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November 3, 2008

Sex and The City: Bad For Women?

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sex and the city movie

Photo Credit: J. Devaney/Wire Image

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POINT: It started with the opening line - Carrie tells us that women come to New York for "labels and love." Consider the first one. For 144 minutes, we watch as the four slick, game-playing career gals fetishize stuff: car trunks full of Chanel, Vuitton handbags, five-figure wedding gowns, and a walk-in closet for all those Manolos - paid for by Prince Charming. Yes, TV Carrie loved fashion, but in the show, she picked up the tab herself (if on credit), and it was all just backdrop; the larger point was that women could put career first, pay their own way, and get laid as they pleased. As for love, the movie serves up the corny teenage variety, so commodified it appears on a key chain. And sex is barely in sight! If the show proved that the 30-something woman could be "single and fabulous," the movie is a warning that if she makes it to 40 without her handsome prince, she's pretty much screwed. -Yael Kohen

COUNTERPOINT: I saw SATC: The Movie three times, each with the same slap-happy grin that hijacks my face when a guy unexpectedly hits on me. Despite the vehement drum-banging of my colleagues, who rail about the "film's" gender stereotypes - Carrie's near-gravitational pull to the altar, career and family make Miranda a dull girl, yada yada yada - the glossy chick flick isn't meant to be women's studies fodder! It delivers what it promises: the abject consumerism, frank sexual dialogue, and hunt for a satisfying relationship that marked the HBO series. The result? A $400 million box-office ballbuster that flipped the bird to the old Hollywood credo that women can't open films. Men are inundated with brainless popcorn-chompers like Transformers; now that we've shown our seismic social capital, studios will start courting us with our own steady diet of blissfully mindless blockbuster fare. That's two steps forward in my book. -Lea Goldman


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