Sunday, June 15, 2008

SEX AND THE CITY and Its Labels

Don’t get me wrong, The Southern Belle had a great time at SEX AND THE CITY. It was more than a movie, it was an event. It was a reason for a Girls Night Out and we almost didn’t get a seat, because even on a Thursday night the theater was jammed with women like us.
I felt a surge of Woman Power seeing those four powerful, dynamic women on the screen as I sat with two powerful, dynamic women friends. Of course as a recovering screenwriter I am delighted that the movie is doing so well at the box office. I loved seeing those four beautiful over-twenty actresses costumed by the world’s top designers. However, Carrie’s first VOICE OVER: “Women come to New York from all over for the two Ls, love and labels” set my teeth on edge.
Love of course. Freud said, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” And beside the show is called: SEX AND THE CITY. But labels? Labels? OK, I told myself, fashion was an important element in the series. So I sat back and enjoyed the show. And it was lots of fun. But over the weeks since, that phrase keeps coming back to me and my teeth are edgier than ever.
Fifty years after the feminist movement we are what? Supposed to be dupes to designers? Covet accessories not because of their intrinsic beauty but because they carry a certain label? Walk around carrying billboards on our arms? Or was it all an excuse for product placement?
Of course we want to be attractive and we like beautiful things. Open any issue of VOGUE or ELLE and you’ll see outfits that are lovely, but you’ll see others that are awful, no human being would be caught wearing them, but they do have the right labels. Go to your little boutique around the corner and you might find schlock or you might just find an original gem. But maybe that was the real story arc after all. In the end the dress Carrie found happiness in was a no-name outfit she found in a vintage shop.


Cruella said...


1) it's only really carrie who is obsessed with fashion. you'll never see miranda in a fashion shop. the opening line is her words. it is a bit sad how much of the show seems to be a big fashion parade, that is usually the bit that appeals to me the least, although in the cinema it did give it a more "big-screen" feel. it's a shame to have a huge screen like that and only show scenes set in pokey little kitchens. but they did do some big screen NYC panoramas, like steve and miranda on brooklyn bridge and the film was kindof long so they could have cut some of the needless product placement out.

2) in SATC all four main characters are all female, all have good jobs and are still able to get the men they want. one of them leaves a gorgeous movie star because she likes being single - at fifty! admittedly carrie has a the soppy but-i-love-him ending but miranda solves her relationship issues by going to a marriage guidance councilor. they even have pubic hair - not normally seen hollywood films! carrie even had a mole on her face! and if the stars of SATC dressed in frumpy, dull clothes, we would be complaining the film suggested intelligent professional women were all ugly and badly dressed.

3) last week you were telling me how much you like the film jerry maguire. in that film the male central character (tom cruise) leaves his fiancee because she's too obsessed with her career and he's horrified when she says she's bisexual and would be interested in a threesome (remember men hate threesomes...?). renee zellweger, the only woman in the film who has a happy ending has a low-level administrative job which she instantly sacrifices to follow tom without discussing contract or salary or how she's going to pay the bills (why isn't she the one shouting "show me the money"?). she's widowed (not her fault of course) while her sister is (hiss boo) divorced. she goes out with tom while her sister sits in a darkened kitchen smoking (don't they have pilates classes and speed-dating?) then gets together with her divorced women's club of super-unattractive women who sit around moaning about men all the time and all end up miserable. now that's misogynist. carrie liking expensive shoes - doesn't bother me much.

4) could we write an even more empowering film about women? definitely. i'd love to see the sequel where carrie has an abortion and then then they all go off to live in a lesbian commune, but i can't see it happening.

was a great night out though, i had a lot of fun. k

Carleton said...

Sounds like a little Adler helps here too: compensatory strategies, with labels compensating for real or imagined inferiorities. - Carl