Friday, May 28, 2010

#Retrospective: How Carrie and the Girls Influenced Our Generation

…BY “our generation,” I mean those my age, who were about 10 years old when Sex and the City came out, and therefore too young to know the true value of what it was to be an everyday Manhattan playgirl; and who are now about to leave college and enter the real world, which may or may not be as glamorous — or as Manolo-heeled, natch– as that of Carrie’s. Still, there is something to be said about Sex and the City‘s influence on our generation, which is to say that it is, indeed, prevalent — whether we’d like it or not.  
Take, for example, the rise of television shows depicting a Fashion-Conscious Young Woman Out in the Big City, Trying to Catch Their Own Mr. Big — shows like The Hills and The City. And let’s not forget those original scandalous Manhattanites, Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl, whose exploits in Cecily von Zeigesar’s original teen book series had been dubbed as “Sex and the City for the younger generation.” And what about fashion? It’s no surprise to anyone that Carrie Bradshaw has been a long-standing Fashion Icon, thanks to Patricia Field’s quirky vision (and the “Carrie” nameplate and Louboutins)!  
I suppose it’s not enough to just merely list the show’s pop culture — and societal, for that matter — impact. To see how the Fab Four helped influence people like me, one must speak from one’s own experiences. With that said, here’s mine, from one fashionista blogger, to the next.
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As previously mentioned, I was too young to have watched Sex and the City when it first premiered on HBO in 1998, a channel we didn’t have access to at home, anyway. It wasn’t until the show started airing syndicated re-runs on TBS that I got my first view of Carrie and the girls’ world. I’d read about them, of course, and heard of the original Candance Bushnell novel, upon which the series had been based. But I never got the full scope of how this show had become so insanely popular with women, other than the fact that much of what was going on concerned sex (at least, this is the way my fifteen year-old self saw it), until I saw a couple of episodes.  
What initially intrigued me about the show was the fact that Carrie was a writer. While she wasn’t the author of the next Great American Novel — she wrote a column about her many relationships, after all — she conveyed an honesty and fearless willingness to share. As someone of the Facebook/MySpace generation, who’d been blogging since high school (right around the time I discovered SATC), I find it fascinating now that the show was so ahead of its time in terms of trends such as blogging. Nowadays, with the advent of blogging domains such as WordPress and Blogger, anyone computer-savvy can call themselves the Next Carrie Bradshaw — including, ahem, me…but let’s not go there, shall we?  
(Though, if you want my opinion, Gala Darling is the closest we have to a modern-day Carrie right now.)
Pretty soon, I myself was hooked. I started to see that it wasn’t just about sex; it was about…well, a girl trying to find herself in the Big, Bad City. And as trite and cliche as that sounds, there was something equally captivating and endearing about Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones and Charlotte York’s experiences with men. The show took us from the most mundane dates, to the most comical — to even the weird. And still, we watched. And furthermore, we listened. Much of what made SATC was the unabashedly honest girl talk, which may make many (how’s that for alliteration?) brush it off as a frivolous excuse for a premise.

SATC’s girl talk, for me, is something that I’m forever grateful for, as someone who comes from a family where we don’t talk much about such things, at least where Mother and Daughter are concerned. This, in effect, made the Fab Four, somewhat like friends I can turn to, as weird as that sounds. The amazing thing about this show was that anyone could identify with any of the girls, sometimes, even all of them. Moreover, we’ve seen them through the thickest and thinnest of times: Carrie’s breakup(s) with Mr. Big; Miranda and Steve having Brady; Samantha falling in love with Smith as she also battled cancer; and Charlotte finally marrying and adopting.


Furthermore, as demonstrated by the successful first film in the franchise, the show has become so much more than a worldwide phenom, as it sent out messages of forgiveness and, as Gala would put it…radical self-love. Love yourself and your friends as you are, with or without a boyfriend. Dress yourself in love, not in Prada (though the latter never hurts once in a while). The first film reminded us of the age-old adage of “Boys may come and go, but friends are forever,” and with the opening of its sequel, let’s hope we are once again reminded.


While I have my own reservations about a sequel, I also know that SJP would not have done another SATC project without a good script, so I’m going to take the girls’ lead and have a little faith, as the characters have for one another.


Here’s to another year of getting Carrie’d away!

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