As tensions between the franchise’s leading ladies Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker run deep, SATC’s main character, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Parker, is well overdue for an inspection.
For years I thought being the ‘Carrie’ of my friendship group was a positive and only upon re-watching the series recently did I find myself horrified to discover that Carrie is womankind’s worst nightmare. Here’s why.
Irresponsibility and blame
Carrie is unable to take responsibility for her feelings and for her life, because her problems usually boil down to Big (Chris Noth) being ‘unattainable’, Aidan (John Corbett) being ‘too good for her’, Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov) being ‘too serious’ and her friends being ‘too judgemental’ and ‘critical’. She also has a tendency to dehumanise the men she’s involved with through calling them names like ‘Mr Big’, ‘The Russian’ and, loosely, ‘Twenty-Something-Guys’.
In season four, she seeks help from Big when she’s faced with the prospect of having to move out of her apartment and he hands over a cheque, which she refuses, not wanting to ‘rely on a man’. She’s more comfortable guilting a friend like Park Avenue-based Charlotte (Kristin Davis), who gives Carrie an engagement ring from her failed marriage to Trey (Kyle MacLachlan) to get out of her financial hole. Charlotte’s gone through a process of grieving and moving on, unlike her bestie, who returns to her exes for help, sex, advice and money — only to refuse it — and to somehow still end up in a relationship with them again down the track.
Lying and cheating
Carrie lies to herself, to her friends and to her lovers. In season two, she starts sleeping with Big again — the man that is her ‘kryptonite’ — and hides it from her gal pals. Then, in season three, she has an affair with him while in a relationship with Aidan, and while Big is married to Natasha (Bridget Moynahan), who Carrie disparages as “the stick figure with no soul”.
Carrie is so scared of being alone that she cannot say no, and she’s so scared of commitment that she cannot say yes.
In season four, she convinces Aidan to return to her despite the destruction she has caused, and goes on to accept his wedding proposal, insisting that “when a man gets down on one knee in the street” one must say yes. Suffice to say, no Manolos are seen walking down the aisle at any point.
Damsel in distress
Carrie wants to be saved, and she constantly gives her power away because she is unable to differentiate between her needs and the needs of others. The most triumphant act of self-love that we witness from her is in season two when she — a smoking, drinking, shoe-shopping addict — goes for a wine by herself. Then there’s the time in season five when she decides to go on a ‘date’ with her city and ends up miserable, hitting on a stranger, and wanting to have sex with Big again.
During season one, Carrie wants Big to ‘stand still’ with her and refuses to see the non-verbal ways in which he does, in fact, ‘stand still’ with her. I’m autistic and I can see that Big isn’t keen on sharing his feelings verbally, and he certainly isn’t one to be forced into saying that he loves a woman when she demands it on the footsteps of her brownstone moments prior to going on a trip together.
Big doesn’t give Carrie the satisfaction of the magic words, and she breaks up with him, before assuming throughout season two that he’s moved on quickly and easily because everything is quicker and easier for everyone else.
Carrie makes fun of sexual exploration and intimacy because she’s threatened by it. When the girls go to a tantric sex workshop in season two, she snickers like a bullying schoolgirl from the sidelines and during the same season, she dates a man who has been with a man before and is frightened about whether or not he’s checking out other men.
Carrie is uncomfortable with the ‘romance’ of Petrovsky throughout seasons five and six, and when she walks in on Samantha (Kim Cattrall) performing a sex act on a postman in season five, Carrie belittles her, emphasising that it’s something that she herself ‘would never do.’
And lest we forget in season one, when Carrie becomes convinced that farting in front of Mr Big must have been the reason he hadn’t initiated sex in three days.
Now, one would think a sex columnist could comprehend that when it comes to matters of love and intimacy a fart is rarely the problem. Rather, it’s how intimate and loving we can be with ourselves. And, unfortunately for Carrie, she’s neither loving nor intimate with herself or anyone else, at all.