Sex and the City’s latest reboot has been maligned for a number of reasons, but Jo Cribb argues that at its core, the series sends a powerful message about women relentlessly backing each other and succeeding because of it.
Opinion: A confession.
I watched Sex and the City back in the day and have seen every episode so far of the 2020s reboot And Just Like That.
I am even a fan. There I said it.
When Sex and the City aired in the early 2000s, I was newly married, with an eye-wateringly large mortgage and knee-deep in nappies.
It wasn’t snazzy New York bars keeping me up in the middle of the night, it was breastfeeding.
Each episode was an exercise in escapism and aspiration. Cocktails and stilettos. Glamorous women friends sashaying together through life in a way that I could only dream of.
I can remember, though, grimacing at the lack of diversity on screen and the excessive consumerism.
As I meet them again, one of my babies is about to head to university and my hair is proudly grey. (Still no stilettos alas; I like to keep my big flat feet close to the footpath for safety reasons.)
And for the Sex and the City ladies, it’s a gammy hip, a heart attack, and parenting teens.
And Just Like That is far from perfect. In episodes one to three, they bumble their way through pronouns, gender fluidity and women of colour in leadership positions. I can’t believe these clever and connected women living in one of the most diverse world cities would be so naive.
I can also picture a group of executives brainstorming “issues for ageing, affluent white women” and each episode clunkily works through that list.
But there are some meaty topics they missed off: managing the symptoms of peri menopause, discrimination against older women in the workplace, racism, environmental issues, the gender pay gap at retirement, and women’s financial position post-divorce to name a few.
Yet I have watched every episode.
Why? Because the strength of the first series remains core to the second: a group of women actively supporting each other and celebrating each other’s success.
So often women are pitted against each other. So often storylines have women competing against each other.
The Sex and the City ladies break this trope. Maybe this is why the series is maligned. It hints at the power of the sisterhood.
Maybe this is why some of us who watch the series do so in secret. And this column feels like a confession. I feel the need to justify why I enjoy their escapades in unsensible shoes.
It’s because they back each other relentlessly. And succeed because of it.
Should there be another series? Yes, it could be naff, pushing my nostalgia too far.
But it could also be an opportunity to canvass the often-invisible issues facing older women, positively showcasing ageing women in all their wrinkled beauty, and to ogle more of Carrie’s ensembles.
Now that would keep me glued.