Okay. I may get voted off the One City Blog for this one, but that’s a chance I have to take.

There’s been a lot of Sex and the City talk on this blog lately, and I hope you don’t mind if I take the discussion a bit further. I came across this piece a few days ago on Judith Warner’s blog “Domestic Disturbances” on the New York Times and had to share it because I think it’s really well written and if you scroll down to the comments section, there’s some interesting debate. The blog article is aptly titled: “Woman In Charge, Women Who Charge.

Warner’s article is not about the outcome of Clinton’s campaign but “the zeitgeist in which Hillary floundered and Sex is now flourishing.” I think this is a fascinating dialogue to consider. Is there some underlying connection between the media’s depiction of what women should look like and should wear and how they should act, and the country’s general distaste for Hillary Clinton? Warner writes:

“How antithetical Hillary’s earnest, electric blue pants-suited whole being is to the frothy cheer of that film, which has women now turning out in droves, a song in their hearts, unified in popcorn-clutching sisterhood to a degree I haven’t seen since the ugly, angry days of Anita Hill and…the first incarnation of Hillary Clinton.”

Well, yeah, they’re antithetical. One is trying to lead the country and one is a goofy TV show. Case closed? Maybe, maybe not.

My mom loves Sex and the City. My mom is also a self proclaimed feminist. At lunch a few months ago she told me that she was not happy that I was voting for Obama. She was annoyed with me for two reasons:

1) “Hillary is more elect-able if it comes down to her vs. McCain” (Read: you are being too idealistic)

2) “It’s time for a woman president” (Read: you are not a good feminist).

While I thought these reasons were neither solid enough to back up her decision nor worthy of making me suffer through her stories of her old college feminist meetings for the rest of that lunch, I did understand where she was coming from. They’re the same arguments you’ve heard for the past year (Hillary’s got more experience, she’ll stand up to McCain better, she’ll have a tougher skin to withstand the mudslinging, etc). Apparently, my not voting for Hillary was a vote against women.

Warner cites among the recent media atrocities a South Park episode called “Snuke,” which you can find online (legally) at www.Hulu.com. It involves Hillary Clinton having a nuclear weapon hidden in her vagina. As research for this article, I watched the episode. I thought the concept was funny, and my issues with the episode have more to do with the fact that I don’t enjoy the gratuitous violence on South Park, which I admit is a matter of personal taste. Does that mean I’m not a feminist? Or am I a feminist with a (dark) sense of humor?

As a side note, Warner also cites Tucker Carlson’s comment that, “When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” I refuse to believe that a person who is seriously thinking of voting for Hillary Clinton would give any credence to the middle school level insults of an amoeba like Tucker Carlson. Maybe I just put too much faith in people’s intelligence.

Despite how much I tried, I didn’t hate the Sex and the City movie. I swear to God, for all my Buddhist friends, for my feminist mother, for my sixteen-year-old sister growing up in a sexist society, I really really tried to hate that movie. I revved myself up to hate it. I read the New York Times review by Manohla Dargis which completely trashed it. I did quite enjoy this line, though: “It’s that awash in materialism and narcissism, a cloth flower pinned to her dress where cool chicks wear their Obama buttons, this It Girl has become totally Ick.” That was very clever and colorful.

But still. Hate it, I could not. I caught myself giggling in spite of myself, and, I’m sorry to say, oohing and aahing with my friends over the beautiful clothing featured in the film. What can I say? I succumbed to fashion awe by way of peer pressure. I’d love to be able to say that I’m free of all that material stuff, but if someone gave ME a free Louis Vutton bag, you can bet I would use it. Come on. Seriously. Call me a hypocrite or a hungry ghost, but I would venture to say that everyone living in New York City has something material that gets them. Some people treat themselves to a brand new iPhone or MacBook; for some people it’s good food; for others it’s being into music that no one else has ever heard of – everyone’s attached to something. Maybe Sex and the City is just more honest about it than the rest of us.

While I’d like to sympathize with Judith Warner, I really wish people would remember that it’s okay to have a sense of humor that isn’t always sophisticated or productive. I do agree that Sex is not a feminist narrative. Yes, it sometimes makes women look like money-grubbing whores. But I think it’s a damn funny show. It’s entertainment. When did we stop being able to laugh at ourselves? I’m really tired of having to explain why I enjoy this show, and having to almost apologize for liking it. Not everything we put into our bodies and minds is good for us. How was that Corona you had after work? Enjoy your Ben and Jerry’s? Let’s be real here. One beer or one bowl of ice cream isn’t good for us, but it’s not going to kill us, and neither is a little Sex and the City. I think it’s true that everything’s okay in moderation. Is Sex and the City really causing us that much suffering? Is it really a symptom of a misogynist society? I don’t think that Sex and the City is ruining feminism. Turning off Sex and the City isn’t going to turn feminism back on, just as electing a woman president simply because she’s a woman isn’t going to turn feminism back on.

And I can’t say if this is true because I haven’t done enough research, but if a certain friend of mine is right and the most feminist candidate DID win the primary, then doesn’t that show that we’re still able to (maybe at least sort of) function as a society, despite a certain level of mental porn?

Honestly the bigger (haha, get it?) issue to me was how predictable and badly written the film was, but that’s another story.

In true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I will end this post with a question: When it comes to being 21st Century Buddhists, do we have to snub our noses at anything that mildly smells of superficiality, or is being aware of it enough?

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