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Cynthia Nixon as “Miranda Hobbes,” Sarah Jessica Parker as “Carrie Bradshaw,” Kristin Davis as “Charlotte York.”
Cynthia Nixon as “Miranda Hobbes,” Sarah Jessica Parker as “Carrie Bradshaw,” Kristin Davis as “Charlotte York.”
Culture > Entertainment

Sex and the City:  What We Can Learn from Carrie Bradshaw

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

By Ashton Keaton

As a little girl, I remember hearing my mom’s friends talking about the infamous show “Sex and the City”. I remember all the times I heard Carrie Bradshaw referenced or saw a post about the loveable four friends who revolutionized television for women. Sex and the City is not only a great source of entertainment, I believe it was the first (and maybe only) mainstream show to give a voice to the real modern day woman. For far too long, the media only depicted female stereotypes like the “cool girl” or the “femme fatale”, and seldom did we see a woman who was all of those things in one. In the four characters on the show (Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte), every woman can find shades of herself to some degree. We all have a little of each one of them in us, and for that reason I wanted to share the biggest life lesson I have taken from each of them in a series of articles. Today, we will start with the icon herself—Carrie Bradshaw.

#1: We have to make our own mistakes, because no matter what, our life is only authentic if it is lived true to our intuition.

I adore Carrie Bradshaw. From her wild curls to her sometimes questionable fashion, I simply fell in love with her on screen. She is not like the “main characters” I have seen in the past who are “perfect” and never make a mistake; she is real and raw and occasionally even downright problematic. No matter how many times Mr. Big disrespected her, we watched her go back to him over and over again. While I am not saying I want to glamorize toxic relationships in the slightest, I am saying that I feel like I could actually learn from Carrie, because she didn’t always do the right thing. Like me, sometimes she fell back into patterns she knew weren’t right from her. As a viewer, I could see the duality of Carrie: she was an amazingly smart and independent woman who also had true human feelings and did the thing that she knew was bad for her time and time again. By seeing this juxtaposition in her, I was able to see it in myself too. I am not defined by my human flaws, because I have to make those mistakes in order to be authentic to myself. Despite the red flags and desperate pleas from her friends for her to make the “right” choice, she did the thing that was true to herself even when it ended up backfiring. Ultimately, I believe Carrie taught me that it is inevitable that I will make the wrong choices sometimes. However, as long as these choices are true to my identity and feelings at the time, they will end up bringing me closer to my destiny anyways.

#2: It is ok to not know exactly what you want from your future

Throughout the show, Carrie lives out multiple facets of herself. For a while, she is sort of  “friends with benefits” with Big who will not commit to her. Then she is the doting fiancée who wants marriage, kids, and (almost) the white picket fence with Aiden. She even gives up her life and home to be the “supportive and cool girlfriend” to Petrovsky.  However, she ends up marrying a guy who she thought she would never get and not having kids at all. We see her several times in the show questioning what exactly it is that she wants from life, which is incredibly encouraging for those of us who don’t know either. As women, we are often told that we can only be 1 of 2 things: either a loyal housewife and mother OR a devoted career woman who relies on no one but herself. It is expected of us that we “know” exactly what we want from life, because women are not given the same freedom of self-exploration in our 20s/30s as men are. If a man is single at 25, well, he is just a young bachelor who is just starting out in life. If a woman is single at 25, she must either be insufferable, or never want the “fairytale ending” for herself. Carrie taught me that there is no clock on your future, because what is meant to be yours will come to you regardless. As Carrie showed us, it’s alright to be 38 and not know if you want kids. It is okay to enter into a relationship destined for marriage, and to simply decide that that is not the future you see for yourself. We do not have to figure everything out all at once, it is perfectly acceptable to move through life in a way that honors what happens naturally, while also sorting out what you want for your life.

In conclusion, Carrie fundamentally changed how the “main character” is supposed to develop in a show. We got to witness her be in blissful happiness for months at a time, and then go through incredibly tough situations. We saw the highs and the lows, and learned that as humans, we will not always handle every situation with grace. It is okay to be wrong, as long as you grow from it and learn to apologize. Carrie taught me that I will never be perfect, but I can always be authentic to myself.

Hey! My name is Ashton, and I am a Sophomore at the University of Tampa. I am a Psychology major and I love to read, make Youtube videos and the color pink!