Sunday, January 6, 2008

Remembrance of Things Purchased

Sex and the City shoesAn interesting paper on Sex and the City and feminism.
While these critiques of SATC [that the show contains an "implicit promotion of a late capitalist value system" or that "The characters blithely reap the benefits of second-wave feminism without ever acknowledging its existence"] are certainly compelling, implicit in these interpretations is the notion that cultural representations of women should serve a corrective or “wish-fulfillment” function, dismantle dominant constructions of gender and class, and forward socially progressive and prescriptive messages. This is a critical stance common to cultural and feminist studies which, while based on a sincere and impassioned desire to effect social change, is nevertheless highly problematic. Too often, materialist feminist readings fail to acknowledge the political instability of consumer culture, instead relying on a leftist orthodoxy that sweepingly characterizes consumers as passive receptors and capitalism as a totalized entity. Such a premise masks the circulation of contradictory discourses and the potential for subversion that are constitutive of the culture itself. In addition, rather than dismissing SATC’s elision of feminism as a sign of its retrograde politics, it might be more productive to consider the show’s silence as a reflection of the ways in which feminism has perhaps failed to address the stereotypes about itself that circulate within dominant popular culture. It is my contention that SATC’s engagement with the often contradictory nature of late capitalism is in fact one of the more realistic and subversive aspects of the show. Given the instability inherent in consumer culture, commodifications of various identity categories have the potential for both resistance and concession...
And if that's not apologetic enough, consider that according to some, Sex and the City is the Recherche of late capitalism.

1 comment:

Pam said...

This reminds me of an article I just read in the City Journal: The New Girl Order
The SATC school of feminism is a transnational one.