Sweatshops for your Sex and the City Too

My blog stats are showing that this post has been getting thousands of reads  from both sides of the Atlantic (and a trigger to launch a secret movement by straight men in the west called ‘no more wussification!’ & its sister movement ‘Greater Dignity, Fewer Shoes! more self-reliance, less Choos’  – kidding on that bit but it would be nice!) But thank you readers! – GG.

SWEATSHOPS FOR YOUR SEX & THE CITY, TOO.

(UPDATED Post – with a Super Sweet 16 video to show the end product of your ‘fabulousness’ and the link to a video showing the heart-wrenching heinous reality of brand-name Fur products that our fab-four have touted throughout the series and in the first movie.)

(OR)

HOW ABOUT A REALITY CHECK?

Warning: This is a post written for those with a blunt or INTJ sense of humour and those who don’t mind seeing the harsh reality behind consumerism without sugar-coating. Readers who might be offended for calling a spade a spade, or a boob a boob and don’t get the humour or a reality-check, proceed no further. Same applies to those who blindly think that SJP  has the same sex appeal as Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly. Stop right here. (This is very hard to explain  to many women, but something only straight men and women who are artists will understand – it’s something evolutionary that we can’t explain – on the same line as the ingrained biological differences between men and women…like the attraction to a certain waist to hip ratio for instance. So those women, please don’t confuse gender equality – which I’m 100% all for – to gender ‘sameness.’)

This post is suited more for straight men and for women who are individualists and had enough with the consumerism/shallowness touted.

Others, you’ve been warned ;-) and I’m not going to engage or deal with Miss cyber-bully-with-BPD (you know who you are – although you’re using different names, your IP address is the same.) Amusing how you spewed full force for my tiny photo at the end, and the fact that placing a mouse on it enlarged it. Deal with it, lady. I’ve done 7 years of architecture (a B.Arch & a M.L.Arch) & 10 years of work on the field.  And have slogged  very hard in life (since you’ve been sending me those vitriolic e-mails). And if my sarcasm or the fact that I’m a woman architect ‘upsets’ and ‘offends’ you, well, too bad. This is my personal blog – and you are free not to read it. (To those women – I’m  that girl you used to bully back in school for being the nerd who was good in studies and music. And doubled the bullying even more  ruthlessly if she happened to look nice.) Also, can the other miss cyber-bully (who has claimed to be a feminist,) give a logical explanation of your claim that my photograph on a site ‘kills feminism’??? I’ll state it directly lady – what you mean is that I should  look ‘manly’ and/or hate cooking in order to qualify for your concept. And you’ll defend me only if I shed all traces of femininity. Or walk around with an utterly misconstrued sense of ‘entitlement’ based on gender alone, without any hard work or self-reliance like that horrendous sense of entitlement with which the women in this film plodded on.  Sorry ma’am- ain’t happening here – I’m too objective – and think BOTH genders are EQUAL and being a woman does not ‘entitle’ me to be pampered. Nor would I look for ways to enhance myself at the cost of unfair man-bashing based on sweeping generalizations. Please take your notions elsewhere.

It is ironic that empathy is not reserved for bonded laboureres, child sweatshop workers or  the real victims of misogyny in rural villages, but truthfully calling shallowness -”shallowness” is seen as ‘not having empathy!’ Oh Rationality, where art thou?! Those wishing to spew ‘stead of humour, here’s a bit of Monty Python to lighten up: The Architect Sketch or chill out on my ‘Jazz’ page. And for those girls wishing to get  more upset by more sex and  women in architecture, go here: Sex & the Starchitect.

Next.

*  *  *

So I went to see the movie Sex and the City 2  mainly to write a post about it. At a theatre near Cambridge, MA, for a matinee show and a ticket price of five dollars which I think is just about what I would pay during this recession to not partake in the overindulgence of consumerist frivolity that this movie endorsed.  I went alone as I have never ever dragged any man nor ever will to watch chick-flicks. Deliberate man-torture is not my style and I’m happy to say that I have also never dated any man who was into chick flicks. As for my other girl friends they are not the groupie-type either, so for that matter I have never watched any chick flick in my life with a gaggle of girls either. And here,  I don’t know if it’s because it was Cambridge or Harvard or just the student population around Sommerville theatre…..but surprisingly the main movie hall contained only 11 other women, all alone, watching the film and the only group was of two girls. Later I would read that in many cities this was a huge girls’ night -out event.

