She told the world, not only could they not have better, they would also be the agent of their own demise – and that this, this was inevitable.
I just had to write a blog about this.
I have recently been binging the old and world-loved series, Sex and the City. Currently on season 3, episode 9 – and, yes, I have got here in just under four days.
But, having been completely outraged by season 3, episode 9, I had to channel my emotions somewhere.
Carrie Bradshaw slept with Big. Carrie Bradshaw slept with Big after finding the perfect boyfriend, who treated her better than Big ever could. Carrie Bradshaw crumbled after Big said he was leaving his wife for her, whilst drunk, and then told, whilst Big was sober, he wasn’t leaving her because the divorce would be too expensive. Carrie Bradshaw gave up a year of healing from a man who would not marry her, who then married another woman in less than three months. Carrie Bradshaw sabotaged her own future by sleeping with Big after telling her he ‘didn’t know’, but that he missed her, that he loved her, after he forced himself upon her and followed her whilst she was running away – evilly knowing she would crumble.
We all sat there, me, my mum, my sister, shouting at the computer screen as if Carrie could hear us. My sister refused to watch the show again and claimed Carrie was the most disgusting character she knew. My mum, even though she watched the show years ago, when I was just a toddler, ran out of the room in despair. And I, sat there, motionless, almost a little heartbroken myself. But, why? Why did this affect every single woman in my household?
Because all of us were Carrie.
My mum was a manifested version of Carrie’s ultimate downfall; me and my sister the product of that. And, as if it was in our DNA, I, myself, had chased after my heart in someone else’s hands – to the detriment of my own well-being, far past heartbreak. My sister had watched, growing up, the women around her fail, fail because of men – beyond immediate family.
So, were we angry at Carrie because we were angry at ourselves? Were we angry at Carrie, because we were scared of our own innate potential to be like her? Was it a way of distancing ourselves from our own hubris in flesh?
I wondered: I have always struggled with where the line is where it comes to tolerance in relationship. Me? I’ve always had a high one: I was the caretaker in my family. And I’ve been brought up to always try to understand why people do what they do. He couldn’t commit because someone broke his heart, he couldn’t do this because of x and y and z. And so on. But, truthfully? All it has EVER done is cause pain, deep pain – and allowed me to be taken advantage of. Granted, yes, I may have been understanding the wrong people, projecting some sort of humane explanation onto them – where humanity is lacked. And truthfully, I do it because I know I would always want to be understood.
I saw this in Carrie too.
But understanding is difference from tolerance, isn’t it? And empathy is difference from pity, isn’t it?
And, is there not two people in every situation? What about me? Why do we both forget about me?
What I did not have to wonder about, however, is the fact that Sex and The City failed all women. The lot of us. And instead, championed every single man that, my sworn arch enemy, Big represents.
Carrie marries Big.
What is worse, is that Big calls off the wedding by abandoning Carrie at the Church. And, again, after a whole year of immense pain and depression, Carrie marries Big.
And they live happily, ever, after.
I could not help but think the whole series, and sequential films, endorsed this damaging, backward fantasy that women must earn the love of a man, through self-sacrifice that could very realistically push anyone off the side of a cliff. This absurd fantasy that a man will eventually change for the woman that he loves. The bitter belief that having a wholesome, available and fully-ticked checkbox man, like Aidan – who Carrie cheated on for cheating, unavailable and abusive Big -, would never be fulfilling for any woman. And merely because they do not give us the ‘same butterflies’.
I was insulted. Almost violated.
The realisation that women are expected to transform a failure of a human being into a husband, was beyond me. It disgusted me. And, truthfully, I was angry at their mothers, their fathers. Their nature.
Now, this is not a spiteful, hateful speech aimed at the male species. It is also aimed at women like Carrie, women like me – and the damage they do to men like Aidan, who never even deserve it. But, that’s life isn’t it? The people who are damaged by others, in later-life, never do deserve it – they are simply damaged because they are good. Because they can be. Because they’re not far removed and deluded enough to be God- like, like Big. They are real, and here. Right in front of us. But they force us, women like Carrie, women like me, women like my Mum, to confront a very painful wound: Carrie could not bear the insanity of tranquillity, the peacefulness, the healthiness that was in her relationship with Aidan. The truth is, we are scared of being really and truly loved by a person who, if they did ever leave, would render a heartbreak that would take something away from our own soul. Ironically, we are safe with men like Big. We are safe with the predictability of their unpredictability. We are safe with the distance that pining for an acceptance, a validation, that will never be authentically given: we change with men like Big. And so, so are our truest selves.
So, I realised that self-love is not safe at all. I realised that love is, and always will be completely logical (to the opposite of Carrie’s beliefs) – but that a sexual connection will never be, a ‘love’ that disempowers you, and brings you to your knees, will never be either. How could it be, when the only logical thing, is to love ourselves? I’m talking about the self-love that brings the light to all of our darkest demons, our deepest hurts and outcasts them – so that humanity can thrive too. Profoundly, perhaps, we are programmed to self-destruct, despite all these survival instincts. Perhaps we are the masters of our downfalls, and some of us, like Carrie, do indeed fall.
Candance Bushnell, despite her genius legacy, failed all women, who are represented by Carrie. She told the world, not only could they not have better, she told the world they would also be the agent of their own demise – and that this, this was inevitable, inescapable.