Gay Marriage and The “New” Middle East, or Why Sex and the City 2 is a Historical Relic

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by Amanda Bloom

This is not a movie review, nor an ode to the characters of an expired HBO series.

This is a world news article about how much can change within a year, and how a poorly reviewed 2010 film chronicling the lives of four upper crust New York City women can illuminate cultural evolutions.

by Amanda Bloom

 


 

This is not a movie review, nor an ode to the characters of an expired HBO series.  This is a world news article about how much can change within a year, and how a poorly reviewed 2010 film chronicling the lives of four upper crust New York City women can illuminate cultural evolutions.

Sex and the City 2 (SC2), which debuted on May 27, 2010, opens with an extravagant wedding between two men, Stanford and Anthony, long-time friends of the “Sex and the City” (S&C) gals.  (For those who are unfamiliar with S&C – the popular series is based on a book by Candace Bushnell about an NYC relationship columnist, Carrie Bradshaw, her friends, their men, and fashion.  The show enjoyed a successful five season run on HBO and landed two feature films.  S&C is fun, funny and likely has as many fans as it does adversaries.)

The wedding takes place in Connecticut, since, at the time, gay marriage was illegal in New York state.  Flash forward to last month, when New York joined ranks with Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and New Hampshire and became the largest state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to officiate the marriage of two City Hall employees, John Feinblatt, chief policy advisor, and Jonathan Mintz, commissioner for consumer affairs, on July 24, the day the law goes into effect.

While enjoying their wedding cake, Carrie and her husband of two years, Big, converse with another couple about married life.  The other couple explains that they have enlisted a surrogate mother so they can have children, and Carrie and Big share that they have opted to not have children.  The other couple is clearly perturbed by the notion of a childless marriage, and they end the conversation.

Childless families and single-child families are beginning to become more commonplace, and the ideological friction portrayed in the film is accurate.  Not everyone understands when people choose not to have children, especially when many of those who do wish for children are challenged with infertility.  But the definition of the American family is shifting, and ten and twenty years from now, it could be perfectly acceptable for a married couple – woman and man, man and man, woman and woman – to forgo having children.  Newscasts the world over recently announced that the earth’s population is projected to hit 7 billion this year – perhaps our familial values are evolving in time with the planet’s greater biology.

At one of the S&C girl’s many luncheons, Miranda, Carrie’s red-haired lawyer friend, remarks that by using Spanx, elastic undergarments that create a svelte figure, she has tricked her body into thinking it is thinner.  Miranda, like the rest of her cronies, is tall and thin and probably doesn’t need Spanx, but a good portion of the U.S. population should be looking into losing a good portion of their weight.  According to a report by NPR, 72 million adults in the United States are obese, and if current trends continue, 50% of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030.  Minorities and poverty-sticken populations are those suffering most from obesity: Connecticut has the third lowest obesity rate; Mississipi has the highest.

There is effort to change these trends among corporations and non-profits.  In “Snacks for a Fat Planet“, The New Yorker‘s John Seabrook writes about Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s new CEO, and her quest for drinakable soups and oatmeals, low-sodium salt crystals and an overall greater emphasis on nutrition within the company.  Here in Connecticut, The Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative is matching SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, provided by the Connecticut Department of Social Services) money dollar for dollar, up to six dollars per market.  

The majority of SC2 takes place in Abu Dhabi, a Vegas-like state within the United Arab Emirates, which the S&C girls refer to as the “New” Middle East.  (Samantha, the public relations vixen of the crew, cries that they should embark on an all-expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi for some fun, and to escape the “bullshit economy”.  Many Americans are still waiting for the bullshit to clear, though many news sources are consistently reporting lower unemployment claims and a toughening market.)  The Middle East has become even “newer” since February, when citizens began to protest against corruption, unemployment and inflation.  These protests spawned a series of revolutions in several countries – some successful, some squashed, and some still underway.  

And in the film, the girls discover a quiet “revolution” taking place under the burkas of native women – beneath the black robes, some of the women wore Prada and Louis Vuitton, and the girls begin to see the religious clothing in a different light. The Western view of the burka, and the Middle East as a whole, is changing too.  It seems we are beginning to differentiate between oppression and privacy, religious extremism and Islam.  

Rotten Tomatoes, a movie rating website, gave SC2 a 15%, citing a “thin plot ” and a “bloated running time”.  The “splat” is understandable – one really has to love the series to appreciate such a movie. But now, a year after its launch, this silly American sequel also stands as a veritable historical relic.

by & filed under Health & Humanity, World.