And oh my! Oy vey! Holy moly! I have only one reason I can think of why they made this movie: The cast and crew badly needed the money. A TV series that had started off as witty and sassy, despite all its sometimes funny, candidly open yet mostly frivolous messages, has sadly demised into an orgy of stuck-in-time ogresses touting consumerism and navel-gazing shallow, selfish ‘pain’ over trinkets and trivialities.

March of the Aunts : Part 2 of the Trilogy Lust of the Ring

Where should I begin? Perhaps it is best I write my peeves and pondering as an analytical list, and the rather unsubtle and unsettling messages the movie sent. Those in doubt, may go see the film to truly understand where this analysis is coming from. Really :

Message no. 1 : “We are preening, privileged princesses”: Let’s start at the beginning….the cheesy fairy-tale ‘once-upon-a-time’ opening line was already a dekko of what was to follow for two and a half hours of this ‘orgy of excess.’ Or a ‘greedfest’ as the Independent rightly called it. A story that prefers the omission of facts and the gritty underbelly of the world that makes your consumerist luxuries possible, ladies. To create a ‘magical’ fairy tale world of fantasies far removed from the reality of the sweatshops from where a lot of your shoes and bags come from.

So we have close –ups of the Chrysler building in the opening shot. Many, many of those till you scream internally – ‘I get it, I get it. New York City.’ Yes – we know it is New York City. A city which does have a few other buildings too, you know. Perhaps the ‘Abu Dhabi’ part of the movie was in tribute to the fact that  90% of the Chrysler building is currently owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council? Those in doubt – can wiki ‘Chrysler building’ to verify this fact. I felt like saying – yeah, go ahead bellas- ignore the 10% women architects who ARE doing something silently and unconsciously for gender equality so your Blahniks and Choos can walk over our designs.

Just to insert some reality check about the Chrysler building here’s an interesting fact (from wiki) about the man who designed it:

Architect William Van Alen had failed to enter into a contract with Walter Chrysler when he received the Chrysler Building commission. After the building was completed, Van Alen requested payment of 6 percent of the building’s construction budget ($14 million), a figure that was the standard fee of the time. After Chrysler refused payment, Van Alen sued him and won, eventually receiving the fee. However, the lawsuit significantly depreciated his reputation as an employable architect. His career effectively ruined by this and further depressed by the Great Depression, Van Alen focused his attention on teaching sculpture.

I had to insert that geeky fact up there just as a brief respite to clear my head from the frivolous ‘fabulousness’ that paraded for more than 2 hours before my eyes yesterday afternoon. I’ll try to keep the rest of the post geeky-free.

Message no.  2: “We are super-sexy Fabulous femmes even with our saggy boobs as long as we display them fully flapping – I mean fully drooping – I mean fully propped up – I mean…..we ARE beautiful, aren’t we? Validate us! Please, please validate us!:” Ok – I should clarify here (for my lynch-prevention by SJP fans) – I think the actresses (SJP & co.) who played the parts in their REAL life are nice ladies who went along with the script and fashions, and I am also sure that in real life they would have touted more relevant values and causes had they been made more aware. (Though an article in a UK newspaper details how the main character took home all the clothes and accessories for free and her nexus with the store that uses the movie for marketing its products; and some of her online interviews are so navel-gazing at one point going off for 15 minutes on David Letterman about her facial mole removal and not one word about the world except “I, I’m like, I, I, me?me?me!” Really. Give me Charlize Theron or Hilary Swank any day – those ladies came up in even harder ways in life – or the more privileged but smart Amanda Peet – and still are some of the most grounded, truly intelligent, outdoorsy and aware-of-the-world actresses in real life.) In any case, my take is more on the characters depicted in the movie, not the actresses in their real lives. So here goes:

We are greeted by the ‘fab-four’  and by the time the film ends you wish the scriptwriters had looked up the dictionary to find that there are more adjectives than ‘fabulous’ – a word that is flatulently repeated ad nauseum by every character. The original series, despite its unrealistic lifestyle-on-a-columnist-salary and $800-a-pair-shoe-buying message which ended up teaching many a young woman to have bad financial acumen and go into debt and look for sugar daddies to support a forced fairy-tale lifestyle (and as Gov. Spitzer’s former escort Ashley and actress Lindsay Lohan have confessed that the series were the ‘inspiration’ to their lifestyle), at least had some wit and sass, a refreshing sexual openness and candour not seen before on television and some hilarious scenes and dialogues. (one laugh-out-loud-line of Samantha outlining how oral sex felt paradoxically ’empowering’ to women: “You may be on your knees but you’ve got them by the balls.”)

