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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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85 Responses

  1. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm |

    It may not be groundbreaking but apparently it’s still digging- or this insane reaction would not be occuring. Much of the world is acting as the men do near the end of the movie as Samantha yells that she has sex.
    I enjoyed this movie… it was silly and fun. It was like Transformers for women- big fashion instead of robots, a shirtless rugby team instead of Megan Fox, and a predictable storyline that if you don’t take it too seriously- you can have fun with. And, occasionally, it ventures to make a point… Yes, it’s not a perfect movie- but when you can have stupid, enjoyable movies made for women- isn’t that something?
    I would love to see this movie do well. I would love for Hollywood to turn out more than romantic comedies for women. I want that awesome lady-stuff movie as much as the next girl- but I think this is probably one of the steps to go get it… and it’s a step that I didn’t mind taking.

  2. Salix
    Salix June 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm |

    @ thepenguingirl,

    Don’t you see something wrong with one, traditionally privileged (white, upper class, religiously unmarked) class of women taking a step at the expense of other, traditionally oppressed (by the Western view) women?

    Pretty much the history of the feminist movement is white women gaining at WOC’s expense (or maybe, less of a gain). We shouldn’t celebrate movies that contribute to this.

    @OP,

    American women-Muslim women is a false distinction. Well, maybe not in the America of “Sex and the City,” but in realityland, there are plenty of American Muslim women.

  3. Ess
    Ess June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm |

    I must say, as a radical feminist who comes from a Muslim family (I’m Canadian, not from Abu Dhabi), reading the Salon review on Sex and the City 2 made me really angry. I was actually looking forward to seeing the movie. Not anymore.

    I’m not entirely certain if people can put 2+2 together anymore. Muslim women love their fathers and brothers. You get no where by insulting them. Similarly, Muslim men love their mothers and daughters. Do you honestly believe that the point of their relationship is to “subdue” their family. Give me a freaking break.

    I’ve really had it with, “look at me. Western woman is emancipated. Give you freedom. Now.”

    Pot, meet Kettle. *face palm*

    Going to the Middle East, as I regularly do, it is astounding to see how many women there believe that Western women are actually oppressed. “They’re forced to wear bikinis.” etc. etc.

    It also may astound people to learn that there are Arab feminists who use the Qur’an to defend feminism. (gasp).

    Pardon the sarcasm, but since 9/11 I have become increasingly bitter.

  4. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm |

    No, I do not feel it is racist because it was comparing societies not race- we have Muslim women in the Western world who are just as free to do what the women of Sex and the City did- they may choose not to (I certainly choose not to) and that is our choice. The movie celebrates our choices and mocks societies that do not allow those choices. (Spoiler alert)Yes, all the main characters are white- but the Muslim women in the end (although cheesily done) save the white women- and then show that “they’re not so different afterall” but stuck under the confines of their society. Yes, it follows the characters that we have known for the last ten years (and it would be kinda weird if they didn’t) but the Muslim women are the heroes of the last act.

  5. JK
    JK June 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm |

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I watched the entire series on dvd one summer and I saw the first movie. I always defended the show on the basis that it more than pass the bechel test, and really showed female friendship in a fantastic way. I really dislike what I have read about this movie, but I also dislike the glee by which everyone seems to be tearing it apart. “Chick flicks” are, as ever, judged so much more harshly than “dick flicks”. Goddess forbid any women enjoy some fantasy that appeals to them. How, in fact, is this any different than Transformers 2? There were some racist robots (?) in there, too, and it was loud and silly and designed to appeal to the 13 year old boy in every man, and there just wasn’t this glee in tearing that apart. Yes, the racism sounds awful, but I don’t really think that is the real basis for all the backlash.

  6. Salix
    Salix June 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm |

    @ Jill,
    Okay, cool, just making sure. ^_^

    @ thepenguingirl,
    I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment from experience, but “bit role in which a POC saves a white person” does not constitute being a hero. And there are big, big issues with the idea of “confines of their society” and “stuck.” (For example, many have argued that Western materialism/high fashion lust is simply another form of women’s oppression that Western women prefer to fail to see).

  7. KG
    KG June 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm |

    The clothes are not just ridiculous and over the top. They are Orientalist stereotypes, specifically designed to recall racist movies of the early twentieth century in which Arabs silently do the bidding of white travelers.

  8. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth June 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm |

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I read the recent reviews and was disappointed but not surprised.
    I actually love the show in all its over the top consumerist glory, because underneath the slightly ridiculous escapism and vapid neuroses there was a smartly written show with problematic yet complex female leads. Even to this day, I routinely find myself and my friends in situations where I can go, “oh, it’s like that SATC episode where…” Also, I felt that the show was written in a way that allowed the viewer to both sympathize with yet also keep a critical distance from the characters, allowing us to enjoy yet also recognized the self-absorbed privilege of those women.

    For me, what made the first movie so disappointing (and from the reviews I’ve read and clips I’ve seen, this movie as well) is that all the worst parts of the show are there and none of the best. The consumerism is there, but not the ironic humor. The entitlement and absorption is still there, but none of the wit, or even realistic situations hidden behind upperclass Manhattan ridiculousness. The oblivious privilege has now turned into outright racism–problematic in the first movie, and now even more brazen in the second. The women have gone from being archetypes to caricatures.

    I think the most scathing reviews I have read are not from men who think, “OMG, middle-aged women who have sex!” But from smart female fans of the show, who are disappointed and insulted that this is how their viewership over 6 years has been interpreted.

  9. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm |

    @salix then that should be taken as a problem with the whole series and not this movie in particular. There have been no large parts for anyone other than the 4 women- even their romantic interests have no real meat to them and only show up when it is convenient to the plot. While I am not a New Yorker, I understand that it’s quite the melting pot :) thus the whole show would be considered racist. Which would open up (not incorrectly, imo) that television is racist and why are we not arguing about the lack of Hispanics on Friday Night Lights filmed in a state that is largely Hispanic? or the lack of people of color on How I Met Your Mother (again New York) ? Sex and the City, if nothing else, admits that there are people of color in the world and that there are societies other than our own.

  10. Ashley
    Ashley June 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm |

    I think critics take this show too seriously. Racist? Really? Ok if they are going to call it racist because it uses cliches then you might as well start ranting about…every other show and movie ever made. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, and those that do take it seriously are a little uptight if you ask me. If it were blatantly racist, I would give them that, but there is a point where I feel people just have a burr in their ass and are out looking for something to bitch about.

  11. Julie
    Julie June 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm |

    No, I do not feel it is racist because it was comparing societies not race-

    I think critics take this show too seriously. Racist? Really?

    thepenguingirl, Ashley, you’re new at this. That’s cool. Take a break from commenting, educate yourselves (I’m happy to recommend some books), and come back in a few weeks. The blog will still be here and we’ll be happy to have you.

