Without aging myself too much, there was a slight flutter of excitement when I saw that Sex and the City had been announced to be resurrected. I wasn’t an avid fan and I couldn’t go into any great details for series plot points or character arcs, but I can tell you that there was something empowering about a series with strong female leads defining their own pathway in life. This series, for good reason, has been held up as a posterchild for third wave feminism.
But times change, of course, and a series about four very white women driven seemingly by the pursuit of men and shoes seems slightly jarring in today’s context. Today’s fourth wave feminists will scoff at this level of consumerism, interdependence on men and a total lack of nuance when it comes to intersectionality and minority groups. BLM, #MeToo, Antifa and critical race theory and white privilege weren’t terms you would have come across so much in 1998 but today, they shape the conversation about the struggle against systemic oppression. That’s not to say that it is a different conversation though.
Our cover girl Dua Lipa has been held up as a voice for fourth wave feminism with her song Boys Will Be Boys, an anthem for what it is like to be a girl and feeling vulnerable to sexual harassment. “It’s about the growing pains of what it’s like to be a girl,” she says. “For me, that was walking home from school and putting keys through my knuckles … So much of the human experience for women revolves around men; how they make us feel, whether that is good or bad.”
In another 20-odd years, I imagine that people might cringe at some of the stuff we call entertainment today and the current approach of feminism. But still, each wave that comes is only there because of the one before. And I think there is always room to celebrate those people or characters who have advanced equal rights for women along the way. One day, hopefully our daughters won’t feel the need to put their keys through their knuckles when walking down the street. I’d like to think that it would still be okay for them to like nice shoes too, by the way.