And though I was younger than the age group the women portrayed in the series, I am told that it captured to some degree the reality of the dating and party-girl world of NYC in the late 90s, and early 2000s city life. This film unfortunately is like a female version of watching four retired flabby-bellied male Casanovas trying to recapture their old glory days and womanising with limp, tired, flaccid members. Only, here it’s 4 females in some sad effort to lubricate their labia with a vaginal Viagra version of nagging and complaining.

When I Googled Sarah Jessica Parker, Google’s  autocomplete popped up the sentence next to her name ‘looks like a —-’. I’m not kidding. It’s a dark humour site, and though disturbingly hilarious is a bit mean, though its profits go towards retired NYC city steeds. I began to wonder if Google had some inside joke with the South Park creators who had recently made an unkindly funny spoof about the star. In the looks department, I have to confess, that though SJP maintained a killer pair of legs, her other ‘pair’ needed some props, to say the least. (And whatever else, kudos to her for not having gone the silicon way.) Only Charlotte looks appealing on the big screen and Kim Cattrall, once so gorgeous, would do better to dress more age-appropriately. No offense,  she still looks ‘fabulous’ for 52, but a little dignity goes a long way. I don’t care so much about fashion details and embroidery, girls. I judge beauty more the naked way – skin, body shape, perkiness and facial bone structure. If that makes me like a man, can’t help it. I do have a mildly-aspie-male math brain and am a painter of the female form.

Should looks be important here? Yes – Only because ‘sexy looks’ and ‘fashion’ ARE what have often been the selling points of the SATC series so I think an objective appraisal should be made however politically incorrect it may sound. (Meryl Streep, unconventionally beautiful, for instance is naturally and uniquely sexy and dignified in every role and at every age precisely because she has never promoted herself as a sex icon but as an actress of exceptional abilities, which she is. And therefore she will never and absolutely rightly so, never have to contend with the objective criticism that the fab-4 have brought upon themselves. At the other spectrum, at 51, Madonna who has promoted herself as a sex icon always lives up to that image and does look unbelievably sexy and photogenic even now, and therefore can never be, and rightly so, never be criticized because she has lived up to her status without disappointing. Unfortunately our fab-4 failed to be both Madonnas or Meryls and yet are demanding the same adulation without the work – and I think that is what is so disappointing and feels forced for most rational people to accept. That is why the truth has to be spoken.)

I hate to say the truth for what it is: But the only visually redeeming breasts in the movie are definitely the Irish nanny’s.

Perhaps Carrie and Samantha should gracefully let the next generation take over when it comes to revealing exposed bosoms. I think women in their late-40s and 50s look more elegant if they wear tight turtle-necks with a bra underneath that could show the shape of their breasts and waists or perhaps V necks- that enhanced some parts instead of displaying full blast tired cleavages and droopy pears with sun-ravaged skin? Unless of course, you do have great skin and a real ageless bust like Monica Bellucci and some real natural beauts.  Ladies, with all due respect, the art of ‘sexiness’ is revealing sparingly with some element of mystery. When you have every body- part propped up or hanging out there in middle age, it just looks, well, sadly desperate. As though you are unable to gracefully pass the torch on to younger girls, rather than entering into some competition with them.(The same applies for men too – those Dorian Gray men who refuse to grow up.) Your ‘sexiness’ would be so much more appealing with some dignity, you know?  It would have presented such a better image of mid-aged women and not turned the real and far more grounded ones into jokes now. Take a page out of the glamorous yet superbly dignified and sexy Sophia Loren’s book – she and other older actresses like Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn and some others aged so gracefully without losing their sense of style. Perhaps there is a reason why Mr. Big is watching 1950s black and white films – wondering when did the woman’s sexual-freedom movement end up losing feminine dignity and mystique? (Or perhaps, he is figuring out that he should pull some hedge-fund investment scam  to continue supporting his royal smugness and her royal nagness in their over-priced lifestyle?)

