Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can a Feminist Love Sex and the City?


Can she find the legions of grown-up girls who think it's so true to life, and see it as a guide for single women surviving in NY utterly ridiculous? Hell, yes. Ladies, it's not a cute slice of life, or farce, but a cautionary tale. A cautionary tale for women who grew up in the Reagan years, in the time when Feminism became a dirty word like Liberal, and we were magically sucked back to the 1950's. When the battle became vaguely embarrassing to young women, who either forgot, or were never told in the first place, how bad things once were for the "weaker sex", and chose to step away because of this lack of historical knowledge, and because, well if they were really aggressive, or strident, or angry...they might not get a man, and would be alone forever.

I attended all-female schools both elementary school, and high school. I pledged my sorority second semester freshman year. I have no siblings, but have obviously spent a great deal of time with others of my gender. I have known at least 20 women who have turned their lives upside down, and inside out for a man. Let me make this clear-to keep a man. Moved repeatedly, converted, dropped all their friends and family, stopped working, allowed him to choose all her clothing, became vegan, changed political affiliations...a reason I always wanted to shake sense into Charlotte. Someone who truly loves you does not reject you if you are not just like him, or don't give into his every demand. He does not choose his dead mother's wishes over you. Fuck him.

My parents are dead. They gave me morals, values, raised me to be a good liberal. They were also obsessive, possessive, controlling,and highly eccentric. Mother's and Father's Days, their birthdays, and wedding anniversary are still agonizing...I no longer go fetal, under the covers for the day, though I'm fragile most of that week. However, I feel no obligation to live as though they are haunting me. I'm free. This story line made me want to go Elvis on the TV. Good thing I no longer have a gun.

Carrie. Unfortunately, I have known a few of her type too. Fun to laugh at her misadventures, until you talk to her on a day she's being honest, drunk enough to be honest, or heartbroken enough to be candid. I have a friend who goes through a man every month or two. In the beginning, every guy is the One, and she's dancing on air.

By week two, she has picked three fights, and found every fault that will doom their relationship ten years in the future, and she will be raising their abandoned children alone. By the next month, she has torpedoed the relationship completely, and is devastated that he has suddenly stopped calling her, or taking her calls. There she has it-proof that all men are unworthy. Every man is secretly her ogre of a father. All the good ones are taken. She is a brilliant and accomplished woman, but without an ounce of common sense, and blind as a bat when it comes to reading people. She's almost thirty-eight years old. I have bitten my tongue often to keep from telling her to grow the fuck up. Wouldn't work, and would hurt her too much.

When Miranda tried to tough talk some sense into Carrie, and keep her from uprooting herself for a man who really only loved himself, she nearly lost the friendship, and Carrie went to Paris in part to spite her. I've found in real life Carrie wouldn't have come back. She wouldn't have been able to admit to her friends or herself that they were right. Or to be the only one in the group without a stable relationship.

I admired Miranda's courage for confronting her friend. For much of the show, she was a complete coward, pushing away love, being so rigid, and critical. She never knew how to make an emotional connection until Steve, and then when he got in she looked at degrees and economics and decided she was too good for him. Only when he became a success, and other women wanted him, did she need him back. I, at times, have been guilty of thinking things to death, and letting good ones slip away.

Samantha was the sex freak-twin to Miranda, reveling in the freedom of her lack of emotional attachments, and her obnoxious, hyper-aggressive style in business. Have sex like a man? Men fall in love too, dummy. How many did she hurt because she-not unlike a male sexist's skewed view of women, saw men as erection machines, as giant walking dildos, and not thinking, feeling real people. She did not understand that attachment was normal bi-product when you continually have sex with the same person. Emulating the worst of traditionally male behaviors did not make one a feminist hero, an independent woman of the world, but just another asshole. Women aping shitty male behavior is missing the point of the push for equality. So many Second-Wave Boomer Women did not get this.

So many, I think, missed the point. One prime example is HRC. And no, I'm not calling her slutty, don't be silly. Tucker Carlson joked at the event I saw him at on Monday-I can't use the name again it's too insane-that Hillary was the toughest person who ever lived. I think that's a part of this once admirable now crazy/selfish tenacity is that she is gonna show 'em! She is going to be a woman tougher than all the boys, and beat them at their own crooked game. This resonates with the older women who didn't get that the women's movement was not about being just like asshole men, but gaining the same rights as men. If a man showed this much stubborn pride, and disregard for the party and country, he would be reviled too.

Don't get me wrong, I want a woman president, just not her, and not like this. I want it clean. I want her to be Thatcher, not Bhutto, meaning I don't want her to an ex-president's wife or daughter. I want her to rise just the way the men have. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin. I want her to be a feminist...who gets the cautionary message of Sex and the City.

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