First, I would just like to say that I thought it would be incredibly fitting for my first feminist movie review to be for the Sex and the City Movie–a movie of one of the first television shows to present an alternative lifestyle for women. That said, I would like to recall one of the more enjoyable and enlightening episodes from one of the first few seasons. In this episode, our girls travel to suburban Connecticut for the baby shower of a former party hard, promiscuous friend of theirs from the eighties. Before the party, Miranda piques that their friend has joined THE MOTHERHOOD, a dangerous cult that alters any woman who joins. While Charlotte is excited for the shower, the other three ladies are baffled by this selfless lifestyle that these mothers at the baby shower have chosen in seeming conformity. While their pregnant friend seems happy of her new life on the outside, inside she is still as miserable as she was when she was stripping at her house parties, albeit for different reasons. In the end, since SATC is from the point of view of our single ladies, viewers witness that there can be a fulfilling alternative to motherhood and wife-dom and that perhaps the suburban life is not all that it is cracked up to be—ie see the Feminine Mystique. But, times change and ten years later, both Miranda and Charlotte have joined THE MOTHERHOOD with Carrie on the verge of becoming Wifey Big. Even Samantha has devoted herself to ONE MAN for years! And while we have witnessed these women grow and mature in so many ways, this feminist can’t help but wonder–so SATC movie–what is the message here? Unfortunately the SATC movie is probably one of THE WORST examples when it comes to product placement and encouraging women to indulge in ridiculous designer clothing, handbags and shoes that we definitely do not need and do not make us feel any better about ourselves in reality. (But we’re women and we’re supposed to indulge once in awhile right?) I will admit that the movie is accurate in its representation that women sometimes do buy unnecessary things to make ourselves feel sexy or powerful. The problem I have with the movie is that it supports this unhealthy and negative habit. The movie is essentially a giant advertisement–one that says–you need these things to be happy: give in to the ads that make you feel fat and incomplete–they’re right because you are fat and incomplete. The reality of it is that the media makes us women believe that we are never sexy enough, nice enough, rich enough or skinny enough to want to make us buy things that will supposedly help with those problems. We all buy into this perfected image of a woman which is why we often critique one another or try and put one another down by calling another woman a skank or fat. The bottom line is– we don’t need Jimmy Choo, Chanel or Vivienne Westwood. We should be fine in our own skin and in clothes that don’t cost the future college tuition of our children. The other problem I have with this movie is how while it subconsciously begs us to buy stupid shit, it simultaneously preaches that doing so makes you a silly materialistic woman who doesn’t have her morals straight. And while it seems like that is what I was preaching in the previous paragraph, I am not asking you, readers, to purchase the newest line of makeup, or advertising for Victoria Secret on this blog. We DON’T need huge fancy weddings and materialistic things but isn’t it a tad frustrating for a movie to make you want want all these things in order to make you feel like a real woman and then SCOLD you for feeling that way? What I mean is, in the first half of the movie, Carrie gets carried away with her big wedding to Big. She plans an elaborate, over the top, gorgeous wedding, only to frighten Big off. Carrie realizes in the end, that all she needs is Big, a simple wedding suit and a marriage in a courthouse. So materialistic Carrie has learned a valuable lesson—she had to undo years of societal ingrainment to accomplish this, but in the end she got what she always wanted, true love. Did a man write this movie? Seriously. Cause men hate weddings so it seems like a man is trying to teach us women that we don’t need huge weddings and that they’re stupid. I’m sorry but when I get married I want to celebrate with my family and friends the love and the new life I have found. Men think its stupid. But us women– we are evolutionarily social creatures–and we want to be surrounded by people who support us, people who are happy for us….we want to throw a party and get some blenders doing it damnit. Anyways, all I am saying is that this movie is sending us loads of mixed messages which in some way completely epitomizes the predicament of the contemporary woman. We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. We are supposed to be the super moms, high powered career lady and still utterly sexy and glamorous. And what do men have to do? Well, pretty much the same thing they’ve always done. During the feminist movement of the 70s and 80s, women wanted to have it all, but now we are expected to do it all, flawlessly and well… it might just be a little bit unrealistic. Perhaps we don’t want to do it ALL, but maybe we just want to have the option. But before we can do what we want we have to find people who love us for us and never need us to buy certain products or items in order to sustain that love. Once we’ve found those people, we shouldn’t have to feel like we need to mold ourselves to that perfect woman the media asks us to be. Although realistically I know we do anyways–the media is pretty powerful! Lastly–the one part of the movie that interests me, is Samantha’s breakup with Jason Lewis. Even though he loves her unconditionally (for reasons not quite explained but accepted nonetheless) and she loves him as well, she breaks it off with him because she doesn’t want her life to revolve around any one man–she still wants to be with other men. While in some ways, this breakup is liberating, it is also sad. I support Sam’s decision to not want her life and her career to revolve around her boyfriend, but at the same time, it’s awful that Sam could get rid of someone from her life that has shown her so much love and compassion. In some ways, the breakup is more realistic than the relationship was. A woman of a certain era, who wanted to be as free as men are in life, falls into the same trap many bachelors do as well, giving up something great in order to be alone and free. And while this myth has been perpetuated and glamorized for men (see Easy Rider, On the Road etc) I don’t think it’s a positive one for women to adopt, although I must say I understand if they do.
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