home
WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

New Yorker hostility beyond being ‘just not that into’ SATC

pkamens Icon Posted by Paula Kamen

June 10th, 2008

First, let me qualify that it’s not anti-feminist or anti-woman to pan a female-driven film, even the record-breaking romantic-comedy moneymaker, the “Sex and the City Movie.” So I’m not saying that all male critics have been sexist in their almost universal stink-bombing of it. After all, the film, which I’d rate at about 2 stars, has its flaws. While I generally enjoyed my opening-night viewing of the film, in a crowd of mostly cheering 20somethings near the Northwestern U campus in Evanston, I couldn’t help but question much of it. (Warning: multiple spoilers to come.)

The most untrue note was Carrie’s supposedly happily ending with Mr. Big, who has caused her even more wrenching pain through the years than those arch-killing Manolos. After how he’s let her down for years, any good therapist would tell her to run away, that a man who stands you up on the altar is indeed really “not that into you.” The biggest fantasy of all of the show was that an inveterate commitment phobe would suddenly want to commit.

Plus, it was at least a half hour too long.

But the reviews have gone above and beyond just criticizing the movie to being very defensive about the characters’ sexuality, to the point of exhibiting a strange hostility. A case in point is the review in the current “New Yorker” (June 9 and 16, 2008) by Anthony Lane (page 112). A red flag is the full-page Ralph Steadman illustration accompanying the article caricaturing the four leads as witch-like over-the-hill harpies. The ugliness in their faces is more pronounced than in any caricature I’ve ever seen in the magazine, even of someone who really has committed true crimes against humanity, like say Osama bin Laden.

Lane basically dismisses the four leads as “hormonal hobbits, all obsessed with a ring.” Actually, two of the subplots, of Miranda and Samantha, actively question marriage and men as the source of absolute fulfillment. The movie’s grand theme, for all four characters, is basically not their having “sex in the city,” but wrestling with concepts of commitment in their 40s. Miranda feels trapped her in her marriage, and spends the film weighing its value. At the end, Samantha actually breaks up with her dreamy sweet young lover because she does feel like she is losing herself, having left all her friends and her NYC world behind to be with him in LA.

The language of the review is extreme, such as the last line:

All the film lacks is a subtitle: ‘The Lying, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe.’

(The feministish blog Jezebel has also observed the particular viciousness of the review, pointing out Lane’s disgust at Samantha’s body and appetites. But New York Magazine, disagrees. Both picture the over-the-top Steadman illustration, which does match the tone of the review.)

In contrast, even while being critical, reviews by women have taken on a different and less hostile tone, recognizing the true cultural signficance of the subject matter, beyond the absolute surface. One of the most positive and interesting that I’ve seen is by Jessica Reaves, an actual young woman, who reviewed the film for the “Chicago Tribune.” While recognizing its superficiality, she also gets at some of the meat of it, which is based on a new world in which women, now in the workforce and educated in new numbers, don’t need men as a meal ticket. Instead, they are going through the dramatic process of redefining those relationships on their own terms, without losing their selves in the process. A reason why that show, and that movie, have been such phenomena, is that its one cultural force out there actively exposing these new realities, which have been evolving under the surface of American life for the past 4 decades. (Plug: See my book, Her Way, for an analysis.)

Reaves writes:

So while “Sex and the City” provides plenty of eye candy for the ladies (think naked men and haute couture), it’s also a movie about friendship and marriage, parenthood and middle age, presenting a great opportunity to yank “women’s” films out of the cinematic ghetto. Consider this: Every summer brings an influx of big-budget action movies, none of them categorized by gender, and we all traipse off to the theater and expect to be entertained. Period. Women don’t rend their clothes and weep about the coming apocalypse every time a new Bruce Willis film is released….

Appearances, so integral to the ethos of this franchise, are often deceiving. This movie is no exception: Like the television series, it looks like a sugary, insubstantial confection, seemingly no more capable of bearing weight than the spidery stilettos that line Carrie’s closets, and just as easily written off. But beneath its delicate exterior is a carefully engineered marvel, surprisingly substantial—and, as Samantha might sigh happily, totally satisfying.

