IIt’s been a while since I saw “SATC” – aka Sex and the City – trends on social media. But the news that every episode of the era-defining HBO series is streaming on Netflix in the US this month has put Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha firmly back in the media spotlight.

“How exciting it is for a young person to discover Sex and the City for the first time,” tweeted a fan. “The glamorous journey they are about to embark on and that many of us have already been on. And I mean, look at me now (crazy, completely out of reach, blinded by the idea of ​​love, beautiful coats).

That said, my Twitter feed wasn't exactly full of millennial women brimming with nostalgia for our version of the Fab Four, but rather former viewers wondering how the next generation would respond to the show more, say, problematic elements. I couldn't help but wonder – what will Gen Z think of our beloved New York quartet?

Of course, like anything made over 25 years ago (SATC first aired in 1998, making me feel older than time itself), many of the prevailing sentiments don't fit well with today's culture. The general idea that being sexually liberated is the same as sleeping with pretty much everyone you date, for example. But there are specific cases that feel more tangibly uncomfortable upon rewatch.

There's the episode where Samantha deals with “reverse racism” when dating a black man. The time Carrie dates a bisexual guy and insinuates that it's not a real sexual orientation. The one where women awkwardly grapple with class divides while getting pedicures. The musician Carrie breaks up with because she has ADHD. The tone-deaf plot where Samantha has an altercation with her “friendly pre-op transsexual prostitutes in the neighborhood. Half man, half woman, totally annoying.” Ufa.

And there are times that I almost forgot – Twitter was there to remind me – when Carrie uses a “blaccent”, or fake “ghetto” voice, during some of the (very few) encounters the all-white group has with the ethnic minorities. . This made me do the physical equivalent of the grimace emoji. This was it really considered OK at the time? Were we all… okay with that?

If you were a white woman in the 90s, the answer is clearly yes. I was fine with absolutely everything those women did and stood for. I wanted to not only be them, but also climb up onto the television screen and enter Manhattan's Technicolor world of wealth, sophistication, and thinness; from designer clothes, $500 shoes, cosmos, fabulous brunches and new bar openings.

And, above all, a world of men. I was at university when I discovered this brilliant slice of New York life – I even owned the iconic pink “shoebox” collection that included every season on DVD. Although boys consumed my waking thoughts, my success rate with the opposite sex left a lot to be desired.

But Carrie and her team faced no such obstacles. In each episode, they would be dating someone new. In every scene, they effortlessly found an eligible man: while sitting in the park, going to the gym, browsing books, attending a Weight Watchers meeting, giving witness statements after a robbery… in fact, it seemed impossible to leave the house without get a date with a handsome stranger, with whom they would inevitably end up having sex.

Even Miranda, incredibly intelligent and normal-looking—and I was clearly “a Miranda” back in the day when every woman could be categorized as one of the show's four main characters—had sex regularly. Take me to that world! I thought. Maybe, just maybe, if I could move to a city after graduating, I would also miraculously lose 20 pounds, have a wardrobe not quite filled by Primark, and get caught out while casually buying tampons from Boots.

Of course, I was sold a lie. After all, it is a TV show. I rented a room in a shared house in Lewisham and quickly realized that jobs that consisted of writing a weekly column and getting paid enough to cover cocktails, Louboutins and dining out six nights out of seven were not only rare, but completely fictional. (Just ask any journalist about Carrie’s infamous “$4 a word” for Vogue show and watch them explode with furious envy.)

However, I can't really hold a grudge. This was also the show that pioneered many radical concepts that we had never been exposed to on screen before. Women who were financially and emotionally independent. Women who focused on building successful careers and who were professionally proud of what they did. Women with enough power to have sex with whoever they wanted, when they wanted, without shame, judgment or regret – who felt desire in the same way as men and weren't afraid to ask for what they wanted.

It may seem a little dated now – and I think we've all come to a consensus that Carrie Bradshaw is literally the worst – but at the time it seemed edgy and subversive, a breath of fresh air amid the sexist culture of men's magazines that still caricatured women as toys defined only by their “hotness”.

Cynthia Nixon and Sara Ramirez in 'And Just Like That'

(Sky)

Like this Friends has had a bit of a reckoning as the next generation discovered their more questionable traits intertwined among the glitter — fatphobia, transphobia, sexism — then SATCThe less PC moments can't be ignored. Both shows were made in a different time, at a time when offensive stereotypes often went unnoticed to facilitate a cheap joke. But just like Friends, SATC It's much more than its worst parts. It's also funny and moving—Samantha's cancer story alone makes it worth her time—and visually gorgeous, a love letter to fashion as much as it is to New York City.

For all the flippant comments made about “snowflake” Gen Z and “woke” culture, it is ignorant to suggest that the next generation will be unable to appreciate art in its own specific context – while also correctly calling out the language and scenes that no longer feel fit for purpose.

And maybe it's best to enjoy the show as it was. After all, attempts to revise its less palatable ideological quirks through the reboot Is that so generally fell flat, with critics criticizing the diversity checkboxes that felt more clunky and complicated than a genuine reflection of modern life.

With the other SATC Stan put it on Twitter: “I was on air from 1998 to 2004. They were different times. We know this. Just watch, enjoy some laughs and fashions.”

And just like that, I decided that a complete rewatch was necessary.



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