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Thesis year—the final hurrah. Not since Year 13 has there been the feeling of being the respected senior around campus. So many perks—your own cute little desk, no timetable, no lectures, no exams. A year to really hone your interests, to study largely for yourself, about something you truly care about. Or so they say. I have no idea because I have been using the new-found freedom to stay at home and watch TV, another noble postgraduate pursuit. And so, last week, while my classmates were bashfully flirting with journal articles, I brazenly decided to lose my Sex and the City virginity.
A late bloomer, I had long been adverse to the show. Partially because of embarrassing internalised misogyny as a teen (I’m not like other girls!! Pink, gross!!), and partially because I am fake deep and pretend my favourite shows and movies are entry-level art-house creations. But as a wise old thesis student I am now above all that—so at 23, I found myself watching my very first episode of Sex and the City. Then the second, the third, the ninety fourth, the movie. I was completely hooked. I also finally understood a lifetime of character references. These four women were defining personalities long before I’d even heard of Myers-Briggs. Although no one in this city will have sex with me, it is fun to pretend I am just like Carrie while writing this column in a soft-lit apartment I live alone in (and Salient is basically the New York Observer). To be accurate however, I’m a Miranda dealing with an inner struggle between a Charlotte and a Samantha. So now you know.
But what makes 90s-00s media about rich white women who are obsessed with men just so alluring? I am aware of the ‘superficialness’ and that there are real people with ‘real problems’ who would happily have the lives of the unsatisfied characters, yet I can’t help but love consuming episode after episode. Perhaps it’s their milieu of second wave feminism that makes them feel dynamic, perhaps it’s simply the clothes, perhaps it’s the lifestyles different enough to my own to consume as escapism. Or, perhaps in my most recent previous life I was one of these rich white women, who died waiting for a call from an investment banker in my lonely but beautiful brownstone apartment.
Penises and parties aside, lies something universally relatable—the special bond found in all strong female friendships. Above all, this is what the show celebrates. It’s a quality that isn’t celebrated enough in media even today, as the Bechdel test and Broad City remind us. The fact that Sex and the City spawned six seasons and two movies is a beautiful testament to how audiences connect to this theme. And as I had my own Charlotte and Miranda over to gleefully watch the movie with me, it was clear: Sex and the City is really Friendship and the City.