For most of human history, women’s voices have either been muted or silenced all together. Through generations of struggle, women have come very far in a very short time.
One of the markers of this change is Sex and the City. This week, the show is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Set in New York City, Sex and the City or SATC tells the story about the lives of four single women. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), the program’s protagonist, is a writer who writes a column about sex and love based on her own life. She is best friends with Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), an type-A lawyer, Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), a publicist who has been around the block and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), a traditionalist who works as an art dealer.
I very much appreciate the groundbreaking aspects of SATC. While the women had quite a few boyfriends, the men were secondary. The women and their friendship was primary. I also very much appreciate that the characters were sexually active and treated it as a natural part of adulthood instead of being ashamed of their actions. No subject was off the table with these women, they talked about issues that everyday women talk about with their friends.
However, I should point out that there are a few chinks in the armor when it comes to SATC.
- While Carrie’s apartment was beautiful, it was a fantasy. Most writers would not be able to afford that apartment in real life.
- The lack of people of color.
- The fact that all of the leading actresses were a little too skinny.
- The hookup culture that permeated the love lives of the characters. There are many women who would prefer wait to sleep with their dates or their significant others.
- The New York City that is presented in SATC has a very glossy feel to it. The New York City that I know is a little grittier and not as pretty.
- In the end, Carrie still lived out the traditional happy ending when she and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) finally made it official.
While SATC was not completely true to life, it was still a huge step forward when it came to how women were portrayed on television. For that reason alone, SATC will live on forever in the heart and minds of the fans and television viewers everywhere.