Guest Post

Sex and the City of Budapest

A bigot politician blamed Sex and the City for “single women”. But if this is liberating, please count me out.

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You know that a party went too far when you start discussing Sex and the City and politics. Yesterday, an old “christian democratic” politician came up who blamed the dismal state of women on Western culture, specifically the existence of single women who are not ashamed of it, on the 90s TV show Sex and the City.

And then I confessed that I missed that liberating experience altogether.

So we had to watch the show that supposedly corrupted me – whether I’ve seen it or not – by making a generation of women promiscuous and too picky to settle with opinionated christian democrats who think women exist only to provide reproductive, sexual and household service to the real people. Well, obviously, we need a TV show to say no to this.

So I watched this show for the first time (well, the first season) and I can tell you it’s anything but liberating. And it doesn’t suggest that being single is OK.

1. Marry you must!

This is the overwhelming message of this whole show – from season 1 to season whatever. If this show is about making singles acceptable – what is it like when someone denounces them?

This show is about four women desperate to find The Guy. Or A Guy. Any guy. They are not proud singles, they are apologetic at best. But rather ashamed. And to conceal their shame they have sex defiantly.

Couple you must!

And marry you must, too. Eventually. Without the pressure to find a guy and marry him the entire show would not exist. There is literally nothing else to it.

Besides, Carrie meets her future husband in S01E01 and starts dating him in episode 5. The mandatory seven years later, when it gets too stale (because they ticked every relationship milestone off her list and there is nothing else to do together – see below) – they will marry.

So promiscuous! The liberated single bitch!

www.weddingphotographer.huPhoto: www.weddingphotographer.hu

2. SATC is not about successful women.

The first thing about this show that everyone spits in your face is that it is about successful and independent single women. It is not.

Firstly, if making a comfortable living is still a success in this century, shoot me. They just mean professional women, aka. women who make a decent living on a salary. Keep the word “success” for something above-average, please, and stop calling people who manage to live on a salary “successful”. Even if this show is just about women, not about real people.

Secondly, we never see these fictional female creatures in their work environment where they are having that “success”. Ever. We only see them in their natural environment, which is fretting what men think about them. Ovaries, dresses, wedding guest books, 80s gender clichés.

If this is what christian democrats want to take back from women – take it. All of it. It belongs to them, anyway. It is as traditional as it gets.

3. I just realized that we never got past the clichés of 1998

We still discuss and make policy based on the clichés the narrator listed in the starting scene of season one, episode one. In 1998.

Just read this exposé (sorry, it wasn’t on YouTube)

There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of women like this in the city. We all know them and we all agree they’re great. They travel, they pay taxes, they’ll spend $400 on a pair of Minolo Blahnik strappy sandals and they’re alone.

It’s like the riddle of the Sphinx. Why are there so many great-unmarried women, and no great-unmarried men?

MAN 1: When you’re a young guy in your twenties, women are controlling the relationships. By the time you’re an eligible man in your thirties you feel like you’re being devoured by women. Suddenly the guys are holding all the chips. I call it a mid-thirties power flip

(Freeze frame, subtitles read: Peter Mason – Advertising Executive – Toxic Bachelor)

MAN 2: It’s all about age and Biology. I mean if you wanna get married, it’s to have kids, right? And you don’t wanna do it with someone older than 35 ‘cos then you have to have kids right away and that’s about it. I think these women should just forget about marriage and have a good time.

(Freeze frame, subtitles read: Capote Duncan, Publishing Executive – Toxic Bachelor)

MIRANDA: I have a friend, who’s always gone out with extremely sexy guys and just had a good time. One day she woke up and she was 41. She couldn’t get any more dates. She had a complete physical breakdown. Couldn’t hold on to her job and had to move back to Winsconsin to live with her mother

(Freeze frame, subtitles read: Miranda Hobbes Esq – Corporate Lawyer – Unmarried woman)

CHARLOTTE: Most men are threatened by successful women. If you want to get these guys, you have to keep your mouth shut and play by the rules.

