Tuesday, 1 June 2010

SATC 2: not for me

well, i'm not going to do a review of sex & the city 2 because i haven't seen the film and don't intend to spend my hard earned cash going to see it. i can't say i'm a fan of SATC, because i never followed it on tv, though i have seen a few of the late night reruns when they were on. i didn't bother with the first movie either.

i'm not totally against SATC, in that there are things i like about the concept. it's nice to have a programme where women have strong and supportive friendships, where women get to be assertive and sassy. also liked that the women were different ages, and it had something positive to offer in regards to the portrayal of older women.

but as i said, when the movies come out, they didn't inspire me to go watch at all. and i wouldn't have had any opinion of SATC 2 at all until i watched a clip of stephen colbert doing his thing about this film. and it made me so angry that i can't bear to watch him again. talk about slut-shaming, misogynistic crap - and i mean literally, cos he was actually using words like slut and whore. he seemed to have a real problem with women being assertive about their sexuality, which makes me wonder what's up with him. then later in that same episode, while interviewing an author about a motherhood type book released on mother's day, he asks the guy if there are any milf's in it. so, um, he wants women to be slutty just so he can rip them to shreds for being slutty? a**h*le.

and there are apparently plenty of reviews ripping into the SATC women for looking old and similar stuff - i'll take woman & hollywood's word for that. so much of this type of criticism of the film seems to be filled with an underlying hatred of women and films about or for women.

but the area that interests me the most (predictably) is the setting in abu dhabi, the way the film deals with arab culture and its depiction of muslim women. i've been looking for a muslim woman's view of the whole thing, pretty unsuccessfully at the moment. there's been a lot said about how the film is anti-muslim, or maybe just uninformed:

Sex and the City 2 frames the Middle East in a quintessential Orientalist worldview, but the worldview comes from a group of women known for their failures in love, not their understanding of international cultures and norms.

One current running through SATC2 is Carrie's immature understanding of marriage, so rather then label Sex and the City "anti-Muslim," maybe audiences should consider the film's offending portrayal of Arabs and Muslims as an immature understanding of the Middle East. And just as Mr. Big vows to help Carrie better understand marriage, perhaps Muslims and Arabs should help the West better appreciate a part of the world greatly romanticized and little understood.

then there is this piece by wajahat ali, which i don't like much because of its sexist undertones, but he does make some interesting points:

Michael Patrick King’s exquisitely tone-deaf movie is cinematic Viagra for Western cultural imperialists who still ignorantly and inaccurately paint the entire Middle East (and Iran) as a Kubla Khan in desperate need of liberation from ignorant, backward natives. Historian Bernard Lewis, the 93-year-old Hall of Fame Orientalist and author of such nuanced gems as “The Arabs in History” and “Islam and the West,” would probably die of priapism if he saw this movie. It’s like the cinematic progeny of “Not Without My Daughter” and “Arabian Nights” with a makeover by Valentino. Forget the oppressed women of Abu Dhabi. Let’s buy more bling for the burqa! [...]

OK, a bubble gum approach to reality is to be expected from “SATC2.” And one could imagine a scenario in which the frothy light comedy could be used to erase mutual misunderstandings. After all, Muslim women around the world, who religiously watched the show, would love a strong, empowered Muslim female “SATC” character who could enlighten Western audiences about the complex, and at times oppressive, reality of Middle Eastern women while simultaneously rocking Ferragamos. Instead, the film exists in a wacky cultural vacuum blissfully unaware of its own arrogance and prejudices.

Apparently, we’re meant to believe Muslim women in the Middle East are equally self-absorbed, vain and materialistic. After completely dissing the Middle East, its people, its religion and its culture, it’s “Sex and the City” that truly insults the Muslim women, by silencing them entirely.

so this is my "not review" - more of a look at other people's reviews. nothing i've seen or read so far persuades me to go watch it, not even for a thumbing of my nose in the direction of mr colbert and his ilk.


Boganette said...

