Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is 'Sex and the City' no longer relevant? Was it ever relevant?

I feel like I grew up watching 'Sex and the City.' I was only 19 when it debuted 12 years ago.  I rewatched the entire series last year during my post-breakup, man-hating, female-empowerment, I'm-alone-at-thirty, overly-sentimental phase.

I have a lot of friends who hate on the show, and logically I understand why, which is why I'm always guilty when I admit I still kinda love the show.  The movie sequel was pretty horrible, I will give you that.  The rest of it, the show itself, is still entertaining and well-written, and still speaks to me... as a middle-class, white, unmarried girl who grew up in front of the tv in the 90s/00s....

Despite my unfashionable love of SATC, I enjoyed this short NPR blog article I saw this week, Please, PLEASE, No More Trend Pieces About Women Based On 'Sex And The City,' It was written in response to a New York Times article that used a scene from 'Sex and the City' (a ten year old tv show!) as an example of modern male/female relationship dynamics.
Remember “Sex and the City,” when Miranda goes speed-dating? She wastes her eight-minute pitch three times by giving away that she is a corporate lawyer. The fourth time she says she is a stewardess and gets asked out by a doctor.
What made the episode poignant was not just that Miranda lied about her success, but that her date did, too: it turned out he worked in a shoe store.
Is female empowerment killing romance?
 The NPR blog wrote in response:
"Remember when this successful career woman couldn't get a date on a canceled show ten years ago? Is female empowerment killing romance?" 
That is ... not a thing. That is not an argument, not a piece of evidence, not a relevant pop-culture reference. It's about as meaningful as, "Remember Mr. Ed? Are horses learning to talk?"

That horrible New York Times article, "Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Female Empowerment," actually said a lot of other garbage, such as:
Sexual attraction in the 21st century, it seems, still feeds on 20th-century stereotypes. Now, as more women match or overtake men in education and the labor market, they are also turning traditional gender roles on their head, with some profound consequences for relationship dynamics.
Bullshit.  I can't believe this was published in 2010. 

I hate people who complain that it's "so hard" for women to be successful in their careers and their romantic life.  ...What?  Like anyone expected it to be easy?  Haven't men had to balance the two since always?  The NY Times article goes on to list a few examples of specific male/female relationships burdened by the female's success.  Okay, sure, some men will feel insecure if a woman is more successful than them--  because they're assholes!  The same guys are probably insecure if ANYONE is more successful than them.  Who wants to date an asshole?

For a while I felt weird mentioning my PhD in engineering in my OkCupid profile because I thought it might scare away men.  But then I realized I wouldn't want to date a guy who would get intimidated or scared off by that.  So why hide it?

---added 12/5/10---

Updating this post because I read yet another response to that NY Times article!  Seems to be a pretty hot topic!  This one comes from a guy perspective, Charlie Glickman, a sex columnist who happens to be a writer married to a woman who makes more money than him.
I understand that many men feel shame when they don’t live up to their expectations of what a man is “supposed” to be and overcoming that can be challenging...  I’d love to see a world in which women didn’t need to downplay their accomplishments in order to protect men’s egos. And I’d love to see a world in which men didn’t feel the pressure to live up to outdated models of masculinity that have never fit very well. 


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