Sexism and the City

While channel surfing once, a few years ago, I actually clicked on Sex and the City and watched a few minutes.  At that point, I found myself weighing the relative merits of 1.) continuing to watch Sex and the City or 2.) having my body ripped to shreds by rabid wolves.  I turned off the TV and went outside in search of the wovles.

Given that experience, I guess I won't be taking in the new movie, Sex and the City 2.  This review ( does nothing to encourage me to change my mind.  The reviewer seems to think that the movie is every bit as awful as I imagine it is.

But the reason for my bringing this up is that the reviewer is surprisingly frank about anti-male sexism, both in the movie and in his everyday life as a movie reviewer.  He's so frank about it that he actually uses the word "misandry" in his piece.  (My Spellcheck still doesn't recognize the word; neither does my online dictionary.)  It's nice to see a mainstream writer not only notice the obvious misandry in pop culture, but call it that.

Here's what you're missing when you don't see Sex and the City 2:

"In the film Sex and the City 2, heroine Carrie Bradshaw suffers a crippling blow to her ego as she discovers her brand new book - a book about married life and wedding vows - is utterly destroyed by a review in the New Yorker.  Distraught, she turns to her three best friends and over drinks it is decided that the reviewer, a man, simply cannot stand the thought of a powerful, liberated woman.  Problem solved.  No, really.  That's the last we hear of that subplot.  It is actually the first of three subplots (out of five total) that are resolved this way in the new film.  Men are sexist pigs that are the root of all our problems.  Drink up ladies!"

Sound inviting?

So apparently this reviewer trashed the movie and guess what.  Just as in the movie, he's gotten a host of hate mail to the effect that, well, "a man simply cannot stand the thought of powerful, liberated women."  According to this theory, that's what the characters depicted in Sex and the City 2 are - powerful and liberated.  Sure.  You just thought they were astonishingly shallow, self-involved, and uninteresting?  Well, here they are in the movie to tell you just how wonderful they really are, so there's an end to it.  (OK, I haven't seen the film and am basing this on the series, but I think I'm on pretty safe ground here.)

Apparently this is not uncommon in the movie reviewing buisness.  If a male reviewer criticizes a movie meant for women, he's immediately attacked.  It happens often enough that this reviewer has even developed three categories of misandric responses - "The Unqualified Qualifier," "The White Knight," and "It's for Girls so it Deserves a Pass."

The first is summed up as "it's women's entertainment, you're a man, so you just can't know."  Now of course these people are scrupulously non-sexist, so they level the same criticism at women who review "guy" films, right?  Right, and there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

The second is a guy who's so intent on being non-sexist that he takes it upon himself to attack the reviewer because, you know, the ladies can't do it for themselves.  He's a guy who's spent so much time in "Womens Studies" classes that apple-polishing has become second nature to him.  He has no idea of his own sexism.

The third is the most remarkable.  The theory is actually - yes the film is inane, but it's aimed at women, so regardless of how artistically bad it is, it gets a pass.  "The underlying critique is that as this is made for women and women like this stupid stuff, they should be allowed to have it.  This opinion often comes from other critics who, despite seeing the inherent flaws in a film, feel that since the audience will like it any way, they will rate the film higher.  This is insulting to the audience as a whole, assuming that they won't know better."

This is the world we live in.

I think I hear the wolves closing in.  Thank goodness!

Uploaded 06/05/2010
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Tags: sexism wolves