Thursday, May 15, 2008

Girls [sic] on film


I know it’s not being released for another 10 days or so, but – in the opposite of my usual procrastination - why not get in early? Yes, it’s my very own Sex and the City post. While I fully realise that not everyone has to have one, urban women all over the world (probably) will be writing about it because they related to the TV series and, now, the film. It certainly speaks to me and, yes, there’s even a bi angle!

I wasn’t an “early adopter”. When I first saw an episode of SATC, I felt completely alienated by the fact that all they did was talk about men. But soon (very soon) I began to appreciate their escapades and their relationships. There was something actually believable about the characters… and although they seem to have preposterous amounts of money (I have met the owner of a PR agency, a media lawyer, and many journalists, none of whom were anything like SATC wealthy) I could relate to them.

Yes, I did like looking at the clothes. Even when the SATC gang were wearing preposterous nonsense, it was still interesting. And yes, why I ended up liking it after all was the reason that other female commentators have said: it foregrounded female characters (still unusual); talked about sexuality in an unprecedently open and truthful way; and presented friendship between women as the most important and stable thing in their lives (although where such busy women got the time to meet so often, God knows).

Bisex in the city
In SATC – the TV series - bisexuality in some shape or form appeared quite a lot, if ambivalently. As an aide-memoire to anyone else who watched it:
In one episode Samantha is asked by a gay male couple if she will have sex with them and she agrees. However, half-way through sex they chicken out, disgusted.
Across another few episodes, Samantha - the most sexually adventurous character - actually has a relationship with a woman, but it ends after she puts her back out using an inadequately harnessed dildo. (I mean really, anyone looking at that dildo could tell it wouldn’t work properly!)
Carrie meets some younger people - including a character played by Alanis Morissette - who actually identify as bi, but backs off from dating a bi man.
Then there is the very ambivalent - in many senses - episode where camp cabaret singer Bobby Fine marries Betsy von Mufling. The SATC quartet presume he’s totally gay, so why are the two marrying each other? At the end of the episode, Bobby tells Carrie that he really does love Betsy while the melancholic song “Is that all there is” plays in the background. But in a subsequent episode, a heavily pregnant, extremely happy Betsy turns up, her husband seemingly as camp as ever as he wants to name their daughter Barbra or Judy.
Who knows whether there is any bisex in this film (I would hazard a guess as to not), or indeed whether it will be terrific or a pile of poo.

Cynthia Nixon


Then of course there’s a real-life bisexual storyline, the I’d-count-as-bisexual Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbs in SATC) who is now several years into a relationship with a woman she plans to marry.

This is the first, and I fully expect the last, time I have ever used that right-wing rag The Daily Mail on this blog, but credit where it’s due I suppose. There’s a long article about her and her gf Christine Marinoni here, and even the comments are nice!
They quote her as saying:

“In terms of my sexual orientation, I don't really feel that I changed," she says. "I don't feel any different than I did before. I don't feel like there was some hidden part of myself that I wasn't aware of.
"I had been with men all my life and I had never met a woman I had fallen in love with before. But when I did it didn't seem so strange.
"I don't define myself. I'm just a woman in love with another woman."

Aaah!

5 comments:

Stella Polari said...

Hi Sue,
An excellent post on SATC, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and love your site.

Sue George said...

Why, thank you!

Anne said...

Sue, I'm reading through your site. It's fresh air. If it's ok with you, I think I'll stick around.

BY MINKMAMA said...

My only problem with Sex in the City's coverage of bisexuality was the referral to it being something along the lines of "a pit stop on the road to gay" - and if memory serves (and it may not!) Carrie couldn't take her bisexual boyfriend seriously. It needled me then and still a little now - but maybe that's just because what so many people assume. I still love the show though!

Anonymous said...

“In terms of my sexual orientation, I don't really feel that I changed," she says. "I don't feel any different than I did before. I don't feel like there was some hidden part of myself that I wasn't aware of.
"I had been with men all my life and I had never met a woman I had fallen in love with before. But when I did it didn't seem so strange.
"I don't define myself. I'm just a woman in love with another woman."

Thank you for spotlighting this quote. So simple, so true, so perfect.

To find oneself falling in love with a woman for the first time - it's wonderful, amazing, and all the things it feels to fall in love with a man. Falling in love with another person is simply wonderful. Understood that it isn't about gender, but now REALLY get that it's about the person, SO not about the gender.

Thanks for you perspective & blog