Weekend Link Love: SATC2 Edition

I’ll admit it: I went and saw Sex and the City 2 last night.  Although I loved the series, I was really apprehensive about SATC2 after the first movie left a bad taste in my mouth.  Just knowing that it was going to be set in Abu Dhabi made me wince, because let’s face it: the “girls” aren’t known for race/culture consciousness.

But I went anyway.  Girl’s night.  And I gotta say, the most pleasant part of the evening was spending time with 5 friends that I’ve known since sixth grade, some of whom I haven’t seen in years.  After the movie, we made plans to meet for dinner later this week.  So thanks, SATC2.

Unfortunately, those are the only kudos I have for the film.  I halfheartedly laughed a couple of times through the entire 2.5 hour mess, but mostly I just found myself cringing and sinking further and further down into my seat.  The movie was cliched, poorly written, poorly executed, too long, and “culturally insensitive” (to put it nicely).

The film’s asinine comments about Muslim women—more specifically, about their veils—were offensively played for laughs.  Sadly, the comments achieved their intended effect: one of the biggest laughs in the theater came from Carrie’s “burkini” comment during the swimming pool scene.

But I digress. Race, class, and the fact that these women are now hollow shells of their former fabulous selves have already been covered in greater detail by other bloggers.  So without further ado:

Tom & Lorenzo: “We didn’t love it.”

It was like a day at the zoo for them. Very “Oooh, this GAY WEDDING sure is VERY GAY!” along with the visible discomfort or condescending amusement they all displayed, there was an even worse, overwhelmingly negative (akin to horror) reaction to the idea that gay relationships might be different than straight ones. And we all shouldn’t judge! Even though EVERY SINGLE MAIN CHARACTER WAS CLEARLY JUDGING THEM FOR IT. By the way, the thing they were judging the gays for is one of the worst stereotypes about gay people and one that’s particularly damaging when injected into a discussion about gay marriage.

Salon: SATC2‘s stunning Muslim clichés

Like curious visitors staring at an exotic animal in the zoo with equal doses of horror and fascination, the four “girls” observe a niqabi female eating French fries by carefully lifting her veil for each consumed fry. After witnessing this “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” event, Samantha declares, “It’s like they don’t want [women] to have a voice.”

Alternet: SATC2: Materialistic, Misogynistic, Borderline Racist

Not since 1942’s Arabian Nights has orientalism been portrayed so unironically. All Middle Eastern men are shot in a sparkly light with jingly jangly music just in case you didn’t get that these dusky people are exotic and different…it is roundly proven here because the film-makers’ knowledge of the Middle East begins and ends with Lawrence of Arabia.

NY Times: Sex and the City 2

[T]he ugly smell of unexamined privilege hangs over this film like the smoke from cheap incense. Over cosmos in their private bar, Charlotte and Miranda commiserate about the hardships of motherhood and then raise their glasses to moms who “don’t have help,” by which they mean paid servants. Later the climactic crisis raises the specter either of Samantha going to jail or the friends having to fly home in coach, and it’s not altogether clear which prospect they regard as more dreadful.

Attackerman: 5 Things You Won’t Learn About The UAE From “Sex And The City 2″

4. Emirati women don’t all wear the niqab: Although various reviewers described the Emirati women in SATC2 as being fully veiled…pictures on UAE government sites and elsewhere on Flickr show that Emirati sport everything from abayas to hijabs to niqabs. It would seem to be quite an unusual vacation in the UAE in which one exclusively encountered women in niqabs.

What Tami Said: What Tami Said can save you $8

[A]s the main characters go from iconic to pitiable, there exists a faux girl power thread running through the film. The protagonists even, inexplicably, sing “I Am Woman” in an Abu Dhabi karaoke club. SATC was never as feminist as it was made out to be. It sure as hell wouldn’t pass the Bechdel Test. But now it seems as un-empowering and pandering as a those pink “girl” computers by Dell.

Jezebel: “Lawrence Of My Labia” And The Whiteness Of Summer Blockbusters

Samantha is the most nakedly offensive (get it?), Charlotte is clueless and condescending but gets called on it, and Carrie gets wisdom from a zen-like brown person who is serving as her butler. True to form, Miranda has read a lot of books and muses about how men everywhere want women covered up and oppressed. Dodai has a friend who saw it and posited that the movie could be used “as a terrorist propaganda film to pump up the Taliban,” as so potent a symbol of Western decadence and blithe indifference to the outside world.


About Melissa

I love donuts. Chocolate iced, hold the sprinkles.
This entry was posted in body politics, cultural insensitivity, film, racism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Weekend Link Love: SATC2 Edition

  1. Larkspur says:

    I never watched the television series, and so initially, when the first feature film hit, I reacted sort of condescendingly. I should know better. I am a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, always will be, so I should know from condescending already.

    But now I’m getting it that the enjoyable parts of the series may not be suited to the big screen, so I totally renounce my previous disdain for the TV series, and I acknowledge that reasonable people can and do love SATC the series, and I thank you for your review and the linkies, and is there anything better than girls’ night? Nope. Girlfriends are the best.

  2. prof susurro says:

    thanks for compiling this, not only did it make me laugh (w/ that “ooh look racism in ’empowering’ hollywood” giggle) but it makes me think this film will be perhaps more teachable than the last for a new series of lectures I plan to do on “commodity feminism” and how corporate interests are co-opting feminist language to their own ends. In some ways, we cannot forget that the gaze in Sex and the City 2 simply recreates or exaggerates the “saving the downtrodden M.E.” narratives that mainstream feminists adopted at the start of the [undeclared] war and some still use.

    I’m book marking this post for future reference.

  3. Pingback: No Comment « Like a Whisper

  4. Melissa says:

    i could definitely see this movie being used as a teaching tool. there’s certainly enough material to choose from.

    sounds like an awesome lecture series!

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