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carrie bradshaw i live here
carrie bradshaw i live here
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Culture > Entertainment

‘Sex and The City’: Carrie Bradshaw as the Perfect Female Anti-Hero

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Sex, fashion, New York City and late-night martinis, what more could you ask for?

Sex and the City was a pioneer in the genre of modern-day feminism and is known for its undeniably raw representations of a single girl living in the big city. However, the show’s connotation became that of a “guilty pleasure,” with references only being made to the drama in witty jokes or as if to insult another TV show by comparing the two.

The question that remains is, if a show like The Sopranos is acclaimed for being the inspiration and originator of the organized crime genre of television, why is Sex and the City belittled into the category of a romantic comedy? When, in reality, it is so much more than that? 

Just as The Sopranos was the first of its kind, Sex and the City was the first female-driven, glamorous and daring introduction of a group of four sexually promiscuous women who reinvented the notion of single women.

Rather than being perceived as sad and lonely, the single women in this show play the field just as skilled and expertly as men do. This leads to the introduction of the iconic anti-hero that is Carrie Bradshaw. She’s a young columnist for a fictional newspaper called the New York Star, where she writes about her learned lessons regarding, well, sex and the city.

More specifically, these columns provided a form of authentic expression chronicling her very real frustrations with dating as a woman in her 30s, and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind to the fullest extent. With the help of her four iconic gal pals — Samantha Jones, Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbes — men are called out for their sh*t, and women’s concerns are seen as valid and not crazy! 

This sparked conversation amongst female fans of the show, who were able to identify with the characters and relate to their struggles and achievements.

Carrie’s character is often called out as the most problematic, toxic and least-liked character. However, at the same time, that’s what makes her so appealing. She’s not your perfect female heroine. She is, in fact, the perfect female villain.

She falls in love with Mr. Big, a man ridden with red flags, including an inability to commit. And although her friends hate him, she becomes anxiously obsessed with him. Her next big love, Aiden Shaw, is the most emotionally attentive, perfect gentleman and quite literally the biggest green flag. Yet, this healthy dynamic quickly becomes too much for Carrie, and instead, she reverts to a page right out of Big’s playbook; she cheats on the perfect guy with the worst guy. 

Six seasons, five years. Carrie’s character developed drastically, but not necessarily in a positive sense. While she became more open to the idea of committed, monogamous love, she also became insecure, traumatized and uncomfortable with the fact of being an older single woman. This wasn’t a good look — considering her column was centred around the idea of being a confident woman not only sexually but also accepting oneself as a whole.

Confronted with her worst flaws and inability to maintain a healthy relationship, she is far from perfect. But is it fair to not call her perfect when she is the perfect example of a realistic woman? 

Despite being a successful columnist in New York City, having a rent-controlled apartment overlooking Central Park, invitations to the most fabulous parties one could only dream of attending, and arguably the most iconic closet TV has ever seen, it’s still not enough.

She still has her problems. She has issues with men, with her emotions, with trauma and the refusal to heal from all her failed relationships. But this is exactly what makes her lifestyle so unattainable yet raw and relatable.

Viewers are able to idolize the character’s profession and idyllic apartment, draw inspiration from her looks and apply the lessons from her column to their everyday dating lives. At the same time, however, they’re also able to relate to her downfalls and mistakes, realizing perhaps they’ve also been in the same position before. Whether it be not being able to recover from a toxic relationship, the unhealthy coping mechanism that is still quoted today — “shopping is my cardio” — or simply running into an unexpected ex-partner. 

The powerful effect of storytelling, as seen through Carrie’s lens, provides a realistic validation for women everywhere struggling to find a sense of belonging and relation in a world that has only increasingly become plagued with unrealistic expectations for women.

Because of this, Sex and the City has created a whole new generation of young, confident women who aren’t afraid to live their lives unapologetically and free from the shackles of judgment. Carrie Bradshaw is the prime role model for reclaiming your womanhood on your own terms and making as many mistakes as possible because, at the end of the day, who are we without our flaws? 

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Gagni Tiwana

Toronto MU '24

English Major, Book Lover, and a Vintage Fashion Enthusiast at Toronto Metropolitan University The future chief and editor of Vogue (hopefully)