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Tari Ngangura June 5, To be fair, this perspective on Sex and the City is all in hindsight and also came with age. I liked Sex and the City when I was younger. I might have even loved it. These women offered me a fun and dreamy escape from my dreary reality of puberty, growing pains and unrequited school yard love affairs. But after all this time, that love has now turned to loathing. In her piece for Refinery29writer Hunter Harris described having a similar revelation. It is what it is. I rewatched the series from beginning to end when I was in my late teens and that was when I fully realized my unease at its whiteness, how it accessorized queer characters and also represented women.
The leading ladies of the show were created by author Candace Bushnell, but the characters were brought to life by show creator Darren Star and director Michael Patrick King. As a result of this male lens, there were certain instances where the women spoke and teenage me thought, wait, that is not how women talk. That is how men think women talk. And, the conversation was between four wealthy, able-bodied white women who used white models as the marker of beauty, so it failed to capture the racial intersections of desirability and what body image looks like for Black women who are hypersexualized and fetishized, while simultaneously being erased.
What is dating like for Black women in New York who are not supermodels? Whose hair is not pin straight or perfectly wavy and whose bank s reflect the fact that they earn 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes? White women earn 79 cents. That would be like expecting Joan Collins to write a titillating novel on Black women and relationships. Intentional or not, there is a certain arrogance in assuming that one group of women experience problems that reflect the Woman seeking sex Parker of their gender without paying attention to race, sexuality and socio-economic status.
As a Black woman, I am frustrated by the omission and as a writer I mourn the missed opportunity to capture vivid and layered experiences of non-white womanhood. Adeena had a problem with Samantha dating her brother because she was white and by vocalizing her discomfort, Sex and the City made her out to be a raging segregationist. Thinking back on this episode, Brown says this was just an example of a larger issue with the series. For me, this episode was 30 minutes of cringing, head shakes and kissing teeth look it up, white people.
I exhaled after it was over and I inhale sharply every time I see this rerun on TV because it reminds me of how the few Black characters featured in the series were Woman seeking sex Parker to nothing more than stereotypes, devoid of legitimate storylines and lacking any semblance of reality.
Overall, the four characters of Sex and the City left a lot to be desired. Samantha and Carrie offered the feminism peddled in mainstream media: superficial, myopic and white. My girls and I always said Miranda was the least likely to call the police on an unsuspecting, innocent Black person. In fact, she would probably try to learn as much as she could about affirmative action and regularly drop quotes from James Baldwin and Martin Luther King in casual conversation with Black people.
Charlotte on the other hand would definitely call the police, the Air Marshals and probably the Governor on a Black person waiting for the bus outside her gallery.
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Yes, ‘Sex and the City’ was unrealistic and too white. But it leveled the playing field in a man-dominated world