Moving on from ‘Sex and the City’
Manila – In recent weeks, photos of the stars of “Sex and the City” have been popping up all over Hollywood news while filming their reboot, “And Just Like That.”
I chatted with a friend about how old the stars look now. We asked ourselves, “Do we look this old too?” I told her it’s probably makeup, but as more photos appeared, we concluded that we’re indeed seeing how time caught up with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis who were youthful when the comedy-drama-romance series started airing in 1998.
Sarah Jessica as Carrie Bradshaw, Cynthia as Miranda Hobbes, Kristin as Charlotte York and Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones played the 30-something single women who traversed friendships, fell in and out of love, slept with lovers and strangers, and talked and argued endlessly about men, dating, sex, single life and relationships.
There were SATC apostles among my friends, some of whom even rushed to bars and night dives that aired the TV show just to catch it. I watched it if I could but not devotedly, as I struggled with some episodes that were at times hilarious in their parallels to real life and pathetic in the drama and theatrics.
But we grew up with the characters, being intense, complicated, bohemian women in our 30s ourselves. I had a circle of friends who liked to assume their versions of the iconic foursome – the vague, whiney Carrie; the fiery, shameless Samantha; the unfiltered, brutal Miranda and the sweet, prissy Charlotte. That circle at some point called me a Miranda for sneering at their fussy relationship dramas, and a Samantha for being unapologetic about my thoughts. I was never a Charlotte nor a Carrie.
We were amused at the wardrobe and accessories. We were enthralled at the adventures of four privileged women in their own bubble walking around the streets of Manhattan and owning New York City in their high heels. Apart from this fascination, we dissected the show’s storylines. Some things we thought we knew about ourselves we bore out from watching the show.
But behind its pull on stilettos and luxury labels, the show provided a defiant stand against stereotypes of women, mainly that they should settle down in order to be happy. It shouted to the women of the world that they can have fun and fulfillment through other means in their homes, friends and work. It moved forward the notions of how a woman should and could live her life.
A year after the show’s last season aired in 2004, I embarked on my own adventures at wearing heels with my power suits as I worked in an international organization. My friends moved on too, settled, or established their own places. We were all already grown up when the two Sex and the City movies were made.
We still have with us the TV show’s poignancy, but I don’t think we still care much about the clothes and footwear. I once also believed in the power of the high heels. I passed the sashay test even if it was causing me discomfort. I now go with more comfortable shoes. But I don’t have stilettos inside a glass case that I have to break in case of emergencies.
We may not be as eager to see a reboot (minus Samantha, how sad), and I’m not certain if it’s worthy of my time, but I’m curious about its fresh take on the political and social climate we’re currently living in, now that they’re in their 50s. And just like that, the world has changed for women; we all have changed. Perhaps it could start with that.
Diana G. Mendoza is a longtime journalist based in Manila. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org