  12. April
    April June 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm |

    In response to the article you quoted:

    I asked Andy Cohen—Bravo executive/host and Friend of Sarah Jessica Parker, and defender of Sarah Jessica Parker—what he thinks about all the spite. “Given the amount of actually stupid/ridiculous movies that come out every year, I was amazed by the degree of vitriol leveled at a good one (of very few) that celebrates women,” he wrote to me through Facebook.

    It looks like a horrifically stupid movie, and if that’s what we have to watch when we want to see a mainstream movie “celebrate women,” I’ll pass. I’m not about to celebrate this lackluster attempt at a good movie because of some made-up notion of “celebrating women,” when it isn’t really about that at all– it’s about making a profit off of tired cliches and appealing to the lowest common denominator with racist and sexist stereotypes, with the knowledge that they are guaranteed to make a ton of money because of their loyal television fan base.

    It’s insulting, really.

  13. White
    White June 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm |

    No, I do not feel it is racist because it was comparing societies not race-

    By that logic, Hegel wasn’t racist.. haha

  14. Melissa
    Melissa June 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm |

    “Ok if they are going to call it racist because it uses cliches then you might as well start ranting about…every other show and movie ever made.”

    Actually, anti-racism activists pretty much do just that.
    Casual, not “blatant” racism is every bit as damaging as causal, not “blatant” sexism.

  15. Ashley
    Ashley June 1, 2010 at 7:04 pm |

    Julie, I would actually like a reference of books.

  16. Holy!
    Holy! June 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm |

    Racist? No. Culturist (is that a word?) Yes. The middle east is a diverse place. You have Arabs, Persians, turks etc. None of these groups constitute a recognized race. Arabs for example are counted as white in the United States. The movie is clearly aping islamic sterotypes, making it culturally or religiously insensitive, not racist.

  17. Sid
    Sid June 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm |

    My Louboutins for a decent popular movie about lady-stuff.

    Alice in Wonderland?

    If it were blatantly racist, I would give them that, but there is a point where I feel people just have a burr in their ass and are out looking for something to bitch about.

    So cliches which strongly imply a class of people as inherently inferior to another are tolerable, and if they don’t spell out how disgusting, stupid, and smelly those brown folks are to your awesome whiteness then there is no basis for complaint. Fantastic.

  18. syndella
    syndella June 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm |

    Well said, Ashley

  19. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm |

    I can’t speak for Ashley, but I am new to you- not new to this- I came over here because I thought this was a place for discussion not a “this is the only way” type of place because I hate that brand of feminism. I have to say, I am offended. Ashley’s and my view points are as valid as the next… I’m a little ashamed to call myself a feminist when other feminists are willing to tell you to “come back when you see I’m right”… I would never tell Selix that she is wrong and she should go away until she sees the movie- because I believe her opinion is valid and we can have a healthy debate regarding her feelings regarding when she has seen and what I watched. We are equals who believe in equality for everyone and believe that racism should be eradicated- but where we see racism,how we believe equality can be reached, and our ideas may be different. That is something we should celebrate and discuss because, even in a debate about something a minimal as a movie, discussion is the first step in making any progress.

  20. Tracey
    Tracey June 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm |

    I was a fan of the show and of the first movie. Neither were perfect, but I thought they were fun, which made up for some of the SATC shortcomings. The first movie, for me, was a pleasant surprise… all the clothes and silliness but there was still some real emotion in it. I don’t necessarily expect every movie to live up to a feminist ideal in order to enjoy it. However, the second movie was a total disappointment for me. It was all over the top, with very few real moments, save for the best scene in the movie – Miranda & Charlotte’s motherhood discussion. The characters were pushed to their extremes and became totally irritating. I always thought there was something more to Samantha than her sex drive, but not in this movie. Carrie was neurotic, not charming. I was saddened that these supposedly smart, worldly characters would act so crass and disrespectful in a Muslim country (or any country).

  21. Tracey
    Tracey June 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm |

    I was a fan of the show and of the first movie. Neither were perfect, but I thought they were fun, which made up for some of the SATC shortcomings. The first movie, for me, was a pleasant surprise… all the clothes and silliness but there was still some real emotion in it. I don’t necessarily expect every movie to live up to a feminist ideal in order to enjoy it. However, the second movie was a total disappointment for me. It was all over the top, with very few real moments, save for the best scene in the movie – Miranda & Charlotte’s motherhood discussion. The characters were pushed to their extremes and became totally irritating. I always thought there was something more to Samantha than her sex drive, but not in this movie. Carrie was neurotic, not charming. I was saddened that these supposedly smart, worldly characters would act so crass and disrespectful in a Muslim country (or any country).

  22. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm |

    @Tracey, that was a good review :) The movie was over the top- and none of the characters were particularly likable- except Miranda. I love the scene between her and Charlotte(shout out to the Mommies of the world!) and she was the one driving the point (redundantly) by stating the laws of the land and trying to keep the other girls in check. I did not enjoy the first movie because I thought it was too emotional- and I did enjoy this one.As far as the the point of their disrespectful.crass behavior I felt that they were trying to draw sesame street like comparison’s between the women’s crass behavior and what is not allowed within that society (i.e. Miranda’s obsession with the laws, Samantha’s short lived jail time) Which, while eye rolling obvious, is not something that the general public thinks about with any real frequency. It was not a brilliant movie, but, as I said before a big, stupid fun movie that occasionally attempts to make a point.

  23. Tracey (the other one)
    Tracey (the other one) June 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm |

    thepenguingirl,
    Viewpoints are valid, telling people they are uptight for doing critical analysis is jacked up. And asking for a list of books to read comes across as slightly trollish when people are constantly told that they should take responsibility for their own actions. As a matter of fact, the more I think about the more suspicious the requests for books seems. I don’t want to accuse of trolling lightly, but Ashley’s post included:
    – lighten up
    – If you’re going to attack this, you should attack this
    – it is your responsibility to educate me
    – and a hint of: there are more important things
    That is not fostering dialogue and I think it is totally justified to tell someone to go find out why their dismissal of people’s concerns are not exactly appreciated on a feminist blog.
    With regards to racist I think the movie absolutely is, and Arabic is very much racialized. In the U.S., Caucasian is generally meant to be white-white. As a matter of fact, when Asians were not allowed citizenship, an Indian man applied for citizenship because he was Caucasian. The courts denied him b/c they ruled that in the context of the law caucasian means white. Just as some S.Asians and Iranians are caucasian, as well as how Italians and Irish are caucasian, being caucasian doesn’t equal whiteness. Race is very much constructed and for all intensive purposes, Arabs are not considered “white” (regardless of what they may be counted as on a census form) in the U.S.
    In addition to the ethnocentrism and Orientalism, I am also annoyed at the magical POC and the throwing together of the “gay accessories.” I mean WTH? And Carries’s surprise at $20 shoes seemed completely unrealistic. I do agree that a lot of criticisms of the movie, and especially the show (which I liked for the most part) has a lot of ageism and sexism.

  24. Julie
    Julie June 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm |

    Julie, I would actually like a reference of books.

