woman, but it gets worse; these women on Sex and the City are also haphazardly balancing the aspects of their lives fairly reasonably.
Although “we all want to feel sexy and we have accepted our nature as condom-carrying, desire machines,” the crude nature in which the latter is displayed and exhibited in Sex and the City is rather repulsive, if not insulting to the modern woman (Frank 233). Thus, Sex and the City often portrays a false sense of feminism. To dive further into the world of Sex and the City and understand the unrealistic balancing act of the pseudo feminist world, each character must be broken down and analyzed. The stereotypical aspects of women, especially single, independent ones, are portrayed between the different characters.
Carrie Bradshaw is the leading, omniscient character of the series. She is the core of the fashion-foursome and usually the character viewers most likely will associate with themselves. She writes a column in the local New York newspaper pertaining to dating, relationships, and sex; thus, her ad slogan is “Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex. ” She tangles herself, as well as her emotions, in multiple relationships. Her posse consists of three other professional bachelorettes: Samantha Jones, Charlotte York, and Miranda Hobbs.
Samantha is a big time publicist who is usually worried more about her own needs rather than the men that fulfill them. Charlotte York is an art curator that is the prude of the group when the subject pertains to fashion and sex. Finally, Miranda Hobbs is the lawyer who is fiercely independent and constantly fighting against society over love. Each woman has an overwhelming sense of vulnerability one way or another, although the women are portrayed as feminist role models. Carrie Bradshaw is a seemingly modern woman in New York.
She writes a newspaper column about her sexual escapades, carries on a lavish lifestyle that extends beyond her budget, and coincidently always wonders into the right place to meet a seemingly perfect man. A deeper look into her character reveals the distinct flaws of Carrie, that which are stereotypically associated with professional women. Her job, for instance, is a sex columnist. Most of the public does not bother to read her column, much less allow it to influence their lives. Her writings are, in the professional world other than fashion and sex therapists, seen as frivolous reading.
She tattles around in absurdly high stilettos, even in her own apartment, and the latest fashions; as a result, her impulse spending often leaves her in debt. The trait, or lack there of, of financing is often observed as a weakness, particularly one characteristic to the female gender. Carrie instinctively brags about her spending habits when Adian, the boyfriend at the time, asks why she does not have the money to repair her apartment, yet multiple pairs of four hundred dollar shoes are currently residing in her closet.
She states, “I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet (5. 1). ” This shameless characteristic is not one of the advocates of feminism would like to display. She also seems to conjure her relationships with the various men in her life as the epitome of her being. Her job, conversations, and motives all revolve around either a past, present, or future relationship. One of her many relationship quotes is “Carrie: Maybe all men are a drug. Sometimes they bring you down and sometimes, like now, they get you so high (1.3). ”
Her emotions are literally put onto a platter and served to the entire city of New York. Her faults, shames, hookups, and breakups are displayed for the entertainment of her readers. Thus, the media is mocking Carrie in the sense that it is using her emotional being for entertainment. Her friends including the most intense, Samantha, often foster her vices. Samantha exudes sexuality and indulgence as her main characteristics. Out of the four, she is always clothed appropriately to her persona – scantily clad and suggestive.
She often uses her sexuality to lubricate her work tasks and is described as bringing “sexual confidence and power to all women (Hagenrater). ” The feminism can be used to describe the latter of the two characteristics, but the first is looked down upon, especially in the reality of being seen as a respectable equal in the professional world. Furthermore, when the viewer brings Samantha’s actions into reality, along with her peer’s opinions of her actions, the notion that she is looked down upon perverts any former feminist ideals.
She is impenetrable emotionally, although physically is a different story. Many responses from her friends reflect a sense of disapproval and shame, as if to compensate for her own lack of character. Charlotte, when describing Samantha to Wesley, “You don’t know Samantha. I do. She has so many notches on her bedpost it’s practically whittled down to a toothpick (2:3). ” Not very many women would find this statement, nonetheless made by a friend, to be flattering. Charlotte, the friend whom the statement came from, is the opposing character to Samantha’s character.
Although Charlotte may be perceived as respectable in a proper manner, her friends perceive her as too emotional and pleasing. Feminism is cultivated throughout social classes and races, but never has an independent woman been portrayed as tasteless as the character of the “powerful” Samantha Jones. Perhaps the most effective scene in the entire series is in the episode “Critical Condition (5:6). ” The untraditional Samantha is babysitting Brady, Miranda Hobbs baby boy. Samantha is at her wit’s end after Brady’s vibrating chair stops working, and he is resumed crying.
She improvises by placing her newly bought vibrator behind the chair to appease Brady. When Miranda returns and sees what Samantha has done, she does not cringe; rather, Miranda simply inquires if the vibrator was clean or not. This “modern merge of maternal and sexual” is the opposite of liberating -it confirms the fact that the modern woman is seen as transparent and vulgar about her whims and needs (Hagenrater). The pseudo feministic attributes seem to ooze from each scenario and character flaw in Sex and the City. Critic Stacey D’Erasmo writes, “[T]he new single-girl pathos seems more like a plea to be un-liberated and fast.
These characters really do just want to get married; they just don’t want to look so nai?? ve about doing it (Akass 8). ” The characters hate men but are still looking for Mr. Right; they enjoy sex but wonder if they are sluts. All of the women end the series with an ideal relationship. Miranda marries the father of her child and even compromises her “Manhattan girl” morals by moving into a house in the Bronx. The portrayl of women in Sex and the City appear to be innocent situations of feminism and the modern women. With a deeper look, one can reason that the series actually presents “feminism” in a vulgar and desperate manner.