Those of you who loved the show or movie(s) Sex and the City probably found your newsfeed spammed over the past few weeks with the drama surrounding the potential of a third Sex and the City movie. From the possibility of replacing Kim Cattrall for the character of Samantha to the unearthed drama between the four actresses, these articles were disappointing. The most heartbreaking report of all, however, was the conclusion that there will not be a third Sex and the City movie.
The show piloted in 1998 and lasted until 2004, spanning a total of 94 episodes. The show was followed by two films in 2008 and 2010, and then a prequel series by The CW: The Carrie Diaries. For those who have not seen the show, it’s set and filmed in New York City and follows the lives of four women: Carrie, the protagonist and a columnist, Samantha, the head of a successful public relations agency, Miranda, a partner at a law firm, and Charlotte, the manager of an art gallery. Carrie’s column, “Sex and the City," encapsulates the questions and challenges she and her friends experience as women at the turn of the century.
The show Sex and the City succeeded in many different capacities: it won seven of its 54 Emmy Award nominations, eight of its 24 Golden Globe Award nominations, and three of its 11 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. It was placed #5 on Entertainment Weekly’s “New TV Classics” list, and one of Time magazine’s 100 Best TV Shows of All–TIME. More importantly, however, the show’s exploration and confrontation of stigmatized and repressed topics like the female orgasm, gender career inequity, and societal pressures regarding marriage, to name a few, revolutionized women’s place in film and TV, in addition to sparking conversations between women in real life.
Sex and the City confronts issues that were, and unfortunately still are, not discussed. The season pilot follows the women as they decide to “have sex like men." “The Baby Shower” highlights the pressure the women feel to follow a conventional path of marriage and children, and each woman's reaction represents how different women feel this pressure differently. “The Drought” deals with how women feel like they have to be perfect, both in bed and outside of it. In “They Shoot Single People, Don’t They?” Carrie questions how much women fake interest, orgasms, and more to remain in a relationship with a man. “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” confronts the controversy over getting an abortion.
These episodes provide a glimpse into the conversations Sex and the City catalyzed. The show isn't perfect in how it deals with some of these questions and challenges; some viewers felt that Sex and the City was detrimental to the feminism movement. Some argue that the show encourages two negative female archetypes: women as sex objects and women as children. Furthermore, some believe that the character's emphasis on their relationships with men sends the message that “getting a man” trumps intelligence, money, fashion, or a career. The show, in all its late 90’s early 2000’s glory, also excludes many individuals, as the protagonists are all skinny, white, upper–middle class, heterosexual, cis–gendered women.
However, Sex and the City is the first platform in which many of the questions and issues were discussed; it was revolutionary for the late 20th/early 21st century. It legitimized the need for conversations about issues like breastfeeding, masturbation, and balancing a career and family, by giving these four women space and time to have them. It affirmed many real problems women felt at the time but didn't discuss even among themselves because of stigmas and repression. The show has provided women—although a limited population of women—a language with which to talk about their own experiences. It's a damn shame we didn't get that third film.