Political Incorrectness and the City: Things SATC Could Not Get Away With in 2019

If you know me, then you probably know that Sex and the City is one of my all-time favorite television shows. What's not to love - the fashion, the allure of New York City, and all of the engaging storylines. While the show is applauded for its outlook on relationships and the roles of women, there were many parts of the show that were rather unprogressive and extremely cringe-worthy. While rewatching the show in 2019, I picked a few problematic instances from the show. I couldn't help but wonder: why is SATC so problematic at times?

1. Bunny

Bunny was the WORST. From the very first scene that we were introduced to Bunny, I could already detect that she was extremely pretentious and controlling. But what really grinded my gears was when Bunny insisted Charlotte that she could not adopt a child from China in Season 4. Not only was her comment racist and demonstrated her support of white supremacy, but it was also rude of Bunny to assume that she had any control over Charlotte's choices and actions.

 

2. The Servant Plotline

In the Season 2 Episode titled "The Caste System," Samantha dates a man who has a "servant" from Asia. Orientalism had a huge role in this episode, as the servant's character was completely based off of stereotypes and valued for her "exotic" culture. I found this episode extremely disgusting, as it featured a white man who festishized an Asian woman who was forced to perform many duties for a white man of a higher class.

3. Negative Stereotypes of African Americans

Speaking of fetishizing, Samantha dates a black man in Season 3 who she fetishizes for the color of his skin. And right when this episode could not get more awful, Samantha breaks into a fight with his sister because she disapproves of their relationship. While the sister may have had good intentions with her interference, the episode plays off of stereotypes of the angry black woman and portrays one of the few people of color on the series as a villain.

4. Treatment of the LGBTQ+ Community

Even though Sex and the City was deemed sex-positive, it was extremely narrow-minded when it came to terms of sexuality. The show, whose main characters were heterosexual and cisgender, barely failed to incorporate LGBTQ+ characters into the show. Carrie ultimatley reflects off of the show's dismissal attitudes towards LGBTQ+ identities when she fails to acknowledge bisexuality as a valid sexuality. In addition, the few gay, lesbian, and transexual characters included in the TV shows often reflect off of negative stereotypes; Stanford is girly, the "power lesbians" were mean, and Samantha's transexual neighbors were loud and obnoxious.

 

5. Carrie (and her relationship with Big)

Carrie was by far the worst of the main four women. Selfish, needy, and immature, Carrie always put herself before her friends just to go back to Big and end up hurt once again. Consistently throughout the show, she spent money irresponsibly, slut-shamed Samantha, and failed to acknowledge how Big emotionally abused her. While she was a successful writer, her sole aspiration in life was to find a romantic counterpart, even if that counterpart brought out the worst in her and completely mistreated her.

With all that being said, Sex and the City has had its fair share of unwatchable moments. However, just because the show may fail to be politically correct in some episodes, it does not mean that we should dismiss it altogether. After-all, it is inspiring to see ambitious women (shoutout Miranda and Samantha) who will stop at no costs to get what they want in life, work, and relationships. While we are still able to watch and enjoy Sex and the City, we must be conscious viewers and recognize its flaws.