Tag Archives: sex and the city

Sexism and the City

I posted the other day about how much I hated Sex And The City 2. It seems just about every other film critic under the sun agreed with me but not, tragically, the cinema-going population of the UK. (At least it didn’t do very well in America. Small mercies.)

I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since, and have had many conversations with my thinky friend Paul, who loves to analyse stuff in a way I don’t. He hated it even more than I did, if that’s even possible, and we’ve been batting SATC 2 insults between us for weeks now. He made a good point yesterday during our latest bitch-fest: about how many of the critical reviews have focused on the general appearance of Sarah Jessica Parker et al, pointing out how old and haggard they look. What’s infuriating about this is that it’s something you’d never see if the critics were discussing a film starring a good-looking man who just so happened to be getting older. And, horribly, a lot of that personal criticism has been coming from female critics: the very worst kind of reverse sexism.

I’ve been reviewing for over a decade now and in all that time, unless I’m hideously mistaken, I don’t think I have EVER criticised the personal appearance of an actor or actress. If someone’s starred in something and given a bad performance – well, that’s fair game. If I’d written something and it was crap, people would call me on it, so why shouldn’t I call out someone who’s phoned in a star turn? But I wouldn’t dream of insulting the way they look. It’s bitchy, unnecessary and one step up from name-calling in a playground.

Of course, part of the criticism of SATC 2 is that these are women are almost inviting the nasty comments because they aren’t growing old gracefully; they’re wearing clothes too young for their years and behaving the same way. There’s even a moment in the film where a shop assistant tells Samantha that a dress she has her eye on is ‘too young’. But it’s glossed over: rather than making their ageing a theme of the movie – one a great many women can identify with, and I’m saying that as a 38-year-old who’s starting to realise that my looks aren’t what they used to be – they went off on a tangent and decided to explore other things, such as how married life when you’re rich beyond your wildest dreams can be boring, or how women in Abu Dhabi eat chips while wearing veils over their mouths.

Instead of treating the audience like idiots and insulting us, why didn’t this film focus on some themes we might actually empathise with?

It’s a shame that our culture has this terrible double-standard. Truth be told, I think SJP, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis look amazing and probably always will. But throw them into a film in which looks are everything and they’re doomed – particularly when they’re 20ft high on a cinema screen, showing off every laugh-line, vein and wrinkle. As much as I hated that damn script, I really feel for them as human beings, being ripped to shreds by a press who can’t draw the line between a terrible movie and four women being called ‘ugly’ just because it suits the purpose of the reviewer.

And bloody hell, if these women are fugly, where do the rest of womankind stand?

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Things I liked and things I didn’t like…

Wow, almost an entire month without posting anything! I shall hang my head in shame. As I’ve said before, however, in this age of Facebook and Twitter it’s sometimes difficult to gather the energy to write an entire blog post when you can sum things up in 140 characters…

…Yes, I’m getting old, lazy and brainwashed by social networking. Fie on my rubbishness!

So, the good news since I last posted is that I’ve lost 9lbs in weight since February, my poorly back has improved massively thanks to the miles and miles and miles of walking I’ve been doing and, fingers crossed, an operation might not be necessary for a long while. Phew! I’m not yet fitting into all those too-small-for-me clothes hanging in my wardrobe, but at this rate I will be in a few months’ time, so I’m very happy about that. Plus I can do my belt up three notches instead of one, so I’m definitely smaller! Hurrah!

A couple of weeks back I met up with my best friends Biddy and Sam, plus many others, and spent a fabulous weekend at the Asylum 4 convention at the Birmingham Hilton. I had an absolutely wicked time and, unlike last year, there were no car crashes to be found! Unless you count costumes:

I think these guys were zombies or something; that’s Jim Beaver in the baseball cap (Bobby in Supernatural), looking suitably bemused/amused…

Although, speaking of car crashes, I did somehow manage to end up singing with guest Mark Pellegrino (Lucifer in Supernatural and Jacob in Lost) after he mentioned he was going to be playing Frank’n’furter in a production of The Rocky Horror Show this year:

I sound like a bag of cats being electrocuted – holy crap, was it nerve-wracking singing in front of 1,000 people! I’m glad I wasn’t on stage, although once they shone a spotlight on me and put me up on the big screen I nearly lost it…

Never let me near an open mike. NEVER.

Anyway, the convention was fantastically fun and, unlike last year’s con, well-organised. I had a blast. My favourite guest was definitely Kurt Fuller, who plays angel¬† Zachariah on the series, because he was twinkly and funny and warm and had appeared in just about every show imaginable, so he was full of great stories.¬† (My favourite being the one about how Bill Murray nicknamed his character ‘Hard-on’ during a scene in Ghostbusters II, before stopping the filming and saying, “I can’t call you that or people will be shouting it at you for the rest of your career.” Kurt is still grateful to this day!)

I’m already saving up for next year’s Asylum 6, although I’m saddened I can’t afford Asylum 5 this autumn, particularly because the awesome Misha Collins is attending. I wish they’d hold these damn things in London so I don’t have to pay hotel and travel!

Other news of import: I hated the finale of Lost. I know I’m not alone. It was beautifully acted and Michael Giacchino rocked it with his score (as always; three piano bars and he always has me snuffling). But The Big Twist was plain dumb after six years of build-up, essentially negating all of the ‘sideways universe’ flashes of this season, and it took me an entire day afterwards to figure out what the hell was going on. I wasn’t expecting total closure, of course, but I felt completely robbed by what we got. And that whole ‘there is a light and it never goes out’ crap? GET OUTTA TOWN. Too little, too late.

Although the final episode of Lost was bloody Shakespeare compared to Sex And The City 2, which I saw last night. Since when is it okay for a mainstream Hollywood film to be racist, homophobic and Islamaphobic all at once? I loved the series so much and didn’t mind the first film, but this was an exercise in hideousness (one touching scene between Charlotte and Miranda aside).

It didn’t help my mood when I ended up on the last train home from Waterloo – it was a very late screening – with a woman so drunk she asked the guy sitting beside her if she could eat his sandwich. Bizarrely, but very sweetly, he said yes, and she chomped away at it until she drunkenly folded over until her head was in her lap and threatened to fall off the seat for the entire journey. I ended up chatting to the sandwich-giver, who turned out to be from New York, and he informed me he’d just seen Colin Farrell in a nightclub getting a lapdance.

Man, I wish I’d spent my evening with him instead of at that stupid bloody movie…

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