    No problem. Edward Said’s Orientalism, Angela Y. Davis’s Women, Race and Class, and bell hooks’s Ain’t I a Woman are all great. See also muslimahmediawatch.org.

  25. S.L
    S.L June 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm |

    @ Salix: Good point as to how oppression is seen/recognized by different people and it reminds me of something a professor said one time when we were discussing it. “Picture a woman in a full burka (I think it’s burka, sorry if it’s not) and picture a woman in a Hooters uniform. Which one is oppressed by social norms and customs?”
    @Jk: Same thing I said. Okay, it’s not realistic for everyone to live that life. It’s also not realistic to be Batman, a Transformer, or live in the Matrix. Why didn’t the whole world flip out over that?
    “Horrifically stupid” is a matter of taste and preference. I liked it. I thought it was funny, fluffy, clichéd. Which is what I expected. I’m aware of the problematic elements as it pertains to race/Orientalism. But please keep in mind that not everyone is a woman/cultural/gender studies student or political activist or whatever and who probably just don’t see it.
    I think the critique makes me uncomfortable because I know a lot of it (not necessarily this site but other reviews) is not about race relations. Some of it is “OMG women who are so into shoes and fashion are so vain and stupid and shallow and intelligent women would not actually want to watch that.” Which, to me, is horrifically stupid.
    And the Charlotte/Miranda scene? My fave :)

  26. S.L
    S.L June 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm |

    @Tracey (the other one): Why was Carrie’s surprise at the $20 shoes unrealistic?

  27. Jasmine
    Jasmine June 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm |

    I haven’t seen the latest Sex and the City movie, and I don’t plan to because I’m sure it will be terrible.

    Why then are you reviewing something you haven’t seen? Giving the teacher a book report on something you didn’t actually read didn’t fly in second grade and it certainly doesn’t fly now… not to mention reaching a negative conclusion about said thing before even engaging with it. This is sloppy journalism, if you can even call it that.

    I saw it in theatre and I have to say that having actually seen it myself instead of reading someone else’s take on it and basing mine on theirs, I really enjoyed it. The feeling of camaraderie with the other women in that cinema was incredible. There were lots of cheers when Miranda AND Charlotte admitted that motherhood was hard, when Samantha confronted the men who were shaming her for having condoms and when the local women helped the ladies escape from the men’s wrath. There were literally fist-pumps in the air when Miranda came to the realization that her new boss’ problem with her wasn’t to do with her as a person but rather that she was a woman. Do you think you would get that sort of honest feminist observation in any other film that’s showing right now?

    All four women were dealing with feminist issues of their own. Miranda was trying to balance work with family. Charlotte was chafing under expectations of perfect motherhood. Samantha was challenging the suppression of women’s sexuality (Madonna/whore). And Carrie was faced with setting her own rules and expectations for her marriage as a young woman with no roadmap to a non-traditional relationship (esp. with no children). They all had to buck tradition, discover that the roles they were prescribed to them because of their gender were bullshit, and go their own way, making many missteps along the way but finally getting there in the end.

    Let’s also not undervalue the fact that the movie has mass appeal and reaches a broad range of women from all walks of life. There were teenage girls in that theatre to middle aged women to grandmothers, lots of girl friends going together, women of colour, queer individuals (myself being one of them), and several Muslim women wearing the niqab. It spoke to the universality of womanhood and to our similarities despite our differences. Even though some of it is frivolous, you will not hear this complaint of male-oriented films that are on the market. That label seems to be a privilege bestowed only upon female-oriented films, especially ones that deal with all those “frivolous” women’s issues.

    I have to say that I really hated the first movie and was seriously contemplating not seeing the second (this coming from someone who has all six seasons on DVD), but I am glad I did. It was not as materialistic as the last not nor as melodramatic. I felt like the last one was all about their relationships to the men in their lives and not actually about the women but this one is both about the women and how they relate to their respective societies.

    I am sure it is opening a can of worms, but I did not find it to be anti-Muslim. I found it to be anti-misogyny. It’s funny how when women are abused and oppressed in our own culture, we liberal feminists decry what’s going on and try to remedy it, but when it’s in another part of the world, oh, no, don’t criticize it, you imperialist Western woman. You couldn’t possibly understand another woman’s pain because it’s culture. Give me a fucking break. Arresting a woman for expressing her sexuality is misogynistic. Surrounding a woman and shaming her for having condoms is misogynistic (should I be glad the men didn’t stone her like so many others in real life who had much committed much lesser “crimes” or had crimes committed upon them?). And it is certainly misogynistic to force the covering of a part or any number of parts of a woman’s anatomy and hiding her indentity as a human fucking being so that “the menz” can control their rapist urges. Seriously, blame the victim, much? In that sense, the movie was fearless, not at all PC, and fabulous.

    It tackled some very relevant and tough issues and for the time and venue it was given to tackle them (while keeping to a humourous Hollywood storyline), I think it did a pretty good job. It’s not a documentary and it’s not a dissertation on any single feminist issue, but it does provide women who might otherwise not even have developed the voice to name their oppression and the chance to pause and think and that, I think, is the reason that Sex and the City is as popular as it is… in whatever ways, big or small, it’s feminist.

    Let the women have their fantasy. Bottom line, we are not equal until women and “women’s films” can be just as silly, over-the-top, and unrealistic as men’s without being dismissed as “frivolous.”

    [/$0.02]

  28. thepenguingirl
    thepenguingirl June 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm |

    @Tracey(the other one)
    I’m glad you don’t accuse lightly :) however, I don’t think Ashley is a troll (but then I try to believe the best in everyone… that seems to work out 75% of time) While she may have come across kind of… um… brash, I would put her in exuberant mode rather than troll mode. She came across to me as someone who thinks we should be discussing heavier fair and wants to know why this subject is so interesting to us (as well as a Sex and the City aficionado) and that the lighten up was more about us not chewing each other out–so I felt that this was enthusiasm based-but, at this point, only time will tell.

    I’m going to try to keep this short as I am mid bathroom remodel (and oh so tired) I do not remember the “gay accessories” part of the movie- please jog my memory? I wasn’t annoyed by the magical POC because the movie really didn’t seem to want to give anyone too much screen time (other than it’s stars) not even Aiden or Mr. Big… but I think I already said that… okay, might be getting redundant- time to stop(sorry, I do enjoy a spirited debate though and thank you for your thoughtful analysis)

  29. Bushfire
    Bushfire June 1, 2010 at 10:18 pm |

    I can’t believe the unchecked privilege in here. This thread is turning into a racism bingo card. When a movie is misrepresenting non-white people, and someone calls it racist, here is what other racists will say:

    “But its not really racist”
    “Lighten up already!”
    “By my muslim/arab/whatever friend liked it”
    “But it has good stuff in it too”
    etc etc etc.

    Here’s an idea: educate yourself on racism. We should have much higher standards for our media. I can’t believe I keep hearing people say “well, it’s a bit racist, but there’s this great plotline in it…” and “well other shows are racist too”.

    Hollywood will stop making racist movies WHEN PEOPLE STOP PAYING TO WATCH THEM.

