Remember when the first “Sex and the City” movie was released, and George Galloway (who used to be a member of Parliament) outed himself as a huge fan of the TV series?
In retrospect, it wasn’t very surprising at all. In fact from what I’ve learned about Galloway over the years, I would have been surprised if he hadn’t been a fan.
Now the feminist writer Laurie Penny was just plain wrong last year when she wrote about this blog:
Harry’s Place has pursued what has been seen as a ‘witch-hunt’ against any Muslim or Muslim-ally who does not fit the site editors’ strict definitions of ‘moderation’; to whit, near non-involvement in politics.
This of course was followed by the memorable “silly cow” brouhaha.
But writing in The New Statesman, Ms. Penny is, I think, spot on in her withering analysis of the latest “Sex and the City” movie and the whole SATC phenomenon:
Girl power is over. The release of the second Sex and the City film, in which four rich Americans analyse their marriages on a boringly opulent girls’ holiday to Abu Dhabi, sounds the death-knell for a pernicious strain of bourgeois sex-and-shopping feminism that should have been buried long ago at the crossroads of women’s liberation with a spiked Manolo heel through its shrivelled heart.
Any woman who claims not to enjoy Sex and the City is still considered to be either abnormal or fibbing, at least by a certain strain of highly-paid fashion columnist whose lives probably bear an unusual resemblance to that of the show’s protagonist, lifestyle writer Carrie Bradshaw. For the young women of my generation, however, Sex and the City’s vision of individual female empowerment rings increasingly hollow, predicated as it is upon conspicuous consumption, the possession of a rail-thin Caucasian body type, and the type of oblivious largesse that employs faceless immigrant women as servants.
What young women want and need today is secure gainful employment, the right to equal work, the right to make decisions about our bodies and sex lives without moral intimidation, and the right to be treated as full human beings even if we are not beautiful, skinny, white and wealthy.
Much ink has been spilt over whether the swinging sexual empowerment epitomised by Sex and the City’s insatiable Samantha Jones is a positive erotic model for women, or whether Samantha’s orgasmic adventures, squealingly portrayed by Kim Cattrall, are simply obscene. In fact, the real obscenity of Samantha’s lifestyle has nothing to do with her bedroom antics. In the first film, a minor plot-hook hinges around the character’s fancy for an antique ring costing sixty thousand dollars, which is eventually, to her chagrin, bought for her by her boyfriend. The type of feminism that gives serious thought to whether a girl should buy her own diamonds has missed something fundamental about the lives and problems of ordinary women.
Got that, George?
Like any glamorous fantasy, Sex and the City-style feminism is only harmless when it does not haemorrhage into reality. Unfortunately, female empowerment under Britain’s new centre-right coalition government also seems to be more about the shoes than the substance. Gushing attention has been paid to the extensive footwear collection of new Home Secretary and Women’s Minister Theresa May by press outlets all too keen to minimise her appalling record on gay rights and punishingly pro-life agenda. With May and fellow female cabinet member Baroness Warsi dubbed the coalition’s ‘fashion double act’, it seems as if all it takes to be pro-woman today is a really killer pair of heels.
The problem is, Penny herself was among the reputed leftists who endorsed the Liberal Democrats— now part of the above-mentioned coalition government– in the recent election.