Message no. 3 : “We don’t want men for husbands, we want rich whipped-wussies”: I saw a cartoon last year: “The road to economic recovery: Gay marriage registry.” In light of that perhaps the scriptwriters decided that an exorbitant film version of a gay wedding was exactly what we needed. Or perhaps because SJP largely owes her ‘fashion icon’ status immeasurably to gay men rather than straight men. So we are put through a 30 minute over-the-top wedding at the movie’s start with a dilated eyed-Liza Minnelli cavorting around with many gay chorus men. Really – girls who have dragged their boyfriends to watch this film, please, I repeat PLEASE see it as a sign of their selfless love for you. Had I been born a man, I’d have refused to be bamboozled into watching 2 and a half hours of this self-absorbed nasal-nag-shag-entitled-hag-torment. (The irony is that straight men live and have relations with straight women in real life. Yet gay men have decided to lay down the rules of engagement in heterosexual relations. and have promoted it through the films. Does this sound illogical and ironic to anyone else, too?)

The wedding scene is more relevant for eerily realising that the gay men seem to have more chutzpah than the straight men in the scene, because – lo and behold! the straight men in the form of the docile husbands of three of the women have invisible signs stamped on their foreheads: ‘Operation wussification complete!’ To think that these have become the new ‘representatives’ of manhood! There seems to be a silent competition of which husband can outdo the other in wussified docility to their nagging wives. Mr. Big takes the cake – his wussification and metrosexualizing has been so severe over the years, he has resigned to the finality of life with his long-faced, entitled, insecure and jealous wife. (The scene with his brief conversation with Penelope Cruz is a pointer to Carrie’s insecurity.) I don’t know what I preferred more: His past smirky smugness and indecisiveness or his present mildly abused persona grappling for some freedom by asking his wife if  he can take two days off his marriage every week…now why do I keep remembering captions and photos from the hilarious satirical site Unhappy Hipsters? (it’s on my blogroll those who wish to take a gander – absolutely worth it.) 

And boy – to think that Carrie is seen as some ‘unique’ woman in today’s world??!! Which the scriptwriters remind us a few times through the film. To think this consumerist complainer with her closet full of shoes and chain-smoking past habits (which has obviously taken a toll on her skin) and someone who in the series had cheated on her grounded nice-guy boyfriend with the then married Mr.Big and had displayed shallowness on many occasions even back then is seen as some ‘role model’??!! The reason she is so popular is because unfortunately she is so ordinary and there are so many women like that  who hoard excess, that to make them feel ‘special’ and justified for their consumerist overdose and self-centredness, this movie has been made. That’s what you get when you have a book written by a former party girl picked up for a TV series – although Candace Bushnell’s novel had some literary class and sassiness and it was a critique to this brand-worshipping man-chasing lifestyle as being ultimately hollow, not a glorification as the series turned it into.

I am waiting for John Edwards’ mistress to write a new book to launch another tsunami in the name of ‘women’s sexual freedom.’ You already have Gov. Spitzer’s former escort writing a sex column for the New York Post (not that she shouldn’t, or that they should be judged – it’s their life, but it’s funny sometimes the road to media notoriety that suddenly makes someone an ‘adviser’ in this country. Will that be filmed into a future series to ‘educate’ young women? Is it possible to get any more confused in the name of ‘sexual freedom’?) Harry Mount in the UK Telegraph has given a spot on review of why this movie is so popular amongst many women. Mediocrity of intellect and looks packaged as ‘special’ sells as it does not incite jealousy and therefore has more mass appeal. Period.

Except for a last somewhat redeeming act of a little generosity to a hotel staff in Abu Dhabi, throughout the entire movie Carrie comes across as the shallowest, naggy-est, most self-absorbed person of the foursome. (Miranda at least has some smarts, Sam has some humour despite her nymphomania, and Charlotte still seems sweet-though-overwhelmed, though you have to wonder what mother cries more over her ‘vintage Valentino’ skirt on the phone than be understanding  of her daughter’s playfulness.) Carrie instead gloats over her huge closet and an Imelda-Marcos-shaming shoe collection. She shows no gratitude to the husband who has paid for their lavish Manhattan apartment and for those shoes and clothes. No. Not at all. Instead, when the husband comes home tired after a beating in the stock market she nags and laments and uses guilt-trips to drag him to a movie premiere, only to whip him back the minute a lovelier woman talks to him. How about a back-rub to that husband who pays for your Choos, honey? She shows a lack of empathy bordering on clinical NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) as she fights with him for feeling tired after a long day of work. She raps him for placing his feet up on the expensive couch. She refuses to cook even one home-made meal reminding that she is more ‘Coco-Channel’ than ‘coq-o-vin’. Looked more ‘croc(odile)-o-whine’ to me, hon. She complains like it is a great tragedy that he has bought a flat screen TV as her anniversary present and not ‘some jewelery.’ Finally she does get some jewelery as her ‘reward’ after she has hurt said husband by smooching an ex.