    Here’s the review of the movie on Racialicious. It might be a good place to start.

  30. Athenia
    Athenia June 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |

    I’ve always kinda felt that SATC’s obssession with wealth was kinda awesome in the sense that the lady’s themselves earn their own money, spent it as they liked and didn’t feel ashamed about it. It’s not perfect (Mr. Big saving Carrie/Samantha loving boyfriend gifts), but I always enjoyed seeing them buy stuff and not feel bad about it–I think there are lots of women out there who do feel that way.

  31. Bushfire
    Bushfire June 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |

    I can’t speak for Ashley, but I am new to you- not new to this- I came over here because I thought this was a place for discussion not a “this is the only way” type of place because I hate that brand of feminism. I have to say, I am offended. Ashley’s and my view points are as valid as the next… I’m a little ashamed to call myself a feminist when other feminists are willing to tell you to “come back when you see I’m right”… I would never tell Selix that she is wrong and she should go away until she sees the movie- because I believe her opinion is valid and we can have a healthy debate regarding her feelings regarding when she has seen and what I watched. We are equals who believe in equality for everyone and believe that racism should be eradicated- but where we see racism,how we believe equality can be reached, and our ideas may be different. That is something we should celebrate and discuss because, even in a debate about something a minimal as a movie, discussion is the first step in making any progress.

    PenguinGirl, the reason your’s and Ashley’s opinions are being shut down is not because someone arbitrarily decided they were “right” and you were “wrong”. Its because we’re talking about a movie that perpetuates stereotypes about Arab people, and those stereotypes exist in a context of white racism. When someone comes along and says that white misrepresentations of non-white folks are not racist, they are displaying an ignorance of white privilege and white supremacy and a huge history of oppression that involves the use of those same stereotypes. Many people on feminist blogs are trying to fight racism, and they are not going to do this by gently “debating” with racist beliefs. Nor should they.

    Nobody is telling you to “come back when you see I’m right”. You were asked to come back when you had learned some Racism 101, because a “healthy debate” does not contain racism.

    Everyone here believes in “equality for everyone”. The way to achieve equality for everyone is to eradicate racism, classism, sexism, disableism, ageism, homophobia, etc. It is NOT to make racist dialogue “equal to” non-racist dialogue.

  32. Annaham
    Annaham June 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm |

    Since part of this thread seems to be turning into Racism 101 and Pop Culture Critique 101, here are some links for new folks. Some sites that cover basic and not-so-basic anti-racist activism(s) (not the only ones, of course, but a good start): Racialicious and Resist Racism Specific takes on pop culture and media critique, and their (its?) importance: And We Shall Call This Moff’s Law at Racialicious, s.e. smith’s post I critique because I care, and also (full disclosure: I write for FWD and co-authored this piece) FWD’s What’s the big deal with pop culture, and why do you keep talking about it?

    Oh, and those of you who are playing the “you’re taking it TOO seriously!” card may also want to have a look at Derailing for Dummies, cached here: http://birdofparadox.wordpress.com/derailing-for-dummies-google-cache-reconstruction/

  33. southpaw
    southpaw June 2, 2010 at 12:29 am |

    I’ve gotta stick up, in a qualified way, for the Oceans-whatever-number-we’re-on movies here. The lead characters are not “obsessed with money and toys;” only the villains are. In the first movie, the lead characters are obsessed with the glory and audacity of the unprecedented heist and frustrated with the banality of their own run-of-the-mill criminality (and Danny Ocean is obsessed with getting his ex-wife back).

    Rusty: I need a reason. And don’t say money. Why do this?
    Danny: Why not do it? [pause] Because yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing 4 years of my life and you’re cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys. [pause] Because the house always wins. You play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along you bet big and then you take the house.
    [pause]
    Rusty: You’ve been practicing that speech haven’t you?
    Danny: A little bit. Did I rush it? It felt like I rushed it.
    Rusty: No, it was good, I liked it. The Teen Beat thing was harsh.

    Similarly, in the second movie, the lead characters were motivated by blackmail rather than obsession. In the third movie, the motivation was obtaining vengeance for a wronged friend and vindicating their absurd lounge lizard chivalric code. The Al Pacino character “shook Sinatra’s hand,” and he should know better.

    Don’t get me wrong, these are not important or deep pictures, but crass materialism is not their stock in trade.

  34. S.L
    S.L June 2, 2010 at 2:54 am |

    I have read racialicious and certainly don’t always agree with their opinion. And I’m not new to feminism, and certainly not to racism. As a WOC, some of their stuff is offensive to me.

    Jasmine pointed out alot of the positive messages in the movie. Like when Miranda realizes that it’s not the tone of her voice, but the fact that she has a voice that is the problem for her boss. And she does point out that despite claims, men in America are intimidated by strong women.

    As for the ending with the women revealing their designer outfits underneath, it did show a commonality among all of them. Being able to see that despite differences, people are people is, well, a big step. Perhaps some will be less likely to walk past an Arabic woman and ‘other’ her. I know that there are still problematic elements, but we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Honestly? I still can’t believe that everyone is this upset about the movie because of race. Women who appear to care too much about make up, shoes, clothes, etc are looked down on. Even if they are intelligent, hard working, successful career woman, mothers, sexually liberated, etc. And I have noticed in some reviews, people are criticizing their clothes. And the fact that Carrie was shocked at a $20 pair of shoes.

  35. Monica
    Monica June 2, 2010 at 3:56 am |

    Bravo Jasmine!
    You honestly took the words and thoughts out of my mouth.

    On a long side note:
    I am an American woman that once was married to a Arab man. I am happily divorced and blessed to be an American living in back in America now. I also *assume* most middle eastern women are not even “allowed to watch ” the series, let along go to the movies. Watch a movie that has any topic discussed on women’s liberation, or how the western women live? Yeah right. :rolleyes: I was looked at and treated like a piece of crap by the Arab women outside of the family. Just like any other ” Westerner with an American accent was ” I could not go out with out a male family member or my husband. Not because my husband would not allow me … because it was not safe… and Arab women here in America are being disrespected every day here too because of the same ignorance. And to buy a book from someone above trying to sell their material/cash in on a controversial movie? BTW there is limited freedom of speech there and very limited woman’s views written by native Arab women. Are any of the books above written by native Arab/Muslim/middle Eastern Women? NO. Derailing for dummies LOL a book on how to out wit or use a play on words to “derail” someones beliefs or opinions. IMO that’s insulting to everyone.

    Hop a plane there and see for your self how the middle eastern woman lives . I am not talking SATC2 style. Go plain Jayne and come back and kiss the ground you walk on,the toilet you sit on, that pair of jeans or t- shirt that fit you just right, the clean water you drink and claim your are not a western materialistic woman in one way or another? lets not focus on just shoes or a upscale closet.

    oHHH please *sigh*… The use of the race card in relation to this movie is outrageous and pathetic! They were just ignorant to the culture… Just as most Arab women are to westerner culture.

    pot meets kettle

    IMO the movie was fun and entertaining to watch.

