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Gender Issues and Cultural Constructs in Sex and the City - Essay Example

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The author states that the movies Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2 are defined by the concepts put forth by Simone de Beauvoir, in her book Second Sex (1973). She stated that the term “woman” is a term that is defined by culture…
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Gender Issues and Cultural Constructs in Sex and the City
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"Gender Issues and Cultural Constructs in Sex and the City"

Download file to see previous pages Just like women are defined by patriarchal culture, men are also defined by culture, and this culture is also patriarchal. Because of this, there is inevitably a dichotomy between the terms “female,” which is biological, and “woman,” which is cultural. Similarly, there is a difference between “male,” which is biological, and “man,” which is cultural (Bartky, 2003). Both of the movies Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2 demonstrate how this is true. That said, each of the movies actually turn the traditional cultural definitions of men and women on their head, for the most part, in that the women in these movies are independent and assume the masculine role in different ways. Meanwhile, the men, who definitely take a backseat in these movies, much as they do in the television series, often take the traditional female role in many ways. This is not to say that the portrayals of the men and women are not culturally driven, as women in modern culture often do take on masculine qualities and men take on feminine qualities. Nonetheless, in the Sex and the City world, with the one notable exception, turns traditional culture, as opposed to modern culture, on its head. Analysis of the movies The best way to explain how these movies turn traditional culture on their head would be easiest if one examines the different couples who are in these shows. Carrie Bradshaw is the focus of both of these movies, as she is in the actual television series upon which these movies are based. Bradshaw is a blend of masculine and feminine qualities, although the masculine qualities in Bradshaw outweigh the feminine qualities, as dictated by culture. Carrie is a writer, and is successful, having published several books. This would be a typical masculine characteristic – Carrie is a breadwinner, and she has zero interest in anything domesticated. She doesn't cook, she is never seen cleaning, and she has no interest in having children. On the other hand, Carrie's boyfriend, turned husband, Mr. Big, takes on some of the more traditionally feminine characteristics, at least in the second film. Mr. Big does cook, as he is seen cooking in the first film, and makes an anniversary dinner for himself and Carrie in the second film. Mr. Big also likes old-fashioned movies, especially It Happened One Night, which is a classic romantic comedy. In the first film, Mr. Big takes on more traditional masculinity however, than in the second film. This is because Mr. Big is seen as Carrie's caretaker, more than in the first movie. He literally buys her a super-expensive penthouse apartment, and constructs her dream closet. He is also responsible, in the first film, for the dramatic tension in the film, as he stands Carrie up at the altar (they later marry). This feeds into the stereotypical male who is afraid of commitment. He dictates how the two will be married – he wants a low-key ceremony, she wants an over-the-top ceremony, and the two end up getting married according to what he wants. Therefore, Mr. Big is a protector of Carrie, is a provider for Carrie, and dominates Carrie with his wishes in the first film. He more of a traditional male in this way. By the second film, however, Mr. Big is neutered and takes on more of a feminine image. This is the film where he forces Carrie to watch the female-centric film, It Happened One Night, and Mr. Big is shown as somebody who is more of a homebody. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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