If you are reading this, you are a mean girl. At least, according to Sarah Jessica Parker, who decried the “cruelty” of modern women in the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar. According to SJP, it’s bloggers like me and gossip site fans who are, apparently, responsible for the downward slope of civilization.
“I don’t Google myself. Good God, no! I have absolutely no constitution for that. I’m curious about everything, except what people have to say about me. It’s the random cruelty I really don’t understand. It’s not good for us. I don’t know, you know, how we go back in time to a better place.”
And it’s not just us nasty bloggers who are getting SJP’s knickers in a twist, either. It’s the crazy catfights and cruel ladies of reality TV, too! Her thoughts on that:
“I think so much reality television – and the women that dominate culture today – are pretty unfriendly towards one another. They use language that’s really objectionable and cruel and not supportive. I like to remember that Carrie and the other women in Sex and the City were really nice to each other. She was a really good friend. That’s why [women] can forgive those very apparent flaws and selfishnesses. She was a deeply devoted friend, and I think women really respond to that kind of connection. I think we all want it, we all work towards having it, and we’re not always the very best friends we can be.”
I do, to some extent, find a bit of truth in what she says. The internet could certainly be a nicer place, although don’t even begin to ask me how that can be accomplished, because I do not know. But SJP’s lamenting the passing of a kinder, gentler time of yore—let’s not forget that Sex and the City ended a mere ten years ago, certainly not eons—still seems to be an incredibly simplistic view, especially when you throw reality TV into the mix. Yeah, the Real Housewives and the Bachelor women are catty, but so what? It’s not supposed to be a model for how to live your life, it’s supposed to be something you watch while laying on the couch after a long hard day of work. These shows, unlike Sex and the City, have no lofty goals of trying to transform entertainment.
It’s become increasingly clear to me that Sex and the City was very much of a specific era, a very limited cultural moment. Sure, it got a lot of people talking about sex and certainly changed “women’s television” for the better, but more and more, the show seems like a total relic to me, even though I watched it eagerly in my early adulthood. The privilege, the selfishness, the lack of diversity, the total unceasing devotion to and glamorization of a city and a lifestyle that is 100% unattainable for most women…those are the aspects of Sex and the City that turn me off now. And the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker discusses the show like it’s some rosy wonderland full of female goodwill, a beacon of light in an otherwise catty entertainment climate just proves how out of touch she is with what’s going on today. I mean, this is a woman whose life is still enmeshed in the highly privileged fashion industry, a women who is laboring under the delusion that anyone other than her and her bank account wants a third Sex And The City movie.
Maybe women today are “unfriendly” because we live in a shitty economy and we’re more worried about earning money and paying our rent than designer shoes and whether or not Mr. Big is going to give us a toothbrush head. Maybe we aren’t as concerned about being a “good friend” because we have to hustle our asses off just to stay afloat. Maybe we’re “not supportive” because we continue to live in a culture that rewards material possessions and conventional beauty norms at a higher rate than self worth. And maybe we just want to watch to watch bitchy rich women be bitchy and rich to each other, without having to learn a lesson about life, love and friendship in every 30 minute episode.
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