Samantha Jones … is she an icon? A sex addict? A businesswoman? A chic New Yorker? Frankly, she’s whoever the hell she wants to be. Something I have always admired about Samantha in Sex and the City is that she never lets anyone put her in a box. She is independent, confident and constantly evolving. In a time when a woman’s expression of sexuality was shamed, Samantha was a progressive beacon of light displaying what our perspective on sexuality could and should be. As the world evolves and women’s sexual freedom blossoms, I believe we all could take a page out of Samantha’s book. It’s time to stop shaming women (including ourselves) and express our sexuality in any way we choose.
Samantha is judged not only by men and society but also by her friends. She was always open to new sexual experiences, many of which made her friends uncomfortable. Though, just because someone else’s sexuality is not like our own, does not mean we have a right to judge them.
In season five, Carrie walks in on Samantha having an … intimate moment with the World Wide Express man. Throughout the entirety of the episode, Carrie subtly judges her for it, and finally confesses that it was something she “would never do.” Samantha is angry, and rightfully so, because even her friends are shaming her. Her friends fail to realize that Samantha being sexually adventurous in no way forces them to do the same.
While Samantha favors being adventurous, Charlotte prefers being emotionally intimate with a man before they become physically intimate; Carrie usually sleeps with men she is dating; and Miranda has sex whenever she is in the mood (or not working on a deposition) and never considers men to be a necessity. But, at some point throughout the show, they all step out of their comfort zones and have a new sexual experience. When they do, Samantha supports them, gives them advice and helps them navigate their new feelings and encounters. There is a big difference between wanting our friends to be safe and shaming them for their wants and needs; this is the difference between Samantha and her friends.
Everyone, all genders and sexual orientations, should take a few notes from Samantha. Even when her best friends are shaming her, she stands up for herself. When Carrie states that she would never have done what Samantha did, Samantha says, “I will not be judged by you or society …” (S5E4 “Cover Girl”). Instead of letting her friend’s judgement change her and her lifestyle, she stands up for herself. As long as we are being safe and respectful to others, it is no one’s business how, when or with whom we choose to express our sexuality.
“I’m a try-sexual. I’ll try anything once” (S3E4 “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl…”). Speaking on new experiences, it is important to explore our sexuality throughout our lives. That does not mean we need to step way far out of our comfort zones, or that we need to meet a quota by a certain time; it is important, however, to get to know ourselves without shame from ourselves or anyone else.
A major issue for women in today’s day and age is self-shame, and this makes us hesitant to put ourselves out there in this way. It’s not our fault. We were raised in a patriarchal society and were purposefully made to feel small. We were told we needed to be quiet and pure. Some of us were raised religious, were taught that sex and discussing our sexuality were sinful, and had to follow strict rules for it to be labeled as “okay.” At some point, we all have sexual urges that we want to explore, but we are ashamed or worried about social repercussions.
It is at this time that we need to take another note from Samantha Jones. Throughout her life, she has many different urges that she is never afraid to explore. She is always known to have a lot of sexual partners while remaining non-monogamous, but she decides to explore relationships in later seasons. In season four, she dates a woman and tells a man she loves him. Her friends are flabbergasted when she shows up to dinner with a woman, and equally as surprised when she enters a committed relationship with Richard, the man whom she loves. Again, they pass judgement and advise her against it, but she brushes them off and explores her wants by herself. She breaks up with Maria when she realizes she does not want to be in a relationship with another woman, but even though it ends, she discovers a new detail about herself that she could keep with her down the road.
We may be scared to explore our sexuality because friends, family and society are all telling us it is wrong or shameful. It’s time to safely and comfortably explore our wants. Most likely we will learn more about ourselves in the process. And if anyone wants to shame us, remember WWSD: What Would Samantha Do?
Samantha is not only a sexually adventurous icon, but she is also a queen of self-love. I’ve watched the show from start to finish too many times, and I can’t remember a single moment that Samantha doubts herself in any way. In business, in sex, in appearance or even in age, she never puts herself down. If anyone puts her down, she stands up for herself or removes that person from her life.
As I said earlier, it is not our fault; we were raised to doubt ourselves. Growing up with magazines and models showing us exactly what we needed to be … but couldn’t be, messes with our heads in more ways than I can write about. It is hard to stand up for ourselves when we believe we don’t deserve anything more. Samantha knows what she deserves and stands for absolutely nothing less.
Even when she is in a loving, beautiful relationship with Smith, she knows it isn’t good for her at that time in her life. She tells him, “I love you, but I love me more” (Sex and the City: The Movie). When we love ourselves, we will always choose the best option, even if it hurts. She also never lets magazines or models get in her head. She is confident in her beauty and refuses to allow a man’s opinion to affect how she feels about herself.
So let’s take a page out of Samantha’s book and relearn how to love ourselves. Let’s shed all the labels and expectations we have been given our entire lives and start to figure out exactly who we are.
Who are we … college students? Hopeless romantics? Fashionistas? Frankly, we are whoever the hell we want to be.
Because of this show and Samantha Jones, I am able to feel confident and beautiful in my own life. At the very least, I hope I have convinced you that Samantha Jones is the best SATC character, but I also hope I have convinced you of something more.
I owe it all to Samantha Jones. She taught me to explore my sexuality without letting anyone pass judgement or shame me for it. She taught me that it’s not “vain” to love yourself, but instead, it is what we should all aim to achieve.
As we enter a time of women’s sexual liberation, we need to take time to explore our own needs and wants, and we will not listen to what anyone else has to say for it. In a world full of girls, I couldn’t help but wonder, why is it anyone else’s business how we choose to express our sexuality?