Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little Women and the City

(editor's note: no spoilers)

Tonight, I watched Sex and the City.

...and I fucking loved it.

The fashion was impractically fabulous, the comments sharp with wit, and the sex uncomfortably hilarious. And yet, it appealed to me. Personally, I'd choose a Corona over a Cosmo, a new pair of Nike kicks over Manolo Blahnik stilettos, and a novel by William Faulkner over Vogue magazine. However, Sex and the City captures different aspects of femininity that make it possible for all women to relate. Actually, it probably does for feminism what Alcott's Little Women did for feminism in 1868. Believe it.

The comparison between SATC and Little Women was first noted to me by Professor Scottie Parrish at U-M. After showing a clip of SATC in class, we debated and discussed the effects the novel and TV show have had on society.

Both insightfully develop the characters of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha as well as Beth, Meg, Amy, and Jo March. In both, we meet the ambitious intellect, the unoffending mother, the oversexed and unconventional rule breaker, and lastly, the creative and independent protagonist. Both sets of women are beautifully flawed and a cluster of complexities. However, they, as a group, have forced mainstream America to reevaluate their definition of "femininity".

The March sisters represent a diversity of female empowerment. Alcott represented their struggle between domesticity and ambition in a way that's impacted the progress of American women for generations to come. SATC seems to have picked up where Alcott left off. Taking for granted that women have roles outside of domestic duty, it takes us inside the brutally honest sexual anecdotes of four empowered women, without discrediting any one aspect of femininity. Domesticity, ambition, professionalism, child birth, and independence are represented through each set of women.

Both the novel and the film also bring light to a phenomenon that often goes unnoticed: the strong bond and companionship of women, the ability for them to share their stories, talk through their struggles, and expose their true inhibitions.

Activism comes in all forms...through speeches, literature, and as SATC proves, film. Women talk about sex -- sometimes they aren't even emotionally invested. They don't even believe that Mr. Right exists. They attempt to balance their careers with the conventional definition of femininity. Some live for the designer bag, some live for their books, some live for their children, and some live for their independence. The qualities of these four women combined represent and advance different, yet important, aspects of modern femininity.

Editor's note 2: it's ok to disagree. it's just a blog.