26 Responses to “New Yorker hostility beyond being ‘just not that into’ SATC”

  1. shophgh.com
    July 11th, 2013 01:05
    1

    You are my inspiration, I own few web logs and sometimes run out from post :) . “Actions lie louder than words.” by Carolyn Wells.

  2. shophgh.com
    July 11th, 2013 11:01
    2

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  3. chemical suppliers
    July 18th, 2013 02:39
    3

    Unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike

  4. anime games
    July 19th, 2013 04:58
    4

    A lot of really expert data here. I found it really worthwhile, thanks a lot.

  5. radio arvila
    July 22nd, 2013 01:54
    5

    Hello there, simply changed into aware of your weblog via Google, and located that it is truly informative.

  6. Earleen Hirn
    July 22nd, 2013 18:12
    6

    Howdy! Very valuable some tips on this review! It is the small changes that make the leading changes. Thanks a lot pertaining to distributing!

  7. louis vuitton sully
    July 23rd, 2013 12:04
    7

    As of early July, jinzhou exposition has received 2

  8. hiperidrose
    August 4th, 2013 10:07
    8

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful blogs online. I most certainly will recommend this blog!

  9. jasa penerjemah tersumpah yogyakarta
    August 6th, 2013 03:26
    9

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Kudos.

  10. souvenir pernikahan jatinegara
    August 6th, 2013 10:46
    10

    Everything’s very open and very clear description of complications. is truly facts. Your site is very helpful. Nice one for sharing.

  11. website
    August 7th, 2013 14:53
    11

    excellent points altogether, you simply received a emblem new reader. What may you suggest in regards to your publish that you just made some days in the past? Any positive?

  12. miele teknik servis
    September 30th, 2013 16:11
    12

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best sites on the web. I most certainly will highly recommend this web site!

  13. chemical suppliers
    October 2nd, 2013 01:21
    13

    Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? Im not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. Im thinking about setting up my own but Im not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you

  14. Grady Exantus
    October 7th, 2013 21:01
    14

    I want to thanks for that time you have made on paper this blog post. I’m hoping exactly the same best product from you later on as well. Actually your creative writing skill has inspired me to start my very own blog now. Truly the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is really a fine illustration of it.

  15. bluetooth headphones
    October 17th, 2013 11:03
    15

    I want reading through and I think this website got some genuinely useful stuff on it!

  16. bluetooth speakers
    October 17th, 2013 20:11
    16

    You are my aspiration, I possess few web logs and sometimes run out from post :) . “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” by E. B. White.

  17. www.karpacz.pl
    November 5th, 2013 01:56
    17

    I found your weblog website on google and check a number of of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the very good operate. I just further up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for ahead to reading extra from you afterward!…

  18. free beats online
    November 17th, 2013 21:12
    18

    I’m a long time in the past I read your weblog and it has extended been saying that you are an incredible writer

  19. social media
    March 11th, 2014 00:15
    19

    Tweeted it

  20. what is the best type of silver jewelry to buy
    March 13th, 2014 02:26
    20

    Buy 925 sterling silver jewelry with real gemstones online from Yaasna.com. Yaasna Fusion Jewelry designs and sells hand crafted hallmarked sterling silver jewelry and gem stone jewelry from India

  21. Travis Askins
    March 30th, 2014 15:01
    21

    Awesome article.|

  22. Kattie Mcneeley
    March 31st, 2014 03:07
    22

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Kudos

  23. dreamhost domain promo
    May 11th, 2014 16:06
    23

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really great articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Cheers!

  24. More Info
    June 9th, 2014 04:42
    24

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I¡¯ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  25. Business Management
    June 20th, 2014 16:34
    25

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  26. Healthy Skin
    June 30th, 2014 06:43
    26

    I do accept as true with all the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for novices. May you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply