Why Carrie Bashing Is Considered Cool

This weekend sees the release of Sex and the City 2, the second feature film based on the smash HBO TV series.


Just a couple of years ago, Sex and the City opened to record numbers for a female fronted comedy, powered by hordes of mostly female fans for whom the TV show was a veritable lifestyle guide. The big box office numbers took many male journalists by surprise – prompting countless astonished headlines – as if the idea of women going out to see a movie on their own was somehow a new phenomenon.


Well now two years later the sequel is upon us. But this time the guys are waiting – ready to sneer, put down and patronize Sex – and its mostly female fans.


First there’s the reviews – currently 17% on Rotten Tomatoes – that’s barely better than the dreary Elm Street remake, less than the J. Lo stinker The Back Up Plan and equal to The Tooth Fairy. Really? Sex and the City is on a par with The Rock wearing fairy wings? Come again…

Then there’s the magazine and newspaper coverage. The Daily Beast asked if it was possible for a straight man to enjoy Sex and the City (I don’t know who this insults more – women, straight men or the gays?). Time Out New York leads with ‘How Bad Is It?’ on its front cover. And almost every review I’ve read has commented on how old the women in the film look – and how unflattering the photography is. The sexism and condescension just ooze of the page.


Now I’ll say in advance I haven’t seen Sex and the City 2 yet. It could absolutely be a dreadful film. But if it was I’d be surprised. The first movie was terrific in my opinion and the series barely put a foot wrong. Can the sequel, from the same director and writers, really be that bad?



Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of bad romantic comedies – and most of them are pretty terrible. Films like When In Rome, Leap Year and 27 Dresses with their desperate single girls and wedding obsessed plotlines are just hideous – and never funny. Honestly – if you found 27 Dresses hilarious you seriously don’t watch enough movies. But Sex and the City is a different beast – the writing is sharp, the women are strong and interesting – and it’s funny. Really, really funny at times.


But for some reason a lot of straight men feel incredibly threatened by the whole Sex and the City phenomenon – and just love to attack it. And subconsciously or consciously, I think much of the franchise’s criticisms come from a pretty sexist place.


Why the need to attack the age of the cast – when the likes of Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis are allowed to anchor action movies and always get the girl (seriously almost every Sex review I’ve read has mentioned the cast’s ages or looks or the menopause!).


Guys love to make fun of the ‘superficiality’ of the Sex and the City fashions – but how is this more shallow than another slow-mo fight sequence or endless CGI explosions? Fashion porn and fight porn – are they really that different?


When the Sex and the City girls talk dirty it’s crude and desperate – yet when characters in a Judd Apatow movie do it – it’s refreshing and frank.


And why are movies featured male camaraderie often acclaimed (The Hangover, The Wedding Crashers, Role Models, I Love You, Man) but a female fronted movie is almost always dismissed as a ‘chick flick’ (how much do I hate that term!) Seriously I lost count of how many people I know who went crazy for The Hangover last year – a film I found to be distinctly average, overlong and hugely obvious (I mean hangovers as a comedy device – is this the 80’s or something?)


But what do you think? Am I missing the point here? Are the critics spot on and their comments fair? Or do you think there’s a strong male agenda at work here that hates anything with a predominantly female fan-base… I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Latest update:  Read new article : Sexism and the City 2 – Part 2