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27 May 2010, 4:38 pm 6 Comments

The Indie Rock Fag: Sex and The Shitty

This post was submitted by Zack Rosen

Carrie Bradshaw, or Number 6? You be the judge.

It’s May 28th, 2010, and once again the grim spectre of Sex and The City has botoxed its way into the national queer consciousness, whether we want it to or not. Actually, queer is not the right word. Sex and The City 2, which comes out  today, is squarely associated with two sexual demographics: Straight women and gay men. If there is a trans or lesbian blog out there that thinks ill enough of its readers to cover this movie extensively, I’ve yet to see it.

Gay male publications, by and large, do not extend such a courtesy. Queerty, ( which I’ve come to respect for its widening breadth of coverage)  opened an article on the gray ladies with the following line:

You will go see Sex and the City 2 because that is what homosexuals… will do.

Granted, that article was titled “5 Reasons Not to See Sex and the City 2 (That You’ll Totally Ignore and See the Movie Anyhow), ” but still. You wouldn’t put up an article about why not to do something unless you assumed we were already going to do it. And assumptions about my relationship to SATC make me about as angry as being called fabulous.

It’s not that I didn’t watch the show, or didn’t enjoy it. I think the first couple seasons do about as good a job at capturing modern dating as anything else out there. My objection is that the show is just as much about a certain lifestyle as it is about anyone’s personal travails. We’ve all gone on bad dates or slept with someone who never called us again. We do not all, however, live in a New York City haze of money and extreme fashion. We do not all act as if women and gay men are half-formed creatures that will die flopping on the floor if they cannot find a mate. And most importantly, we do not all subscribe to the notion that the life lived by the SATC gals is a mirror image of that undergone by the contemporary urban gay male.

Though The Simpsons have even made jokes about this, my first exposure to the “SATC girls = veiled gay men” theory came from my parents. More specifically, it came about fifteen hours after I had came out to my two best college friends, both straight men, in a humid St. Louis backyard. We all woke up the next morning, had breakfast, and then one said friend and I drove back to Chicago so he could crash the night at my house before heading back to Pittsburgh. (This friend really liked to drive.) We were sipping gin and tonics with my parents, feeling very grown up, when somehow the topic shifted to Miranda et al. My dad said something along the lines of “I read a fascinating article about how SATC is actually about gay men. The drinking, the promiscuity, the brunches. The show’s writer is gay, so he just flipped the genders.”

I was horrified. It was awkward enough that my friend and I had to nod our way through this as though there were no gay men at the table. But the fact that my father could so assuredly speak about gay men through the lens of SATC was shocking. I hadn’t realized these stereotypes had existed before that moment, and I certainly didn’t think anyone could draw comparisons between straight women and gay men. We are two very different beasts, and neither that I know and want to spend time with live lives resembling SATC.

This is to say nothing about the fact that this movie — which I have gathered the entire plot of from its trailer, never a good sign— features a gay wedding between two men who hate each other, love an all-white color pallette and hired Liza Minelli to sing “Single Ladies.” I’ve hosted orgies that were less stereotypically gay than that. Guys getting fisted through their mini-skirts would balk at the overtly simplified gayness of a scene like that.

This is to say nothing of the fact that the movie still revolves around clothes, male-dependency and an aversion to graceful, natural aging. Straight men are caricatured in Entourage, which is widely understood to be a stupid fantasy. I doubt Maxim would ever throw Vinny Chase on its cover and demand that all the bros go see it.  Yet SATC is still, somehow, the gold standard for excess and neediness in the lives of straight women and gay men. And the sooner it dies, the happier I will be.


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6 Comments »

  • DL said:

    Besides, if you’re going to have an ensemble comedy about straight women where all the women also fit stereotypes gay men have of themselves, you might as well watch “The Golden Girls” or “Designing Women.” Better written, and none of the feeling like you need a man at all times to feel whole.

    Not to mention, Bea Arthur and Dixie Carter could still wipe the floor with SJP in an acting contest. Or a catfight. Even though they’re both dead.

  • Joseph T said:

    I highly suggest the review of the movie posted on The Stranger from Seattle-http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/burkas-and-birkins/Content?oid=4132715

    I think it highlights some major issues with this film.

  • Todd said:

    Zack,

    Bravo. A splendid rant. It’s so hard to keep this kind of righteous (and rightful) indignation from flying off the rails – I’m maybe even a little jealous of your contained, intelligent vitriol.

    Well done,
    Todd D.

  • Joseph Wheeler said:

    “We do not all act as if women and gay men are half-formed creatures that will die flopping on the floor if they cannot find a mate.”

    You’re a great writer for such a hot guy.

  • zack (author) said:

    now I’m blushing!

  • reo said:

    to the critics on the naysayer bandwagon express, this film is rife with social, cultural satire and really is lampooning everything including itself. it’s a shame you missed the point and had to go for the easy way out. how could you not laugh the whole way through this film, both at it and with it? it’s a fucking riot.

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