I have a question: Why are some teenage girls obsessed with comparing themselves to Sex and the City characters? Let’s clear up right now the fact that I have no intention of degrading high school girls; I am sure guys have some sort of an equivalent situation that they will never admit to. Bionicles, anyone? Fight Club? Plus, although I can’t stand this particular character-comparison process anymore, I confess: I once jumped at the opportunity to see myself and my friends in the Sex and the City light.
In addition, I will say I’m not criticizing the show. All episodes involve witty humor, ironic situations, and reflective observations. The show-which has been in reruns since 2004-is amusing. Do girls wish they were a part of this?
I have been in many a conversation where, whether we have been watching the show or talking about it, friends begin matching people to Miranda, or “a mix between Carrie and Samantha.” My absolute favorite part is when girls get catty about it: I like Miranda on the show, but because she has short spiky hair or is a lawyer or whatever, she is always at the bottom of the character hierarchy. So a girl will call another Miranda, giving wicked suggestions hidden by a cute little laugh. Of course she will hint that she herself is Carrie. (Everyone wants to be Carrie because she is, after all, the protagonist.)
I have always been dubbed Charlotte. I hope I am as polite a person, and I may have a certain reserve, but really? Can friends not see that besides those small facts, my mannerisms are nothing like hers? Okay, yes, and I have brown hair too.
True, these characters are designed so that women can relate to them. But they are characters. There are millions of young women in this country. I can say with confidence that it is impossible for every one of us to resonate so perfectly with Samantha, or Charlotte, that we want to claim the same name. Even if the character is admirable, isn’t it possibly self-degrading to equate yourself to someone on a TV show, someone fictional? When does this comparison cross the line? What purpose besides entertainment does it serve? Can it in fact lead to insecurities?
I’m beginning to sound like Carrie at the end of an episode, so I will end it here before things get confusing: All kinds of people, not only teenagers, relate to characters in Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Rings, to countless novels, TV series, and movies. But I have yet to see a strong rival to Sex and the City. I’m sure I will, but for now, you know you nailed it, producers.