(Freeze frame, subtitles read: Charlotte York – Art dealer – Unmarried woman)

SKIPPER: I totally believe that love conquers all. Sometimes you just have to give it a little space, and that’s exactly what is missing in Manhattan – the space for romance

(Freeze frame, subtitles read: Skipper Johnston – Website creator – Hopeless Romantic)

PETER: The problem is expectations. Older women don’t want to settle for what’s available.

MIRANDA: By the time you reach your mid thirties you think:‘Why should I settle?’ You know?

CHARLOTTE: It’s like the older we get the more we keep self-selecting down to a smaller and smaller group

PETER: What women really want is Alec Baldwin

CAPOTE: There’s not one woman in NY who hasn’t turned down ten wonderful guys ‘cos they were too short, or too fat or too poor

MIRANDA: I have been out with some of those guys, the short, fat poor ones. It makes absolutely no difference. They’re just as self-centred and unappreciative as the good-looking ones

PETER: Why don’t these women just marry a fat guy? Why don’t they just marry a big fat tub of lard?

CARRIE: (Voice-Over) Another thirty something birthday with a group of unmarried female friends…

This episode ran in 1998. And this is still the level of public discourse today. For pious politicians, 1998 is even a lamentable stage of women’s liberation gone too far.

But is this liberation? Really? Is this what stops anyone from getting in line already?

4. The supposedly super-emancipated protagonist keeps striving to reach made-up relationship milestones

That’s what the whole show is about. Eight seasons and two feature films of it.

She makes a fuss about

  1. declarations of exclusivity
  2. going to a “proper” restaurant,
  3. meeting the mother (she actually stalks her),
  4. leaving underwear at her boyfriend’s place,
  5. making him join her at a dinner with the girls,
  6. demanding his apartment keys (!!!!),
  7. taking a number 2 at his place

– the whole show reads like a manual for stalking and harassment. If a guy did this to me I would get a restraining order.

Women all over the world are now preoccupied by these freaky “relationship milestones” – and I just realized that this show did it. Stupid rules and keeping track of the erosion of privacy within relationships is a SATC-staple.

But “relationship milestones” serve to remind women that they need-need-need to get serious. And this is just the first season – I really don’t want to know how creepy she gets in the next seasons.

And when their train runs out of tracks (i.e. “relationship milestones”) they get married and make a baby because they honestly don’t know what to do with their partners.

These women keep saying ‘love’ but what they mean is ‘fast track to marriage’.

The show portrays the sickest, for-the-onlooker relationship model that is bound to make everyone miserable. There is no love here.

The show is not about love or relationships at all. It is about hurrying to pass the point of no return and getting that new taxpayer out before these women can start thinking what they are doing and why.

Quick, christian democrats! Embrace it before women wake up and toss this show in the bin of embarrassing, old trends where it belongs.

5. It’s all about men!

The emancipated columnist spends her days curling and straightening her hair, applying expert make-up, spends her salary on new, fabric-free outfits and ugly, 400-dollar shoes to please the world aesthetically?

I know, I know… You will tell me that she totally does it for herself. Or women do it for the other women. I’ve never heard these clichés before… And still get these clichés lobbed at me as truth grenades in 2017. But now I know where they came from:

The “liberating” TV show that made women… desperate to marry, but for themselves

This show actually turned a friend into a textbook, marriage-hunting, brain dead zombie, constantly yapping about men and what intrusion of privacy they allowed her last time. She spent years imitating Carrie, she even said so, but I just realized how far she went. It damaged her permanently, not to mention the life choices she made based on these role models, the marriage she got herself into.

Dear politicians, this is exactly what you want. These “singles” are just confused, anxious, insecure women who dread the responsibility of “ending up alone” so much, they pull a marriage on themselves. They just keep yapping that they are totally different.