  36. Still learning
    Still learning June 2, 2010 at 5:15 am |

    I haven’t seen this movie, but the reason I often criticise Sex and the City in general is because, quite frankly, it intimidates me. I’m a woman who has always felt rather insecure in my gender because I am queer and don’t like typically ‘girly’ things. Sex and the City seems to me like just another thing in my culture that alienates me from my gender, telling me I’m not a ‘real’ woman and legitimizing the beliefs of those who sit around voicing gender stereotypes.

    I see this even on this thread… Jasmine says, ‘It spoke to the universality of womanhood and to our similarities despite our differences.’ Well, I’m pretty sure there is no ‘universal womanhood’ at all, but even if there was, I highly doubt that Sex and the City could ever speak to it. As far as I can tell, it speaks to the experiences of women whose personalities and lives fit the hegemonic construction of womanhood in US society. For anyone else, it just perpetuates more damaging gender stereotypes (and, in the case of this film, racial stereotypes as well.)

    So yes, I am harder on Sex and the City than on Transformers or other male-oriented movies, because those movies are usually not reinforcing a certain code of behaviour for me that I find impossible to follow. Sex and the City has reached a sort of iconic status in our society that is inseparable from societal definitions of ‘womanhood’ – the discourse around the franchise often presents it as something like the ultimate representation of what it means to be a modern woman in the USA. For me, it is hard to look at the show/films themselves without all the context of that discourse, and it is hard to separate that discourse from my own life experiences.

  37. KG
    KG June 2, 2010 at 7:39 am |

    Jasmine, you are accepting the premise of the movie. It’s not imperialist to decry misogyny in another culture, but it is imperialist to create a false portrait of that culture and then attack the strawman you’ve created. The fact that so many women literally *can’t see* racism or Orientalism in this movie — they are honestly confused by what’s meant by those criticisms — is indicative of how many stereotypes North Americans still hold about the Middle East.

    Very few women in Arab countries wear the niqab. No form of the hijab is mandated by law in the U.A.E. Women do dress more conservatively (just as American women dress more conservatively than French women) but everyone in a city like Abu Dhabi has seen American films and American tourists and they wouldn’t lose their minds from the shock of seeing a woman’s shoulders. You can buy condoms in the Middle East. If a pile of them fell out of your purse in front of strangers, you’d probably be embarrassed (as you would in the U.S.), but no angry mob would chase you down the street. Much less stone you over it! Come on.

    I don’t want to downplay human rights abuses in the Arab Gulf, but it’s unconscionable to think this cartoonish portrayal of Muslims makes any kind of progress in that regard. Two of the biggest problems in the U.A.E. – sexual trafficking and the abuse of domestic labor – are either ignored in S&TC or actually exacerbated (vis-a-vis Carrie’s condescending attitude towards her manservant — her manservant! what year is this? — as well as Miranda and Charlotte’s inability to imagine raising children without nannies). You can say it’s not a documentary, it’s fun and escapist and it shouldn’t have to deal with those things, and that’s fine. But then you can’t *also* turn around and say it’s a serious movie with a serious feminist message about gender relations in the Middle East.

  38. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. June 2, 2010 at 9:04 am |

    But you know, to get back to Choire’s OP, the “nice rich people” routine is precisely what makes Sex and the City so problematic to me. It’s essentially candy coated propaganda for unbridled consumerism and capitalist greed. I like clothes myself, but do I really need a whole new set of them every six months? What does the constant emphasis on revolving door trends tell women about how they should spend their time, never mind their $$$? And: how would there not be hierarchies implicit in that kind of narcissistic mega-greed? It wouldn’t have to be along racial lines, but it’s not terribly surprising that it is.

  39. Holy!
    Holy! June 2, 2010 at 9:55 am |

    I don’t want to downplay human rights abuses in the Arab Gulf,

    Can you name one majority Musilm country where women have as good as or better rights than they would in a western democracy? Can you name one democracy in the Middle East outside Israel?

    Instead of worrying about some silly messages in a fluffy movie, why not worry about women that are not even allowed to drive a car in Saudi Arabia. Or how about addressing the appalling state of women’s rights in Yemen? 75 million women in the Middle East and North Africa can’t even read-many are denied any kind of schooling. Now that’s something worth getting upset about.

  40. Natalia
    Natalia June 2, 2010 at 9:58 am |

    As far as I can tell, it speaks to the experiences of women whose personalities and lives fit the hegemonic construction of womanhood in US society.

    Hm, you know, I would not necessarily agree with this. The hegemonic construction of womanhood in US society does not allow for scenes such as when Carrie asks Samantha to help retrieve her diaphragm, and Samantha goes “you’re buying me dinner.” It just doesn’t. Not that I relate to these characters either – I’m not rich enough, for one thing – but it seems to me that they provoke so much debate precisely because they challenge certain norms very vividly.

    Having said that, I am not going to see this film. I’ve lived in the UAE – and *liked* the UAE – and everything I’ve read about the movie tells me that it will probably piss me off. And I have enough reasons to be pissed off in this life.

    This franchise, despite having its ups and downs, has certainly enlivened stateside debate, and I’m kinda sad to see it end up like this. Boo.

  41. Rebecca
    Rebecca June 2, 2010 at 10:19 am |

    I realize this was in the quoted post, not written in this post. But 1971 is not first wave feminism. I think it’s important we know the feminist movement has a much longer history than that.

  42. Sid
    Sid June 2, 2010 at 10:27 am |

    Jesus Christ, the comments already make me sometimes seriously wish this blog never talked about anything even tangentially related to muslims.

  43. Gajasimha
    Gajasimha June 2, 2010 at 10:31 am |

    Still learning- amen. Some queers might watch this movie and feel empowered, but a whole ‘nother set of us is just battening down the hatches for another assault on our self-worth and sense of place in the world. Ho hum. What else is new?

    Between that and the jaw-dropping racism (….seriously?) I’m not feeling at all sad that the closest cineplex is many hours away. Not. At. All.

  44. Renee
    Renee June 2, 2010 at 11:12 am |

    Quite frankly I did not have the patience to read all of the comments in this thread. When are White women of going to learn to own their racism? The amount of pearl clutching in this thread is disgusting. You have Muslim women in this thread telling you why this movie is racist, and you still decide that you can declare the movie harmless, because you love the characters. This is your privilege smacking you upside your head. Wake the fuck up, and shut up. This could be a learning opportunity for you, if you could just listen instead of opening your bigoted mouths…oops I forgot, only the opinions of White women are relevant, ’cause we poor dumb-ass women of colour don’t know anything about sexism right? Give your damn head a shake.

  45. Tassja
    Tassja June 2, 2010 at 11:15 am |

    Wow. Just WOW. I’m still processing the unbelievable privilege, racism and marginalization going on in the comments. Whatever happened to feminists/ womanists listening to and respecting each other?