So, husband gets a third degree at home for conversing with a bank president played by the beautiful Penelope Cruz and missus gets a giant diamond ring from husby for inciting his insecurity by smooching her ex and reporting it to him on a work morning with not one statement asking him how his work is going or if he is stressed out for the economy. Really, what kind of message are you sending women out there who are your fans precisely because they can identify their own shallowness, selfishness and materialism in you? To say that I found a lot of this sense of entitlement and self-centredness disgusting is an understatement. Sorry fans of the foursome – to me, that doesn’t come out as some woman’s ‘liberation’. That comes out as husband-abuse and narcissistic selfishness.

Message no. 4 the oft-repeated lesson of the series in general. “Crazy sex and skin exposure is the only road to girl-‘power’: Was women’s sexual lib necessary? Absolutely. 100% Absolutely. Yes. Yes. And it did exist in many ancient pagan cultures in the form of goddess-worship centuries  before Judeo-Islamo-Christianity masculinised religion. (Take a look back at the kamasutra and the romps of Greek and Roman goddesses.) But the past century’s  woman’s lib movement was necessary especially after many male-dominated centuries when women were suppressed and discriminated against. Does a woman have as much right and privilege to sleep around and enjoy sex and many sexual encounters the same way as a man? Yes. Absolutely. Undoubtedly. Without being judged and only if she wishes to. NOT  due to peer pressure or because media messages in the present age influence her to.

But is this sexual-romping the only route to women’s ‘power’ as this movie and series has tried to endorse? ‘To have sex like a man’ – which was the slogan of the series to begin with? Perhaps this is where I raise the voice of reason. And concern. And raise rational questions. Because to me ‘to have sex like a man’ is such a superficial skin of real strength or girl-power. Isn’t this on the same level as the line ‘dress like a man’ which was one of the bra-burner messages? Only now instead the ‘act like a man’ or ‘be tough like a man’ has been replaced by ‘have indiscriminate sex like a man with hundreds of partners because the TV tells you to.’ To me personally, I would feel more powerful if I could rather have ‘sex like a self-assured woman’ and choose NOT to sleep with any man or random stranger who wants to. Nor give it so easily and indiscriminately. Don’t get me wrong, I am an  imaginatively erotic person in exclusive relationships. But the man has to be worth it for me to go that distance. If you spread yourself so thin,  as the series promoted, doesn’t sex lose its value and become just some ubiquitous meaningless act?

In her recent book  ‘Enlightened Sexism: The seductive message that feminism’s work is done’ a scathing look at the messages that became rampant starting in the late 90s, professor and cultural historian and critic Susan Douglas makes a similar argument that in an orgy of the over-sexualised facade of ‘girl-power’ the over-sexualisation of girls, young and old,  is now seen as harmless and funny and in some weird way feels like a ‘creepy triumph.’ In a sarcastic ending she ‘dreams’ of the day ‘baby thongs’ and ‘baby pole dancing classes’ will become a normal practice. To quote from the closing lines of her ‘Sex R Us’ chapter which takes an objective assessment of the impact of Sex and the City and other TV series on contemporary culture, she concludes:

“So the question of whether the sexualisation of our culture is good or bad for females may not quite be the right one. More important is how girls and women have been sexualized, how that’s different from the way men have been, and what the consequences might be. Because while an increased frankness about sex in the media might indeed seem to be a liberal, even progressive advance from the days when the Catcher in the Rye and Lady Chatterley’s Lover were censored, the content of this media, the way girls and women appear in them, may often be as sexist as it ever was. The new hedonism and the sex-positive talk to, about, and among women in the media, which seemed so fresh, new, and controversial, was the shiny cellophane that helped mask a Mars-Venus discourse about men and women being fundamentally different – and thus maybe not equal. It also deflected our scrutiny away from the under-lying message: women were nothing without Mr. Right and so they had to do anything they could to land him. This is sexual liberation?”