Besides, since when do you care about what women say?

6. Spend your salary on your look, liberated single woman!

Carrie looks anorexic but the other actresses are also obviously starving to take up ass little space as possible. She wears hair extensions to look younger, thinness-proving dresses to keep her appropriate smallness at display at all times, and heels to be as uncomfortable and physically vulnerable as possible while telling herself these are “power heels”.

The show is even peddling plastic surgery – but without any direct product placement. Just get your face propped up, bitch! They even list the timeline for various body modification surgeries to take place on a woman. Doesn’t matter which surgeon, just do it already.

Right, good girl. Now don’t you feel like a liberated girl? You can now feel secure that you will be aesthetically approvable for a little longer. For yourself, that’s right.

So empowered!

7. Spreading the myth of unattainable financial status

OK, this show is not about millennials. These characters were thirty-somethings by 1998, that makes them born in the 60s. But we were supposedly influenced by them so let’s spell this out:

She couldn’t possibly afford a huge Manhattan apartment, hundreds of pricey cocktails a month, 400-dollar shoes and a walk-in closet full of outfits on a single salary, after taxes. For writing down her silly thoughts about sex once a week.

Even watching this is painful when your own housing situation consists of a shared apartment (with friends or with a partner – never alone) that is considerably smaller but still takes up 50-80% of your net income to pay for it. And you work full time plus so much overtime/freelancing/side gigs that you don’t even have the time to meet your friends for a cheap beer. At least not when they do.

But yeah, sure, get on with the baby project, you selfish bitch!

8. They all want and produce children

Because they can afford it. (No.)

Or because they have bagged the man who will bankroll it. (Very liberating.)

They fret so much about their ovaries from episode one, it is almost hypnotic. The show makes you think so hard about your fertility, one must wonder whether the fertility industry financed it or politicians. Or both. There is no fourth option.

How is this putting anyone off the thankless duty of producing more Hungarians? Quite the opposite. These women will keep yapping that ‘Ugh, babies are not for me’ but do it anyway. They are made to keep thinking about their social clocks all the time. And it is ticking loudly indeed.

This show actually called reproductive advancements “an abuse of science”. Yeah, right, I know. The ladies disagreed. A little. At least they said so. Sort of. Maybe. But weren’t quite sure themselves.

The show doesn’t even show relationships – only attempts to get to marriage.

This is a recipe for creating suppressed and miserable people tied down by their families, most of their energies locked up in surviving their lives and fulfilling their duties. In other words, perfect, malleable citizens, who are dependent and have no time to take on you for stealing their tax money. They will find it more time efficient to just come up with an excuse for the politicians between two diapers.

SATC is single-shaming with a spoonful of Cosmopolitan and plenty of condoms

Identifying someone as “single” is as neutral as calling her a non-pedophile. Or non-parachuter, or non-parent. It implies “not yet'”.

And this show is what you do when you can no longer shout into women’s face to go home and breed already. Now they unfortunately have a salary for sustenance, so you have to guilt and pressurize them into doing it. Best do so with a hit TV show they voluntarily watch because they were told this is what they want to be like. And they will get pregnant while distractedly yapping about not feeling guilty. Nope. Not really. (Awkward silence.)

This show put a brand new generation under the same, old, must-marry spell. If anyone, men got a big boost in their dating efforts. Firstly, these women teach us to fuck like bunnies, defiantly, because that is good. It is indeed good, but these women also crave marriage, and not as a choice in case they find someone.

Secondly, women are now told that they are “free” so not attaining marriage and babies is now their personal failure. So they try to escape that responsibility by pushing for marriage themselves. They don’t even look at the guy as long as money is checked and reproductive time frame is synchronized. If this is liberating, please count me out.

Christian democrats with too much time on their hands to legislate other people’s lives can relax now. Just make Sex and the City mandatory in school.

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*I’m sorry but it started in 1998 – we had only two TV-channels at home back then.

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