If you’re a woman between the ages of 18 and 50, you most likely have seen at least one episode of the infamous television series, Sex and the City. Let me premise this post by saying that if you do fall within that age gap and have NOT seen an episode, immediately turn on E! and watch one of the re-runs. Seriously. Please. Just do it. I’m not kidding. But, really, I’m not kidding.
I am an avid fan of the series. It began in 1999 and finished in 2004, spanning over six seasons. It has won seven Emmy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards and has inspired two major motion pictures. The show is about the lives of four single New York City women and their daily experiences with fashion, careers, sex, relationships, and life in the city that never sleeps. Many of my friends constantly tease me for my borderline obsession with the show. To persuade them otherwise, I began contemplating the reasons exactly why women such as myself have become so engulfed in the show. I determined that Sex and the City was much more than just another television series. It did four major things for women of the 90s and 2000s that continue to resonate in the lives of women today:
1. The show strengthened the role of friendships in women’s lives.
The four main characters are best friends. They treat each other as their own family and, at one point in the series, Samantha makes the famed statement that summarized exactly what the show was about: “Men, babies. It doesn’t matter. We’re soul mates.” Regardless of the men that come in and out of the characters’ lives, their friendships with each other remain. Few television series prior to Sex and the City maintained a plot line that encouraged strong bonds between women over heterosexual relationships. Women could find a positive message about sisterhood in the series and the importance of respecting and growing relationships with friends.
2. The show empowered female sexuality.
Yes, a big part of the series is about the four characters experiences in the sack. For a television series, this aspect of the show had never been show before on television. Women had never been portrayed in such a sexual light. I’m sure the show received backlash for this characteristic, but I think it was beneficial for women everywhere to see that a television show embraced the fact that yes, women, just like men, had sex. Sure, male characters were shown having sex on television shows for years prior, but a television series had not existed before Sex and the City that portrayed the female perspective.
3. The show encouraged women to pursue their careers.
The four main characters are all career women. Carrie Bradshaw has her own weekly column, Samantha Jones is a public relations executive for A list celebrities and businesses, Charlotte Yorke is an art dealer, and Miranda Hobbes is an ivy-league graduate and lawyer. The four characters always depend on themselves for financial support, rather than looking to the men in their lives for financial assistance (except for the one time that Carrie took money from Mr. Big to buy her apartment because she couldn’t afford to pay for it after Aidan dumped her). They are independent, self-sufficient, intelligent women, which had not been depicted on television a great deal in the 90s and 2000s.
4. The show encouraged a positive body image.
When the show first started in 90s, super model Kate Moss had revolutionized the “stick-thin” body type in the fashion industry. However, this image was not carried over to Sex and the City. Yes, the women were attractive and healthy, but they were always shown in the series going out and eating. Sometimes they felt insecure about their appearance and weight (i.e. when Miranda doesn’t want to go out with the girls after being pregnant). My point is that they were never portrayed as women who obsessed over their appearance and starved themselves to fit into a size 2. They were real women with real body insecurities just like the rest of us. Amen, sista, amen.