The show Sex and the City has been a very influential part of American television for the past twelve years. It focuses on real life issues and scenarios that women can relate to, yet, it’s done in a comical manner. The show has won numerous awards and has become part of a cultural phenomenon to women all over America. Even men can find the humor in this straightforward, provocative, comical series. It has empowered women everywhere and has been recognized by feminists for its ability to show the world of relationships, sex, fashion, and successful women. Sex and the City has influenced society greatly and has showed women that they too can find love, be sexual beings, and have dreams of success. The show has inspired woman to be “alpha woman” and to not be afraid to go after what they want in life (Star).
In 1996, Candace Bushnell, a columnist for the New York Observer, published a book with a collection of her columns for the newspaper named, “Sex and the City.” On June 6, 1998, Sex and the City aired the first episode of six seasons, originally showing on HBO. A man by the name of Darren Star, the show’s creator, bought the rights to Bushnell’s collection of columns for the New York Observer and quickly turned it into a television series. The series was made to be much more comical and light hearted than the “heavy, cynical collaboration of Bushnell’s columns” (Star).
Sex and the City was created to appeal to women everywhere. With its four fashionably elite successful New York women and their many dating woes, sexual encounters, style, and high profile lives, the show was able to do just that. All four characters in the show have very different personalities making it possible to relate to all sorts of women in America. Though the characters were fictional, Star portrayed them to be relatable to everyday American woman. The characters of these for women, Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York, and Samantha Jones, empowered women everywhere to be themselves. They were able to show women that they too could live the life they want, be fashionable, have fun, feel powerful, be successful, and be sexual without worrying about criticism from society. The characters showed this through their own experiences on the show. They had their share of break-ups, fashion woes, and relatable disasters showing women that they too can overcome such situations. Charlotte was always trying to find “Mr. Right” to start a family with, Miranda was always busy working as a lawyer and Samantha was known for her one night stands and sexual presence. The show’s biggest and most controversial topics were sex and becoming successful as a woman. It showed viewers that they didn’t have to be ashamed of being sexual nor successful. It gave insight and even advice on the topics, helping women to realize that they shouldn’t be ashamed of their sexual tendencies and they are just as able to be as successful as men. Star had wanted them to be portrayed as comical characters able to have the sexual libidos and to be as successful as any man. He said when talking about his character, Samantha, “I mean why can’t a woman be like that; a woman that has that sort of libido exists, women who are alpha women. The fact that people identify with her, gay men, women, anyone can say ‘I’m a Samantha’ is great” (Star).
Sex and the City not only gave us a look into other’s sexual experiences but, it gave viewers a look into other women’s relationships and their own troubles in finding love. The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, seemed always to be in the search for love. Carrie once said on the show, “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other-love”(Parker). Her attempt to find love and her many encounters with what she thought might’ve been the real deal, are very relatable to women. Carrie even has a long term, on again, off again, relationship with Mr. Big. Bradshaw and Mr. Big eventually marry in the first Sex and the City movie. Meanwhile, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha are getting into their own love entanglements and sexual encounters. Samantha in particular is always searching for sex with random men while maintaining a successful career as a publicist. The kind of behavior that Samantha exemplifies in the show is not usually accepted in today’s society.
The success of the show and its two movies that followed has been astronomical. Women everywhere can relate to its beloved characters in one way or another. The show not only breaks the barriers of talking about sex openly and freely but, helps women in other various ways. Sex and the City shows America that woman do have the potential to be successful and just as sexual and powerful as men all while in a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Woman no longer need to be ashamed of being sexual or successful. Star wanted the show to do exactly that yet, in a comical way. He achieved what he was looking for. Candace Bushnell, the writer of the columns that influenced the shows creation, is truly an admirable author and women. When asked about her collection of columns that influenced the show, Bushnell states, “I think most call it cynicism but I call it realism- it is absolutely raw reality. It was never written for a big audience and it was never written to make people feel good. It was written as the truth in a humorous way.” Darren Star, the creator of the television series, did an amazing job portraying Bushnell and her column for the New York Observer as Bushnell’s alter-ego and beloved character, Carrie Bradshaw, making Sex and the City, a true cultural phenomenon.
King, Michael, Darren Star (Creator), and Sarah Jessica Parker (Producers) and Candace Bushnell (Writer)
1998-2004, Sex and the City, New York City, Darren Star Productions
Blackwell, Georgina, “Candace Bushnell: Success and the City” for CNN, June 3, 2009, http://edition1.cnn.com
Bushnell, Candace, “Official Website,” www.candacebushnell.com
Sex and the City “Official Website,” www.hbo.com/sex-and-the-city
Written by Crystal Eynon for Associated Content