Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Culturally Alien

I am a girl.

Well, actually, I'm a woman sadly inching towards middle age. I would like to think that I'm culturally aware and know a few things about pop culture, even if I don't appreciate them. However, there are a few things I distinctly dislike. Ok, so I hate them. Sex and the City is one of those 'cultural' phenomena. It goes beyond not understanding it, because I do understand it. The problem is I hate how condescending, superficial and one-dimensional it is in its portrayal of women. Considering how I passionately I feel about the topic, I figured I couldn't be alone. I was pretty sure at least some of my friends agreed with me completely. I could not have been more wrong.

First of all, I pretty much missed the whole SatC boat when it first sailed by. I would hear all the women at work go on about it every week, talking about one character or another, insisting they are exactly alike and how their last date was exactly like blah blah blah...I figured, I couldn't understand what I didn't watch. Plus, I was a little turned off by a show whose feminism was expressed through sex, shoes and shopping. How is that feminism?

So a couple of weeks ago, when our friends were over, M was teasing me about always having the TV on, and watching everything--including SatC. I corrected him loudly--to which my friends expressed shock--SHOCK--that I was saying I didn't like it. How could I not love SatC? What transpired over the next 30-40 minutes was a discussion of how all of the women in our circle of friends loved the show, who was closest to which character and who had experienced the same thing as...

As I sat there wondering about what I was missing, I knew there was at least one friend who would chuckle and agree with me completely. She is a grounded, funny and intelligent woman whom I have always admired. I'm pretty sure she nods and smiles at my taste in music/art/movies/shows because I can be a little fluffy for her taste. So I sent her an email, beseeching her to save me from this loneliness in a SatC loving world. She (I swear laughed) responded that she actually kind of likes the show.

Here's my problem: The women on this show were so detached from reality, they made women look bad. I mean really, really bad. If a man had written that show, he would be (rightfully) branded a chauvinist pig. Most of the women in my group of friends (regardless of cultural background) have family obligations, real jobs and finite incomes. Our friendships extend beyond watching each other jump from one guy to another, our intellect generally reaches beyond random observations and our gay friends are not bitchier than we are. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt, we're all deeper than your typical cereal bowl. So why does everyone love this show so much? What am I missing?

Oh, and apparently there is a movie related to the show coming out soon. I'll continue to be a social outcast. Great.


TK said...

You're not an outcast to me. I loathe that show, as does Mrs. TK. It always struck me as emotionally and culturally hollow and the definition of the media's new vision of pseudo-feminist; that is to say - women who are neurotic but have a lot of money and obsess over men and shoes are somehow the new, modern woman. It makes me want to gag.

If you'll pardon the language, I asked my wife about it and her response was: "Why would I want to watch a show about a bunch of slutty bitches who complain all day?"

While perhaps not very nice, I'd say that sums it up.

Alex the Odd said...

Yes, yes, yes and yes a million times over. I have never understood the appeal either and in fact had a similar experience with my "I'm usually too fluffy for her she'll disown me if she ever finds out about me watching Gossip Girl" friend. I was horrified.

And amen on the "giving women a bad name" front. I'm fed up of hearing the argument of "It's feminist! They're acting just like men." Because: really? That's feminism is it? And also: What?!? I can't even begin to argue about it because my brain will explode.

Luckily my flatmates agree and it is merely alluded to in my household as "That program... with those women"

The Ex said...

Ugggghhh, hate that show right with you. It's so...unrealistic. I've never met one single woman like that - evar!

Anonymous said...

When the whole world was seemingly drenched in SatC glorification, I felt like the last sane person on earth for thinking the show was an over-hyped piece of mess.

One of the few episodes I watched in its entirety (with my erstwhile roommate who LOVED this kind of stuff) featured the Samantha character discovering she had the same name as some goobery college stupid. There was some sort of mix up with their phone numbers. This goobery college student showed up at her apartment and then WHAM they are having crazy, raucous sex. I turned, eyebrows arched, and looked at my friend to which she replied, "What? It's funny."

Same episode featured the lawyer character (the one who was supposed to be the brainiac) getting wasted to quell her nerves because she was on a first date with a handsome man. Mildly entertaining but nonetheless demeaning to assume that an otherwise confident woman would fall all to pieces on a freaking date with a cute guy.

And I never got the whole fashion forward thing about the show either. SJP dressed like an organ grinder's monkey.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...


Don't panic, if you're truly interested in the SiTC movie, you can always go the early screening with TK -- I heard he's already volunteered to write the review on Pajiba.

He's just THAT big of a fan. Really.

girl with curious hair said...

TK: I'm glad we agree. When you rule the Universe and spare me, I'd like to think we have something we can agree on. And Mrs. TK sounds brilliant.

Alex: I may have to cross the pond just to give you a hug.

Ex: Obviously you are in the wrong city. Maybe if you lived in a city populated by a lot of semi-plastic women. Oh, wait...

Manda: We need to hang out somehow. Really. And I'm going to steal 'organ grinder's monkey'.

ABoS: I'm so honored. But please, can we not shed blood on my pretty, pretty blog? Thanks.

PocaCosa said...

I'm a little behind in commenting, but I wanted to say that I've always been amazed by the adoration for SatC (btw, I think it's funny that even comments on this post said S"in"tC, which is indicative...).

Interestingly, I know one professor of feminist studies at a prestigious university who never misses a show. Yeah, I don't get it.