Saturday, 26 June 2010

Sex and the atroCity

I really should have started a blog months ago, that way all this nonsense would be relevant. But nay, I will continue to hark back, obsessed with past obscenities, looking no further forward than this dusty keypad.

I am a huge fan of Sex and the City. As quite an active feminist (President of the Southampton University Feminist Society, don'cha know), I don't know whether this unintentionally goes against my morals: I enjoy watching a troupe of materialistic, fashion-obsessed, 30/40 something women talk constantly about sex and men, disguising their desperateness under the facade of lavish careers and liberated sex while actually terminally comotosed to anything 'real' and unable to function without a male counterpart. Sounds like Loose Women.
Alternatively, I enjoy watching the chronicles of a fabulous set of females, emotionally responding with empathy and compassion to the woes and successes that each endure in their relationships, friendships, careers and eventually, family life. And the sheer amount of documented sex is both refreshing, honest and humorous. ... I'll claim the latter.

But Sex and the City 2 left a bad taste in my mouth. A taste of racial insensitivity, faux feminism and downright dystopia. Again, much like Loose Women.

The burka/chip eating incident was the first that made me cringe. Not to mention the ghastly rendition of Single Ladies from Liza Minnelli (a baggy jumper with fishnets and heels, clad with two identical backing dancers at least a quarter of her age... really Liza?) which brought my hands to my eyes. The ultimate definition of face/palm.

How on earth could the directors/producers/writers/whomever else involved think that what SATC2 needed was a taste of moral recognition and cultural 'shock'? The only shocking thing was that after Samantha practically stripped in the middle of a busy Muslim town and started throwing around condoms while gyrating and humping the air (crikey, feminists everywhere must have been jumping for joy...), she wasn't stoned. Now that would have been an ending with a twist.

Now, I'm no expert on middle eastern culture or religion but quite clearly, neither are they; they most certainly had no authority to make the grand and hugely judgemental statements that they did. The fact that the setting of the film, Abu Dhabi, refused to let them make the film there says it all. As a viewer we saw two Abu Dhabis, both seen through western spectacles - one that was materialistic and luxurious and one that repressed women beyond all recognition. Oh, apart from the Muslim women who all secretly wear Prada under their burkas, pray for a visit to New York and read trashy American novels about how to be happy of course. Because that is true happiness - western living.

SATC2 representation of the Muslim faith = FAIL.

I wish I could articulate my feelings as well as Andrew O'Hagan can - this is the most scathing and brilliant review I have read yet.


  1. I would definitely say Sex and the City is materialistic tripe and is a completely unrealistic interpretation of women living in New York.

    The scenes in Abu Dhabi, from what I've read, make me want to cringe as they sound so predictable and cheesy.

    However, the author of that review doesn't seem to acknowledge of all places in the world, women are the most repressed in the Middle East. I can't even begin where to start of where there have been such cases, but allow me to link you to a case of where a woman arrested for wearing trousers:

    I forgot strict muslim countries were so easy-going.

  2. I am perfectly aware of the situation for Middle Eastern women - as the president of a Third Wave Feminism Society at university, that is one of my main interests and concerns in life: the well-being of women all over the world. It's something I have read into at great depth.

    My issue with the film however is how they aimed to give these women a voice but they in fact silenced them just as much as their own society does. They turned them into American women in a message that said "don't worry viewers, these women aren't really repressed; they in fact read American books and wear American fashion, just like a normal civilized person would.". There was no recognition of happiness in another culture other than their own. Which is close minded and ignorant. That is the issue here.