I couldn’t agree more. Basically now the ‘new improved’ cultural reality of the message taken by many women in North America is :  70 years ago modesty was the value promoted to find Mr. Right. Today immodesty is the value promoted to find Mr. Right. What is my peeve with this?  The fact that the ‘means’ have changed but the ‘goal’ a.k.a Mr. Right remains the same! The fact that the  misguided message  sent  is  that a woman’s personal happiness is not tied with a strong sense of self of her own, or self-confidence, self-reliance and dignity, but more with actions directed to finding that Mr. Right to ‘complete’ yourself rather than finding yourself first before seeking ‘completions through others’ and/or obsessing about complementing another and then obsessing about ‘changing’ him/’holding’ him/ ‘wussifying’ him. My point is that a woman’s feeling of security (and sexiness) should  come from within – through a grounded sense of Self – whether without OR with a man; independent of the frequency or presence of  penises popping in. Mr. Right is not the goal, but should be rather the person who sees and appreciates you for who you really are and joins you in life for the Right reasons.

Message no. 5: “We have the kitschiest taste in books.” A book on faking your body clock written by dazed and confused new-age Hollywood quack Suzanne Somers makes an appearance early on in the film as Samantha’s inspiration for pill popping to stay young and the book pops up again in the finale touted by other women. Enough said. I do not even wish to get into the pseudoscience being promoted by Somers. People – prepare to see many pre-menopausal women shooting up oestrogen injections through their vaginas in the coming years thanks to the free-promo the movie provided.

I’m not the only one who has a complaint against her book. Newsweek wrote two articles on the craziness and questionable safety standards of the pseudoscience promoted by Somers. “Doctors who specialize in treating menopausal women feel they’re fighting a tsunami of misinformation. Highly sophisticated, unsubstantiated and downright dangerous marketing is leading women to go in and make demands for these bioidentical products, believing them to be effective and safe.” And here’s more from that article since Somers has been claiming how ‘successful’ her treatment is: “If you feel compelled to read Somers’s book, do so carefully. You’ll find lots to question. For example, she says bioidenticals kept her slim but then later complains about weight gain. She says she feels great but then later acknowledges that after years on bioidenticals, she was bleeding so heavily every day that she recently had to have a hysterectomy. That’s the kind of success we can live without.”

http://www.newsweek.com/2006/10/30/a-blow-up-over-bioidenticals.html

http://www.newsweek.com/2009/05/29/live-your-best-life-ever.html

What is so sad is that these women had such a loyal following and such a strong influence on millions they could have used it to promote 10,000 better and more ethical things and causes  I can think of – environmental sustainability, green design, frugality, moderation, organic gardens, a self-reliance sans penis-count or jewelery-negotiations, the horrors of sweatshops or the skinning alive of furry mammals for the fur fashion industry – and instead they chose to promote the most vapid, superficial, materialistic means of refusing to grow up gracefully and wanting to remain caught in a time-warp like female Dorian Greys. (Also anyone in doubt to what extent consumerism and hedonism in the US has increased need look no further than the nauseating reality shows – My super sweet 16, and the Real Housewives series which, alas, our ‘fab-4’ mention in the movie.) Infrastructure sustainability planners are up against an unbeatable tide and a losing battle crying out in vain that if this consumerism continues, a tipping point of no return will  be reached; that Americans have to stop the propaganda of excess that has become the dream-standard of other women in other nations too; that this lifestyle is just not sustainable for the planet- financially, environmentally, and I think I should add – even in the self-esteem department.

Message no. 6: We alone are emancipated women. All other cultures have backward, suppressed, fully clothed women. And because the radicals among Islamic men are conservative and dangerous and we can’t teach them a lesson without getting killed, we’ll make the American men pay the price for their crimes, by default that they are ‘men’ and hence should pay for the sins of other brethren of their gender:Hard to believe, but this is certainly one of the most illogical messages sent out in this film. In fact Sarah Jessica Parker in a gushing promo interview compares the plight of women in the Arab world to the ‘struggle with traditional roles of women right here in New York City.’ Puh-lease!!!! As a person who has traveled widely and seen and worked in many places of the world (including the Arab world) and as I have often retorted – you CANNOT, I repeat cannot, compare your ‘suppression’ or ‘misery’ of non-matching-purses-with-shoes and no-dinner-appointment-at-fancy-resto to the very real suppression that goes on in some other parts of the world. Materialistic self-absorbed selfishness like that is just SO appalling, I do not even know where to begin! For a reality check, the movie is banned from theatres in Abu Dhabi, so don’t compare your ‘crisis’ of which boyfriend you get to shag to the choices of public expressions of affection women have there.