I actually enjoyed the series. But the first movie was SO FAR away from the series. It really shitted me. They've ruined Carrie as a character. She used to be strong and independent and now she's just an irritating stereotype. I was not impressed when she got married. I will still see the new movie but I will crap on about it for ages afterwards over a scotch. I'm a sucker for punishment when it comes to Sex and the City.

A Nonny Moose said...

Regarding Stephen Colbert: his MO/character is that he highlights the hypocrisy and sensationalism in American media - he seems to ape Glenn Beck a lot as a way to ridicule all that is conservative media messages. Therefore, him calling SATC girls "sluts, whores" etc is him doing reverse sexism - pointing out how horrible US media are to women-centric narratives, by pretending to BE that horrible.

Sorry if that came across as 'splaining :( Colbert is bang on with some things, but sometimes his message gets lost in the humour.

Brett Dale said...

Colbert is making fun of the right wing sexist male attitude.

stargazer said...

moose, i've watched a reasonable amount of colbert, including his excellent turn at the white house correspondents dinner while bush was in office. i think i'm familiar enough with his modus operandi, and i really think this went beyond what he usually does. i'm sure the clip is on his website at comedy central, and people can have a look for themselves. when your satire starts sounding exactly like the real stuff, and people can't tell it's satire anymore, then it's probably time to reassess, because then the only thing you're doing is supporting the bigots.

A Nonny Moose said...

Oh, I agree that Colbert can take his schtick a bit too far sometimes. I watched the clip you mean before I commented. I'd say if the right were taking his commentary as serious justification, then the right are seriously losing the plot.

I can understand you and others bringing it to a debate. Colbert strikes me as someone who would consider and participate in such discussion about his choice of language/humour, unlike the right who would laugh you out of the room and Bingo Card you into the ground.

I am of the opinion (and it wouldn't be everyone's, I agree) that using such rhetoric in a patently ridiculous way exposes how horrid it really is. I know we're shocked and hurt when it's used against women for real, but Colbert is exposing its horridness to people who may not be so familiar with the territory as we are.

It would be awesome if we could take it to Colbert/his writers, and say "hey, let's have a yarn about this". If he's the ally he shows himself to be, he should be open to it.

sas said...

SATC is to feminist cinema what Die Hard is to political drama.

It's a light frothy piece of fluff.

It isn't MEANT to address, challenge or confront any stereotypes: be they racist or misogynistic or both.

Brett Dale said...

Die Hard is awesome. Glad they are making a fifth.

Lew said...

No comment thread about SATC2 is complete without a link to this glorious review.


A Nonny Moose said...

@ SAS: Well, I'm not a fan of SATC, but I'd argue that it's existence is an example of feminism. Sure, it may have difficulty passing the Bechdel test a lot of the time, but it's ALL about women and their needs/wants. Those needs/wants might not match up with the majority of women in this world, but a show/movie SOLELY about 4 female buddies is better than no representation of women in pop culture narrative.

I don't like the whole beauty standards they're promoting, but they ARE promoting visibility of older women as sexual beings. I don't like the fashion they promote, but they ARE promoting women as financially independent to choose that fashion.
There's a lot that can be debated about the show not being representative of WoC and how they treat race (as this original post points out about the movie).

I have the same ambivilency towards SATC as I do for Desperate Housewives - they're both very narrow definitions of womanhood passed off as broad (badoom shh) representations. The whole point of deconstructing these narratives is so that female represenation in pop culture can move forward.

Gone said...

You don't seem to have a clue who Stephen Colbert is or what he does... or else, you're really obtuse.

stargazer said...

right back at you, gone. best you stay gone from here, as we expect a much better level of contribution at this site.

Gone said...

I made a cogent point. The author of the article clearly either doesn't know who Stephen Colbert is, or doesn't understand that he is a satirist. If you can't handle that unimpeachable truth, that's on you.

stargazer said...

except that if you bothered to read the comments, then you'll see that i know very well who stephen colbert is and that he is a satirist. not all satire is good satire and not all satire achieves what it intends to. i'm just saying that in this instance, mr colbert's satire was a major fail.

katy said...

"No comment thread about SATC2 is complete without a link to this glorious review."

Oh my!