Every text has its problems. We all know that. The series Sex and the City, for example, had plenty of problematic moments. When Carrie went out with that guy who identified as “bi,” and one of the girls decided that she didn’t care if someone were gay or straight but that a person should pick between those two options. Or, remember when Carrie’s friend who hooks her up with all the cashmere goodies goes back to her abusive husband? Most of the show is made of of the girls’ talking about, thinking about, or having sex with men and not thinking about themselves or their careers or volunteering or world politics–as Miranda, herself laments in one episode.

I still love it, though. And, on a whole, I think that the series had a lot of positive, progressive moments. This is certainly true if one is looking at the series from a sort of Second-Wave feminist point of view, although it is probably less so if one is looking at the series through a different feminist lens or a queer lens. (The show ignores quite a few class-based or race-based issues, a commonly cited problem of the so-called Second Wave. Where are the non-white characters? Isn’t it handy how the series completely glosses over the absolute financial impossibility of Carrie’s wardrobe?) Y’all should definitely check out blogger Elisa Kreisinger’s QueerCarrie Project.

Anyway, I think that one of the successes of the show was that it did not pathologize the sexuality of its main characters, especially Sam. Janice Irvine opens the seventh chapter of her book Disorders of Desire by bringing up another example of how a piece of pop culture–Cosmo magazine–did actually suggest that women who liked sex too much or had too much sex were wrong or even diseased.The women of Sex and the City slept with dozens of men over the course of the show. And, this was treated as completely normal, even celebrated, throughout the series. In fact, I think that the show made women feel more comfortable discussing their own sexuality–at the very least with friends. Although the show does not manage to discuss some Third-Wave or queer issues, it does encourage an openness toward sexuality. Perhaps it does have an indirect power to motivate discussion of such issues.

Thanks for reading!

Lynn Beavin