    Jill, I appreciate that you noted the sexism and ageism in mainstream critique of SATC2. To be sure, movies targeted at women (much like any form of media targeted at a female audience) are derided even as they rake in millions for the big movie companies.
    BUT, I’m confused as to why you took the approach you did in writing this. If it’s the sexist critiques of the movie you wanted to highlight, I felt like the angle should have been just that: sexist critiques of women’s media. There’s a plethora of issues to unpack here that I’m sure you’re well aware of: women’s entertainment (which usually revolves around relationships and family) is scorned, while testosterone-fuelled, violence-fetishizing, and just-as-materialistic-as-SATC movies like “Torque” get no such derision because they are ‘men’s’ movies.
    Moreover, as Latoya points out at Racialicious, even while WOC are continually hurt by movies like SATC2 that position the white woman as an illusory Everywoman, we continue to consume them because of the chance to bond with our gal-pals etc. http://www.racialicious.com/2010/06/01/sex-and-the-city-just-wright-gender-bonding-and-romcom-fantasy-worlds/

    All of these issues, and more, could have shaped a nuanced discussion of the sexist attacks on the movie, while STILL holding SATC2 accountable for its racist, colonialist, capitalistic bullshit. While you attempted to address these issues in the last paragraph, the point was largely lost in the approach you took, and (perhaps unintentionally) the critical analysis of the movie by anti-racist womanists seemed to be equalized with the sexist claptrap that doesn’t want to see older women (or any women) be represented fully in media. What I therefore came away from in your post, was the centralizing of SATC2 as something needing defense from a host of attacks. I’m sorry, but anti-racist critiques of the movie are not just attacks and hating of a pop-culture phenomenon: they are the voiced reality of being POC in a white supremacist culture. Your post said to me, as a WOC, that my experience of racism and colonialism is not as important as defending an icon of white, upper-class ‘feminism’.

    Also, I’m angered that there some of the comments have not been moderated or even responded to. For example, the comments about Charlotte and Miranda being ‘feminist’ because they griped about mommy duties. Excuse me, but griping about domesticity and motherhood is such a privileged, Friedan-worshipping, white-women’s meme that I had to check my calendar to make sure we weren’t back in 70s.
    WOC have had their children stolen from them for centuries ( children of color are STILL stolen from our communities, whether it’s by white liberals wanting a cute brown baby, or the prison industrial complex, or the war on drugs, or poverty, or global militarism). WOC have no time to whine about the burdens of wealthy motherhood (don’t even get me started on the nanny issue. One of the commenters here pointed out the connection between domestic labor and rich women’s emancipation).

    I am seriously disappointed in Feministe for allowing the racism in the comments to run unchecked, and I expected a much more complex approach to SATC2 from one of the major feminist blogs in existence. I know what you folks do is hard, hard work, and I’m not about to boycott your blog.

    But as a loyal reader of many years, I felt like this needed saying.

  46. April
    April June 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm |

    Also, I’m angered that there some of the comments have not been moderated or even responded to. For example, the comments about Charlotte and Miranda being ‘feminist’ because they griped about mommy duties. Excuse me, but griping about domesticity and motherhood is such a privileged, Friedan-worshipping, white-women’s meme that I had to check my calendar to make sure we weren’t back in 70s.

    It sounds as though you’re saying that women who are in a position in their lives where they are expected to love their children and worship their children and love domestic life aren’t allowed to be upset by that particular gendered expectation. Why is that reality supposed to be ignored? You sure don’t have to be interested in it, but I don’t understand why it’s inappropriate for a woman who lives that reality to discuss it without factoring in all of the rest of the lives of women who are less privileged than she is at the same time. I haven’t seen the movie, but I imagine the scene is not one where they are addressing the public, or Carrie’s column, but rather a dialogue between two friends. Is it really necessary to criticize what was painted as a personal conversation between good friends who know the intimate details of one another’s lives? Should they have not been shown discussing that particular aspect of the character’s lives? Should the viewers who resonated with the sentiment being expressed have been quiet, or “checked their privilege” instead of nodding in agreement? I don’t understand this particular frustration in the context in which it was presented.

  47. Jeff
    Jeff June 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm |

    My Louboutins for a decent popular movie about lady-stuff.

    They made “Brick Lane” into a movie, didn’t they? Don’t know if the movie’s any good but I loved the book…

  48. Julie
    Julie June 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm |

    Jill, I’m following the thread and I can help moderate. Some of these comments are beyond belief.

  49. Tassja
    Tassja June 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm |

    “It sounds as though you’re saying that women who are in a position in their lives where they are expected to love their children and worship their children and love domestic life aren’t allowed to be upset by that particular gendered expectation. Why is that reality supposed to be ignored? You sure don’t have to be interested in it, but I don’t understand why it’s inappropriate for a woman who lives that reality to discuss it without factoring in all of the rest of the lives of women who are less privileged than she is at the same time.”

    @April

    I never suggested that women shouldn’t be allowed to discuss that particular gendered expectation. But white, upper-class women griping about their forced role of ‘angel in the house’ without factoring in the labor of poor women upon whom their privilege is built, happens ALL THE TIME. In fact, it’s because of the disproportionate monopoly of white women’s issues on major feminist discussions that many WOC, like myself, are uncomfortable with mainstream feminism and identify as Womanists.
    White women representing feminism is old hat, and I tire of the tedious perpetuation of monolithic ideas of womanhood. When the media shows equal representation of ALL women’s realities, when there’s a multi-million dollar movie about WOC/ working class women who express anger about privileged women and can find resonance with large audiences without being shut down, THEN we can talk about the validity and feminist worth of discussions like Charlotte’s and Miranda’s.

    @Jill: I’m sorry that you are having a rough time. I’m trying to start a blog myself and I know how wrenching the process of writing (especially feminist writing) can be. Thank you for responding so soon. Hope you feel better!

  50. Ess
    Ess June 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm |

    I left a comment yesterday. I was the fourth comment. I come back and there’s 59 comments? Holy molly..

    Anyway, I had to comment on this:

    [I am sure it is opening a can of worms, but I did not find it to be anti-Muslim. I found it to be anti-misogyny. It’s funny how when women are abused and oppressed in our own culture, we liberal feminists decry what’s going on and try to remedy it, but when it’s in another part of the world, oh, no, don’t criticize it, you imperialist Western woman. You couldn’t possibly understand another woman’s pain because it’s culture. Give me a fucking break. Arresting a woman for expressing her sexuality is misogynistic. Surrounding a woman and shaming her for having condoms is misogynistic (should I be glad the men didn’t stone her like so many others in real life who had much committed much lesser “crimes” or had crimes committed upon them?). And it is certainly misogynistic to force the covering of a part or any number of parts of a woman’s anatomy and hiding her indentity as a human fucking being so that “the menz” can control their rapist urges. Seriously, blame the victim, much? In that sense, the movie was fearless, not at all PC, and fabulous.]

