Last night I went to see “Sex and the City” with my best mate Erica. In true girl’s night out style, a Thai dinner was followed by champagne cocktails to get ready for a feel good movie with an edge. The cinema was sold out. 95% of the audience was female.
The film started out fun and flamboyant but the longer it went on, the more uneasy I felt. All of the main characters seemed to have stopped living a real life and growing. We hardly ever saw them at work and none of them experimented sexually by using toys, watching porn, or taking part in sensual workshops. They had all settled into cosy heterosexual monogamy. What annoyed me more than anything was the ending. It could have been from a 1950′s movie: Carrie took Mr. Big back only seconds after seeing him again – even though he left her on the altar, they had not been speaking for 6 months and she had been to emotional hell. No questions asked, no rules set. Why did they have to get married at all? Why could she not be happily single or go out with someone who is ready to commit and has no problem giving her the big wedding of her dreams? Oh and Miranda – why could she not (like the actress in real life) discover her bisexual side and fall for a woman rather than having Steve back? Charlotte of course has become the perfect housewife. Happily married, mother to an adopted baby girl, she says “I have everything I ever dreamt of” no more thoughts and time wasted on her original big love – art. Carrie’s assistant, a twenty-something, packs in her dream job and life in NYC to marry her boyfriend after he dumped her and moves back – wait for it – to Louisiana. And Samantha leaves the only hot guy in the show because she is bored and unfulfilled rather than making more time for each other, or living her life with him by her side. But even the breakup leaves her unsatisfied: She did not seem to go back to her old ways of being an adventuress even as a single woman but rather settles for joyful comfort eating.
Most women in the cinema were in their twenties. What messages are they told, what lessons will they learn? The sex in the city ‘icons’ are no more heroines who make their own dreams come true, experiment sexually and with different relationship models – just superficial women that drink cocktails, talk fashion and would do anything to find happiness with “the one”. It is odd that especially films which are supposed to be for women always put us down a peg.
I remember with horror the message of “All about Anna” – hailed as the ultimate porn for women. The sexually liberated woman is portrayed as an alcoholic and Anna has her heart broken by her “big love”. When he disappears without a word for years, she starts to experiment sexually but never finds true happiness. That is the prerogative of her “big love” when he returns to her after something like 5 years. She takes him back of course, no questions asked. Arghhhh. Let’s do a movie that truly reflects how modern liberated women live and love – the many variations of sexuality, relationships and definitions of “happiness”. We have moved on and continue to explore and grow. The sky is the limit.