Sexism and the City

Miranda and SteveI’ve been revisiting old episodes of Sex and the City a lot lately. It’s a fun show for a girl to watch. New York City neighborhoods, ultra-chic fashions, Manolo Blahnik shoes, ever-changing hairstyles. And an endless stream of nameless but memorable lovers.

The show becomes decidedly less fun when any of the girls ends up in a serious relationship. Can a long-term partnership ever compare favorably to a brand new sex-soaked love fest? Surely not. I can handle Carrie and Mr. Big because Christopher Noth is incredibly dashing and always just a hair out of reach. And Charlotte can have Harry because she’s the show’s I-believe-in-love ingenue and she needs monogamy. But the relationship between Miranda, the successful attorney, and Steve, the soft-spoken bartender, is a huge drag to watch.

Miranda is the least attractive of the girlfriends and her personality is off-putting. Brooklyn boy Steve-with-a-heart-of-gold is able to overlook her coarse communication style and soften her with his sympathetic ear and tender loving ways. Okay, fine. I could take that for a few weeks.

But for some godforsaken reason the writers let this stupid relationship go on until Miranda winds up preggers, wants to abort, can’t because Steve’s so adorably earnest, has the baby, decides to keep Steve, blah blah blah. The writers should’ve killed them both off right then. There should be no happily ever after on Sex and the City. The whole point of the show is the friendship between the women. Men are unreliable, thus expendable. But girlfriends are forever.

The thing I really hate about the Miranda-Steve relationship is the whole rich girl/poor boy thing. Charming initially but odious when morphed into powerful-manly-girl/emasculated-but-fighting-nobly boy. Financially secure Miranda is portrayed as shallow, greedy, hardened and immoral, while affable loser Steve is the white knight come to love her into domestic simplicity.

Forget independence, ignore achievement, never mind separate identity. The message is that what we really want, in the deep recesses of our scarred hearts, is to give it all up to a good guy like Steve.

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