Last midnight my sister somehow saw the Sex & The City movie and furiously wrote me a review that made me wonder, could this be the movie that finally shakes my faith in the virtues of market capitalism? Seriously, ever since she took this Marxism seminar my sister has hated her fellow man too much to want to extend him the benefit of any sort of social safety net, but this movie seemed to force her to reconsider. Is Sex & The City just a movie cashing in on a cash cow, or a tool of dialectical materialists designed to incite class struggle? Does this movie have a "message" other than"feel free to wear absurd outfits to work"? Yeah, probably not, but check the amusing email — and, uh, note the time stamp — after the Leap.
to Maureen Tkacik
date Fri, May 30, 2008 at 4:14 AM
subject satc movie was RIDICULOUS
hide details 4:14 AM (12 hours ago)
but i saw it so you dont have to!
The labouring population therefore produces, along with the
accumulation of capital produced by it, the means by which itself is
(Capital, Volume I Section 3)
I would quote a longer excerpt here but if Marx were actually a
quotable sort of guy then right-thinking people would actually have
listened to him and the Sex and the City Film would never have
happened. Or, as Marx would say, the conditions that produced the
world of the Sex and the City film would never have been brought into
While Marxist critiques surely have only begun to scratch the surface
of this film (and will write untold unread tomes in years to come
regarding the significance of the choice of Vivienne Westwood to
design Carrie's wedding dress)… I will here provide a brief analysis
of key elements of the film.
a) The characters are slaves to their own fetishization of
commodities. This fetishization is responsible for the failure of
Carrie's wedding to Big. Dressed in their billowing designer costumes
like unwitting circus clowns, she and her friends fuss around the
limousine to carry Carrie to her wedding. "It's like trying to push a
cream-puff through a keyhole," comments the token homosexual figure
(who serves as the Jester) regarding the difficulty of fitting
Carrie's extravagant Vivienne Westwood gown within the limousine.
Here, Carrie is quite literally overwhelmed by her own materialism.
She does not realize that the Groom, the key component to her Wedding
(the church ceremony of materialism in our times) — is missing.
Castrated by materialism as he may be, Big is overwhelmed both by the
public spectacle of the Event and fear of commitment. Following the
embarrassment of the failed wedding, Carrie returns to her apartment,
where stacks of wedding gifts mock her with their now obvious
uselessness. While the irony is apparent to the viewer, Carrie is too
fatuous to pick up on it.
b) A key component of the film is the use of hired labour to address
all bourgeoisie problems: when, for example, Carrie wishes to have her
possessions from Big, but does not wish to face him in person,
Samantha comments "We can pay people to do that." These anonymous
servants — be they movers, nannies (see Magda), or the man Carrie
hires to hold the coats at Charlotte's baby shower — may be paid as
intermediaries for all human contact. Thus the wealthier characters
only further alienate themselves from one another, and become lost
within their own materialistic egos.
a. Another significant use of hired labour may be seen in Carrie's
hiring of Jennifer Hudson, Louise from St. Louis, who serves as a
Mystical Negro character representing some vaguely "alternative"
viewpoint to Carrie's New Yorker bourgeosie; this is sufficient to
satiate Carrie's shallowly "bohemian" perspective. (Bohemian only in
the modern connotations of the word, which bears little semblance to
the 'bohemians' of yore...) However, their relationship imparts no
true "change" upon Carrie, and instead only serves to further
indoctrinate the Jennifer Hudson character into the cult of the
commodity when Carrie purchases for her a louis vuitton handbag— thus
ensuring she share in future enslavement to the capitalist system
which has claimed Carrie and her "friends."
c) Samantha is the only character of the film who possesses, against
all odds, and despite her inherent materialism, a true sense of
compassion for her fellow man. She is also the only character who
claims to yearn for some sense of "meaning" in her life; unable to
find it either in her romantic relationship with a television star or
the new age literature she reads, her only recourse is to purchase a
dog, whose tendency to "hump" inanimate objects Samantha relates to on
a level impossible with her "friends". At the end of the film, she
naturally turns away from her vapid circle to her dog, as well as to
binge-eating. However, she herself remains entrenched within the
capitalistic system and cannot bring herself to fully escape its iron