    I agree that these things are misogynistic. The problem is that this doesn’t happen in the Middle East. That is why it is racist. They’re expecting Arab culture to be barbaric and backwards when in reality this doesn’t actually happen. Believe it or not, a lot of women actually CHOOSE to wear the headcover and the niqab. I don’t believe they should be forced, and we can also debate about the value of these garments. However, to say that they are forced, that women don’t have voices, is definitely racist because it is not reality.

    A lot of Western women don’t understand what is going on and cannot because they do not have first hand experience with the matter. There are Arab feminists. There are Muslim feminists. And frankly, when Westerners try to ‘save’ these women it does more harm then good. It only brings back memories of Lord Cromer, the British consul in Egypt in the early 1900’s, who argued that colonization was required to give women rights. And yet when he went back to England he actively campaigned to deny women voting rights. Basically, it reeks of hypocrisy.

    Fun fact: Egyptian women were already beginning to “unveil” (this a western term that is never used in Arabic) before British colonization. However, when the British invaded it was seen as a sign of nationalism to wear the headcover. The same thing happened in Algeria against the French. The headcover was actually used as a weapon. People need to understand the political ramifications of the headcover.

    I would also add that interference in the Middle East is not only counterproductive, but unnecessary. There are Arab feminists and activists. Their job only becomes more difficult when the West tries to interfere because they are then accused of introducing “foreign ideas.”

  51. Mickie T
    Mickie T June 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm |

    Here’s another interesting take on the Orientalist stereotypes, written by a man who was an extra in SATC2.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/magazine/23lives-t.html?scp=3&sq=sex%20and%20the%20city%20extra&st=cse

    It’s a great contrast to Wajahat Ali’s article in Salon, because it demonstrates that you can critique the same problems about Arab/Muslim/Orientalist stereotyping without being shrill and defensive, or even mentioning the author’s heterosexuality. ;o)

  52. Ess
    Ess June 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm |

    @Mickie: Thanks for the link. It was really interesting.

    However, I would have to disagree with your comment about Ali’s article in Salon being shrill and defensive. Partially, because feminists have always been called shrill and defensive, so I do not like leveling it at other people. There are times when people are legitimately angry, as Ali was. Using the word “shrill” only serves to delegitimize his anger.

    I only mean to point it out. Thank you again for the link.

  53. April
    April June 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm |

    @Tassja,

    When the media shows equal representation of ALL women’s realities, when there’s a multi-million dollar movie about WOC/ working class women who express anger about privileged women and can find resonance with large audiences without being shut down, THEN we can talk about the validity and feminist worth of discussions like Charlotte’s and Miranda’s.

    I definitely see your point now. And I feel a little stupid about it, too, since I have similar feelings about men’s vs. women’s representations in media. Thank you for clarifying.

  54. S.L
    S.L June 3, 2010 at 1:54 am |

    Excuse me, but griping about domesticity and motherhood is such a privileged, Friedan-worshipping, white-women’s meme that I had to check my calendar to make sure we weren’t back in 70s.

    I respectfully disagree. Rejecting the social norm (women who raise children happily without any worries or complaints) isn’t un-feminist because those women were privileged. Yes, they aren’t the same concerns as mothers of a different economic class, but they are the concerns of a particular group of women.

  55. S.L
    S.L June 3, 2010 at 2:12 am |

    @Tassja: I read your second post and I do understand what you mean and I understand your frusturation. Personally, I want a hit movie with WOC or a group of diverse women. Without the stereotypes that normally are played into. This was a conversation between two privilged friends who were going against their expected role, so I don’t know how much else could be addressed. But like you, I would like to see WOC addressing their realities.

    As for the comments about it alienating women, such as LGBT individuals, I do understand. I think it’s worth noting, as someone pointed out in another thread, that women are just damn near set up to fail. Women who buy new clothes every 6 months, love shoes, handbags and makeup are in some ways the “ideal” but in other ways “the self absorbed greedy superficial chick” that no one should take seriously.

    Women/trans/queers who reject this ideal are sanctioned (harassment, name calling, denial of basic rights) in a much worse way and I am in no way saying it’s the same. It’s not. I’m just trying to use an analogy to say I feel like it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We have to be fashionable, attractive, and feminine, but we can’t actually enjoy these things or we are superficial. ::Sigh::

    I hope I made it clear that I do understand. It’s the reason my sister didn’t want to come with my friends and I :)

  56. Natalia
    Natalia June 3, 2010 at 4:50 am |

    They made “Brick Lane” into a movie, didn’t they? Don’t know if the movie’s any good but I loved the book…

    Do NOT watch the movie if you loved the book.

  57. norbizness
    norbizness June 3, 2010 at 7:21 am |

    That’s why I envy the Brits; nobody was trying to have their lifestyle validated or a philosophy borne of Absolutely Fabulous. Maybe a religion or two, that’s all.

  58. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig June 3, 2010 at 9:59 am |

    Salix:Pretty much the history of the feminist movement is white women gaining at WOC’s expense (or maybe, less of a gain).
    Not to derail, but I’d like to point out that any oppressed group only gains at the expense of another oppressed group. Black men gained rights at the expense of white women, white women gained at the expense of WOC, homosexual people gain at the expense of transgender/transexual people. That’s just the way the world works.

  59. Tassja
    Tassja June 3, 2010 at 10:39 am |

    @SL

    I get what you mean, that a conversation between two upper class women would smack of privilege. It’s not so much that the conversation happened that I was angry about, or even that women like Charlotte and Miranda DO chafe against restrictive gender roles. Rather, my ire was directed at commentors suggesting that conversations like that were sufficiently feminist to redeem the nauseating racism/ imperialism/ classism in the movie. Moreover, the likes of Charlotte and Miranda have been touted as representative feminists for far too long (with the rest of us told to just be content that the media is letting women talk about their lives with even a smidgen of realism). So, I guess I am just thoroughly fed up with having to be content with white women being the face of feminism, simply because the alternative is no face at all :/

    Your comment about the double-bind of women like Carrie and her cohort was super interesting. As a feminine-presenting woman myself, who enjoys hetero-sexy clothes and shopping, it’s hard to tease out where my womanist ideals end and my gender socialization begins ( if indeed there is such a divide at all). Part of my womanist activism is to assert that I have the right to respect despite my frilly skirts and lace gloves. So I concede there is a feminist point to be made in women of Carrie’s ilk engaging in shopping/ manicures while being able to string intelligent words together.
    However, I also realize that as a cisgender woman, whose presentation matches gendered expectations, I experience privilege. Therefore, I have to acknowledge that even in womanist/ feminist spaces, there will be people more willing to hear my voice than the voice of genderqueer/ trans women whose presentation is non-conforming.
    Yes, Carrie and her friends are derided all the time for being superficial shopping ‘chicks’. Yes, I have to daily counter sexist assumptions and comments about my clothes. YES, it’s super frustrating that even the ideal women are supposed to aspire to (white, thin, heterosexual, cisgender, feminine, materialistic) is only set up so patriarchy can point to how helpless and silly we are.
    But at the end of the day, our society would rather hear from women who do fit the ideal (yes, even about feministy things) than women who don’t.
    I don’t know if I have explained clearly enough…I guess I’m trying to say that yes, I agree that double-bind exists, but it still functions within a degree of privilege.
    Thanks for responding and starting a conversation :)

  60. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery June 3, 2010 at 11:05 am |

    Excuse me, but griping about domesticity and motherhood is such a privileged, Friedan-worshipping, white-women’s meme that I had to check my calendar to make sure we weren’t back in 70s.

