SATC Still Treated As If It Contains Some Sort Of LessonS

In the enlightening article "Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Female Empowerment," there lies perhaps the most absurd premise in the history of the New York Times. But you don't have to take our word for it.

PARIS - Remember "Sex and the City," when Miranda goes speed-dating? She wastes her eight-minute pitch three times by giving away that she is a corporate lawyer. The fourth time she says she is a stewardess and gets asked out by a doctor.

What made the episode poignant was not just that Miranda lied about her success, but that her date did, too: it turned out he worked in a shoe store.

Is female empowerment killing romance?

If you manage jerk yourself back to 2010, perhaps you can't help but wonder: what the hell? But it wasn't until the next paragraph that I actually checked the date to make sure this wasn't mistakenly drawn from the year 2000:

There is a growing army of successful women in their 30s who have trouble finding a mate and have been immortalized in S.A.T.C. and the Bridget Jones novels. There are the alpha-women who end up with alpha-men but then decide to put career second when the babies come. But there is also a third group: a small but growing number of women who out-earn their partners, giving rise to an assortment of behavioral contortions aimed at keeping the appearance of traditional gender roles intact.

In other words, we're not just opponents of feminism but opponents of women's suffrage right all along? We're led to fear so. At the very least, in various parts of Western Europe. Now, a discussion of shifting gender dynamics in a range of cultures could indeed be interesting. But, as the Sex and the City references show, this is not the case: rather, we're dealing with a vague and confusing universality.

"It is amazing how even many liberal-minded men end up having sexual and emotional difficulties being with more obviously successful women," said Sasha Havlicek, the 35-year-old chief executive of a London research group. A high-flying friend of hers resorted to ritually feigning helplessness with her partner to promote his sense of masculinity. "The male ego can be a more fragile thing than the female ego, which is used to a regular battering and has hence developed a sense of humor!"

And in the damning words of the head of German Match.com: "Men don't want successful women, men want to be admired...It's important to them that the woman is full of energy at night and not playing with her BlackBerry in bed."

Since this "debate" has been explored pretty thoroughly over the years, I don't see the need to argue the nuances of the issues here. Indeed, one could ask whether it's a question the Paper of Record should be asking in all earnestness — at least in such general terms. But in any event, we're left with a last bit of cautious optimism: "in S.A.T.C., Miranda, the lawyer, eventually finds happiness with Steve, a waiter-turned-stay-at-home dad who doesn't mind her success one bit." (She also ends up quitting to hang with the family, but to invoke the second film might suggest that SATC is not, in fact, a reliable metric by which to judge the state of modern womanhood.)

Keeping Romance Alive In The Age of Female Empowerment [NY Times]