Thursday, May 13, 2010

The sociology of 'Sex and the City'

Carrie Bradshaw owes a huge debt to Mary Richards of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” says Emory sociologist Tracy Scott.

“The late ‘60s and early 70s was the time that things really changed for women, both in terms of work roles and images on television,” says Scott, who researches culture, gender and occupations.

While cable opened the door for racy content, Scott contends that the career women in “Sex and the City” are in many ways less cutting edge than the characters in vintage sit-coms like “Mary Tyler Moore” and “That Girl.”

“’Sex and the City’ goes along with feminist notions of career women and being sexually liberated,” Scott says. “But in other ways it’s quite traditional, in its focus on women in romantic relationships.”

That ambiguity may explain why fans wearing flip-flops, sneakers and heels are expected to go see Carrie Bradshaw and her beloved Manolo Blahniks in “Sex and the City 2.”

“’Sex and the City’ is what we call an open cultural product, meaning that many people can look at it and enjoy it for different reasons. And those are usually the cultural products that are most successful,” Scott says.

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