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Why “Sex and the City” Got Me Through 2020

Growing up, my mom would often have Sex and the City playing in the living room, as she sipped at a glass of white wine. She always used to smile when mentioning that her friends would tell her she was such a “Charlotte.” Nevertheless, the classic Mom “cover your eyes!!!” rule stopped me from taking more of a peep of the show. Now I’m 20 years old and until quarantine, I had never gotten around to what people describe as, “one of the greatest shows of all time.” My favorite thing I’ve heard people say is, “Sex and the City walked so that Gossip Girl could run.” I couldn’t quite comprehend it, because I always held Gossip Girl on the highest pedestal. During quarantine I was feeling way more single and alone than usual which I’m sure many others can empathize with. That on-the-market, “single and ready to mingle,” confident energy that I had felt in 2019 was suddenly gone. Among many other self-care activities, this show helped me to discover a newfound “bad bleep Addison Rae energy”. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about four badass best friends, Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. They are in their mid-thirties and forties, and confide in each other about their constantly changing, and extremely entertaining sex lives, in New York City.

 

            When I first started watching the show, I found it almost depressing that these four amazing women were still playing the dating field. I wondered, was that going to be me? As I began to binge the first season with my two best friends/roommates, I was in awe. My opinion was changed instantly. These women did something a show had never done before in history. It normalized that it was ok to be single and find yourself at any age. There was also something about the hustle and bustle of New York City that drew me in deeper. The diversity, the night life, the fashion scene, the job opportunities, and the urge to make something of yourself...the list goes on. Growing up in a very ethnic Greek household, there was always this idea instilled in me that I needed a man to provide for me. While I was told that I could pursue my own career, it was never expected to be enough to sustain a good lifestyle. Even though I knew this wasn’t true, Sex and the City only confirmed this. The story line was inspired by the actual lives of female writers in New York City. This helped to elevate female voices rather than creating a false depiction through a male-told narrative. It also reconciled the concept  that it is perfectly okay to seek satisfaction through your job, self-development and friendships, rather than constantly worrying about finding “Mr. Right.” This show puts women and their emotions at center stage. Men always talk about women being “too emotional,” but this show made me feel like it is okay to openly express what I’m going through. That kind of attitude can help to prevent full blown breakdowns in the future.

 

            In season 4 episode 1 (no spoilers, don’t worry!), Carrie gets stuck on the fact that she is 35 and hasn’t found her soulmate yet. She says, “I can’t believe I’m saying this but, it feels really sad not to have a man in my life that cares about me.” In that moment, the four female icons all decide that they only need each other as soulmates. If they had a man in their lives it would only add to their happiness rather than being the end all be all. There is also this normalization of sex in the show that helps create a culture where you can talk about it openly without immediately receiving the label of “slut.” Carrying this label is something that is still so pervasive now, just as it was in the 90s. Samantha’s character in and of itself is something that has never been done before in television, and continues to empower women to this day. While she isn’t perfect, she has a strong understanding of herself that inspires women to own their sexuality too. Vulnerability is one of my biggest takeaways after binging all six seasons in less than three weeks. In the beginning of each episode, you see one of the characters at their highest of highs, only to fall back to Earth and be left at their lowest and most vulnerable human state. Especially after this tumultuous year, Sex and the City reminded me that it’s ok to be vulnerable throughout the irrationalities of life. 

 

After finishing the show, I took a countless number of personality tests to find out if my personality was more Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, or Charlotte. After a bunch of trial and error I came to the conclusion that I was all of them. I was as original and free as Carrie. I was as smart and assertive as Miranda. I was as sexy and outspoken as Samantha. I was also as methodical and kind as Charlotte; also known as, “the girl that men should take home to their mother.” Sex and the City has shaped a generation of women into owning who they are. So the next time you’re in awe watching Sarah Jessica Parker moseying across a New York City sidewalk in a tulle ballerina skirt as she hails a cab, visualize yourself—it could be you one day.