    I love this comment. Someone advancing the idea that “griping” about traditional gender roles on a feminist blog is somehow inappropriate for certain kinds of women goes so far in showing how bananas the identity politics movement has gone.

  61. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead June 3, 2010 at 11:19 am |

    Thoughtful and intense thread, very much enjoyed reading it as I organized my very large, diverse collection of scrunchies! (joke for the SATC regs)

  62. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. June 3, 2010 at 11:38 am |

    S.L., I love clothes and design generally myself, but there’s no getting around the fact that buying a new wardrobe every 6 months is problematic. It’s a freaking nightmare in an environmental sense, and it’s callous as hell in a world with so much poverty. There are ethical lines that can’t be crossed lightly, and that’s one of them. It’s not a matter of being superficial, it’s a matter of being unfeeling. I just don’t see anyway around that.

  63. Manju
    Manju June 3, 2010 at 11:59 am |

    “Excuse me, but griping about domesticity and motherhood is such a privileged, Friedan-worshipping, white-women’s meme that I had to check my calendar to make sure we weren’t back in 70s.”

    Well, my Aunts back in the Desh do this all day long, even the ones still in the village, just so you know they have some street-cred.

    They also all want to come to America, because it’s the land of the free. And, relatively speaking, it is.

    So, its not just a rich white woman’s meme.

  64. Tassja
    Tassja June 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm |

    @Manju

    I wasn’t trying to play Oppression Olympics. Yes, all women chafe against domestic expectations. My point was, that’s not the whole story. Women like Charlotte and Miranda get to foist the undesirable ‘women’s work’ like cleaning, laundering, nappy-changing etc onto less privileged women, so that they can enjoy the freedoms of ‘feminism’. SATC2 has several instances of POC/ working class folks waiting on the main characters, and to laud the Charlotte et al as feminist while they reap privilege off other women’s backs is hypocritical. And that’s why I identify as a Womanist.
    Moreover, the media hardly ever portrays the concerns of women different than Charlotte and Miranda: women like your aunts, or my mother (who worked a double shift for most of our lives). Charlotte and Miranda’s brand of feminism is specific to them: privileged, heterosexual white women. And I’m tired of their feminism being presented as ALL feminism.

    @Tom Foolery

    “Someone advancing the idea that “griping” about traditional gender roles on a feminist blog is somehow inappropriate for certain kinds of women goes so far in showing how bananas the identity politics movement has gone.”

    I suggest you put the bananas down and educate yourself on the multiplicity of social justice movements you so dismissively termed “identity politics movement”. My comments were addressed specifically to a feminist blog, because mainstream feminism has sold many women short for decades. Hence my identifying as a Womanist.
    This isn’t about inappropriateness. It’s about privilege and access and whose stories are told, and whose are silenced or marginalized.

  65. Manju
    Manju June 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm |

    A tad OT, but SATC really makes no sense. It should be SITC.

  66. Manju
    Manju June 3, 2010 at 1:27 pm |

    I mean, Jill, the show should’ve been called SITC, not that you should’ve written it.

    everyone i know always intuitively called SITC anyways, and upon learning it was really A, we were all wtf!!?

  67. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery June 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm |

    I suggest you put the bananas down and educate yourself on the multiplicity of social justice movements you so dismissively termed “identity politics movement”. My comments were addressed specifically to a feminist blog, because mainstream feminism has sold many women short for decades. Hence my identifying as a Womanist.

    I would gladly lay down my bananas and educate myself, if that was at all meaningful. The current state of the social justice movement is such that any amount of education is inadequate, because any behavior or opinion — no matter how well thought-out or justified — can be unanswerably criticized by a member of a “more marginalized” group.

  68. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. June 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm |

    Absolutely, Tom Foolery. So bring on the “opinion-no matter how well thought out or justified!” I’d enjoy that, because so far I’ve seen cheap insults like “identity politics” thrown about and read “unanswerably” criticized comments by a member of a “(less) marginalized” group. That gets old, right?

  69. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig June 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm |

    Jill:Equality is not a zero-sum game.
    History says you’re wrong. Equality shouldn’t be a zero-sum game, but in the States at least, that’s the way things have played out.

  70. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig June 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm |

    Blockquote fail, sigh.

  71. ginmar
    ginmar June 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm |

    I cannot believe how racist and ignorant some of these comments are. Many women in Arab countries choose not to veil, or wear variations of it, or change from day to day. And here’s something nobody ever mentions: in the Middle East covering up in loose clothing can make the heat bearable. And frankly, give me a moderate Muslim man, say, over many American men any day—you can have your faux progressives, your liberals—except when the subject is women, that is–and of course the conservatives.

    Bear with me. I remember once guarding a Humvee outside a school on an unbearably hot day in Iraq. I was wearing pants, a belt–which you sweat under, by the way—-, boots, wool socks, a tee shirt (which you sweat through), an overblouse, twenty pounds of body armor, shooting gloves, a scarf under my helmet to keep the dust from my hair, a gaiter around my neck and over my face up to the nose, and I had rings of sweat marked permanently on my uniform.

    A woman came sauntering up to me, wearing a burka, but with her face uncovered. She was wearing heels and bright red lipstick. She stopped when I smiled at her, we exchanged greetings, and I noted her freedom of movement. We chatted. A man in a dishdashah went by, a little girl swinging excitedly from each hand, chattering away. A crowd of schoolgirls went by, bearing matching schoolbags but some wearing veils, some scarves, some nothing at all. And I wondered….me in my hot, tight, sweat-soaked uniform and her in her loose robes—what’s a burka, after all? Who decides? And then I realized I had been so very wrong to approach the Middle East with a Western frame of mind.

  72. liz
    liz June 4, 2010 at 10:05 am |

    I saw the movie last weekend and thought it was pretty bad — so bad that I can’t imagine buying it and watching it again. I WILL say that one of my favorite parts were the scenes with Miranda and Charlotte, when Miranda made Charlotte talk about her feelings about motherhood. It felt genuine and very true to the spirit of the characters. But so much of the rest of it was awful and almost like a caricature of the women and their personalities. Samantha — totally over the top with the sex stuff. What is she, Tiger Woods? Jesse James? She’s gone from healthy sexual appetite to addiction, almost. I kept waiting for someone to suggest treatment, like a clinic or a book like Erotic Intelligence which is about having a healthy sex life AFTER treatment. There is hope after sex addiction for the addict, the partner (in Samantha’s case, partnerS) and the relationship (s). So Samantha have no fear! Get some help!

    I guess I thought the over the top stuff was just too, too, too over the top. And I don’t think it’s anti-feminist to say so.

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