“Well, be damn sure before you get off the ferris wheel, because the women waiting to get on
are 22, perky, and ruthless.”
This is a quote from my version of the Bible, Sex and the City, as Charlotte contemplates quitting her job at a Manhattan art gallery. This has been ringing in my ears for a couple of months now, and not just because I watch SATC daily. I am 22, perky, and ruthless. And, hey, I’m even working in the art world, too. However, the quote, and the episode it belongs to, have been creeping into my thoughts for another reason as well. Samantha and the girls are judging Charlotte on her decision to leave her job as a successful curator of an art gallery; they think she is leaving to appease her husband and become a homemaker, not of her own volition. I could write a whole article on feminism and the controversy between stay-at-home/working moms, but that is not what I am getting at. What I’m interested in are the working female archetypes that this show, and many others, portray. Even if you never watch SATC, these ideas may still resonate.
Each lady in Sex and the City has a career; not just a job, but a well-respected career. Carrie is an acclaimed journalist, writing her own column in The New York Star; Miranda is an ambitious Harvard-grad-lawyer who makes partner; Samantha is a successful publicist who ran her own company; and then there is the aforementioned Charlotte, who held the coveted Manhattan-art- gallery-curator position until she left it for hopeful domestic bliss. Not only do these women seek the obvious sex in the city, but they also have career-driven daily lives. Is this the reason they are single? Whether merely convenient for writing plot-wise, the creators of the HBO series show us that finding a mate is difficult when you have an established career.
I mean, think about it. Charlotte thinks she has to leave her job to start a family; Miranda has commitment issues due in part to her hectic lawyer-lifestyle; Samantha has said that she is in PR so she doesn’t believe in settling down; Carrie even leaves her column behind to follow Petrovsky to Paris! Why can’t they have both? What about the male suitors in the series? No one ever considers them leaving their jobs to devote more time to the relationship. Big even uses his Paris-for-business excuse to drift away from Carrie… and many of us know what happened with the light exhibition and Petrovsky.
As a career-driven lady myself, I am confused by the message this sent to single and committed ladies out there in the early 2000’s. Yes, we got to see successful women in different industries as they climbed their way to the top and bought their own apartments in NYC; but why was it so difficult for them to also find a great mate and start a family? Is this the age-old question? I see where I want to go in life and I also clearly see a family. Am I going to have to sacrifice one for the other? Will I attain that Miranda status of having both, but have to downgrade to Brooklyn?
No! I want it all, damn it! I want my career-cake and my Manhattan brownstone, too. Recently graduated with my BA, I was promoted to a perfect full-time job at a fabulous art museum and am living with my long-term boyfriend and pup; but I can already see it’s not going to be easy. I can already feel some of my priorities pulling at each other, as I debate doggy daycare and struggle to squeeze in a date night. As women, regardless of if it’s fair or not, we have to work just that much harder to have both in life; but when I do, success will taste that much sweeter.