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Why Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City is Actually Toxic AF

Nowadays, discovering Sex and the City is practically a coming of age ritual for teenagers and young adults. I don’t remember when I first started watching the series, but I remember how I found it absolutely captivating and couldn’t get enough. The show stars Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, the single and fabulous “it-girl” with a ridiculously lavish lifestyle working as a columnist in New York City. SATC had me believing during my impressionable teenage years that it was possible for someone with Carrie’s salary as a columnist to afford dining out everyday, attending extravagant parties, shopping sprees at Dolce & Gabbana, and living in a gorgeous rent-controlled Brownstone on the Upper East Side. Despite being completely out of touch with reality, SATC is funny, entertaining, and one of the most iconic shows to date. However, after re-watching the show as a slightly more mature adult, I’ve come to the realization that Carrie Bradshaw, the character I once admired and strived to be one day, is actually a terrible person

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First off, Carrie is a downright bad friend to Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, the three other women who make up the main characters of the series. Though Carrie is the narrator and main character, meaning the show mostly focuses on her and her problems, seeing the way Carrie interacts with her friends and makes everything about her is unbearable at times. For example, while Samantha is dealing with her cancer diagnosis in season 6, all Carrie does is brag about how great her relationship is going instead of comforting her friend. Most of Carrie’s selfish acts seem to be motivated by the ultra toxic romantic relationships she has throughout the series. In season 2, Carrie ditches her dinner plans with Miranda to stay in with Big, the infamous on-again off-again boyfriend she is seeing at the time. It wasn’t until Miranda called Carrie that she learned what her friend had done, and the worst part was that Carrie didn’t seem to understand why Miranda was upset. In a later season while Carrie is dating Aidan, Miranda has a neck injury and Carrie visits her apartment with bagels to cheer her up. However, Miranda quickly figures out that Carrie only came over so she can vent about her relationship troubles, and clearly doesn’t actually care about how Miranda is doing. There are countless other examples of Carrie's selfish behavior, but I want to move on to my other issues with her. 

Secondly, Carrie is surprisingly judgemental and old-fashioned for someone who’s supposed to be a celebrated sex columnist. She tells her friends that she believes bisexuality doesn’t exist after she discovers that the man she was dating at the time had a boyfriend in the past. Then, when her own best friend Samantha starts dating a woman, Carrie is incredibly judgemental. Samantha is known for being the most promiscuous out of the four friends, so this is not the only time her actions are questioned by Carrie. In another episode, Carrie walks in on Samantha in, *ahem,* a compromising situation with a WorldWide Express courier and does not let Samantha hear the end of it, saying something along the lines of “I would never be in that situation” with a super judgey tone. You’d think that as someone who writes about sex and relationships for a living, Carrie would be more, you know, open-minded in the field of sex and relationships.

Speaking of relationships, we can’t forget the worst thing Carrie did: cheating on Aidan with a married Big. It wasn’t that she made the mistake once or twice, Carrie and Big met up in secret several times before Carrie was finally caught by Big’s wife, Natasha, who fell and broke her tooth while chasing Carrie out of her apartment. During the entire affair Carrie definitely felt guilty, but she was more worried about what would happen to herself than how Aidan or Natasha would feel if they found out. She even had the audacity to be upset when Natasha wouldn’t accept her half-assed apology. After the incredibly awkward encounter at a restaurant, Carrie is incredibly distraught by the fact that Natasha did not greet Carrie with a big smile and hug — as if she can’t believe someone whose marriage she’s just ruined could possibly dislike her. 

In defense of Carrie, she is allowed to have flaws as a fictional TV character — after all, nobody's perfect! The issue at hand is that Carrie never seems to learn or grow throughout the series like her friends do. In all 6 seasons and 2 movies, Carrie remains a selfish, immature woman with a victim-complex she refuses to tackle because she doesn't believe in therapy (another red flag). Though some of us might see ourselves in Carrie through both her good and bad qualities, it's undeniable that the real role-models on the show that deserve our love are Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. 

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Stephanie Wasserman

U Mass Amherst '21

Stephanie is a current sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in political science and journalism. She likes to spend her free time hanging out with friends, eating at berk for late night, and watching her favorite Netflix shows (but mostly just the Office). You can follow her on Instagram @slwasserman_
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