Despite some strides, “Sex and the City” still symbolizes lack of diversity in TV history

Despite some strides, “Sex and the City” still symbolizes lack of diversity in TV history

Despite some strides, “Sex and the City” still symbolizes lack of diversity in TV history
February 04
16:48 2019

Like many others, I spent my winter break starting something new. By “something new” I mean, rewatching television shows. One of the television shows that I’ve decided to revisit was “Sex and the City.” Watching this show as a teenager is vastly different from my current experience as a woman in my early twenties, especially since the topic/concept of sex is a whole new dimension. Needless to say, the classic HBO series has not aged well for me.

The show is centered around the four single girls – Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte – and their journey to find and understand love in New York. One staple for the show is the group’s infamous talks at the dinner table. Although a focal point, the discussions that go on inside of the clique are more troublesome and uncomfortable than entertaining.

The lack of depth and evaluation regarding sexuality makes the show an open controversy box, especially if the show were aired today. In the episode, “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl…,” Carrie gets involved with a bisexual man and it isn’t taken lightly by her or the group. Carrie refers to it as a “layover to gay town,” while writing off the existence of bisexuality all in one take.

The women also poke fun at transgender sex workers in the show. In the episode, “Cock-a-Doodle-Do,” Samantha is less than impressed with the sex workers who are keeping her awake at night with their loud banter. In the midst of talking about the women, Miranda refers to it as “tranny talk.” Later in the episode, she goes as far as to respond, “Where?” when Carrie referred to the women as “ladies.”

Aside from the LGBTQ stumps in the show, an episode involving Samantha seeing a black man rubbed me the wrong way. Not only did the episode, “No Ifs, Ands or Butts,” include the only appearance of a focused personality who is a black woman, they implemented how problematic black women were when it came to interracial dating and also stereotypical mechanisms, such as the “neck roll” gesture.

Obviously, the narrow view of the character’s realities also plays into the reality of the television show at the time. The lack of diversity is also evident in the majority of the series when it comes to who shows up on the screen. It was the late ’90s and the expectations for social inclusiveness was at an all-time low. It also wasn’t a standard in the ’90s for there to be a positive or equal representation of certain groups.

Understandably, the show is meant to invoke laughter while teaching a lesson, but the critical acclaim this seven-time Emmy award-winning show would not go over well if aired today. I was always intrigued by the level of intimacy, social interaction and unfiltered discussions. However, as an adult, the show makes me cringe to the point where I can hardly relate to the women because of their narrow view of the world, despite them living in one of the most diverse cities in the world, New York.

Despite the lessons and character development that saved the show at times, the small table talks, tongue-in-cheek moments and dialogues, it’s needless to say much to my disappointment that in the world of “Sex and the City,” there are little seats at the dinner table.

Featured Image: Sex and the City. Courtesy Facebook. 

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Jasmine Hicks

Jasmine Hicks

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