The message here is the same illogical one that just because women elsewhere are suffering, we Blahnik-crazy shopaholics will bash the men a little bit more here, in NYC. This skewed logic is the same as how some people in relations treat the guy/gal in their present life like dirt to pay for the sins of a past lover. Doesn’t make sense, does it? But no – in this movie where our fab-four cannot think beyond their own problems, they look to the Middle East to draw parallels to their own lives. Miranda complains how she lost her job because she was a woman. How they can’t be more ‘free’. Can these gals think of anything or anyone beyond themselves and the mantra ‘me, me, me, buy-Blahniks, me, me, me, poor-me chicks, me, me, me, ogle-at-men’s-dicks?’ I will not mention it here but a certain quote of Nietzsche came to my mind halfway through the movie. And it had nothing to do with the resemblance of a certain actress to……

The eastern ethnic ‘man-servants’ at the luxury hotel are of course shown like genies to our princesses in an excruciatingly painful-to-watch colonial attitude and we begin to suspect that the hag-four will not be satisfied till they have whipped their own husbands back in Manhattan into servants in the future – all  in the name of women’s lib, of course.

Ok – I have to hand it though that the scene in the finale of Samantha flicking off ultra-conservative Islamic men surrounding her was a funny one. I rather enjoyed that, having seen firsthand the suppression of women that does go on in some of the rural parts of those countries. I think in that one redeeming act, Sam did echo the sentiment that many women feel of being enraged at the overtly (and sometimes criminally) patriarchal system of misogyny that goes on in rural areas there. Now that was a cathartic scene. One that touched a personal note to me, as well, as I recalled the time on a construction site long back in a certain conservative country these  really nasty men  had beaten an innocent girl falsely accused of being ‘immodest’. I was so enraged, I had picked up a bull’s balls from a butcher shop and (without revealing its source) had shown it to  those men and swung the balls around saying that if any man dared touch her or abused any other woman in their community, I’d snip his balls off. I was playing on the ‘eye for an eye’ dictum that works in certain rural areas. They let me be and backed off from the girl and the women thanked me later. I did have a couple of guards with me, I must confess, so I didn’t get torn to pieces myself. Those Americans wishing to know more about the condition of rural Islamic women can look up blogs written on the  Doctors Without Borders website, or even the recent TIME magazine issue.

But other than that, the condescending way in which the foursome talk about Arab women and their dresses is quite patronizing again. Agreed that dress codes are very strict there, but in desert climates (and I’ve been there) the sun is so scorching and the sand so fine that to protect your skin from premature wrinkling and even skin cancer, being covered is often the best option. But of course, in the movie the four  dames were shown as proponents to ‘woman empowerment’ through – well, human rights causes? No. Investigative journalism? No! Going to rural villages and setting up schools or encouraging/buying the textiles made by local women there to help them financially? No!! They were shown as ‘empowering women’ by – get this – singing karaoke. Yes. Really. By singing ‘Woman’ just before picking up a man at a bar.

I wanted to yell out – Hey ladies, the world’s greatest and most futuristic woman architect who has built many ‘fabulous’ fantastic contemporary buildings all over, including in Abu Dhabi and won architecture’s highest prize in the world, is a British Iraqi Muslim woman – Zaha Hadid. She is the only woman amongst the top 10 all time greats of architecture. (And just so you know has designed possibly the sexiest pairs of shoes, chairs and cutlery,other than buildings, too. Read my ‘Sex and The Starchitect‘ post) And she is such a powerhouse of true strength, all four of you together couldn’t even hold up a matchstick to her. And hey, just so you know, there are many countries of the world other than America which have had woman presidents and prime ministers since the 1950s. Here’s a list. How’s that for a reality check? Could it be that in some countries women just choose not to translate their power or liberation through rampant sex but rather in more substantial ways – such as ruling entire countries (and some of them are Muslim, just so you know.) And the longest ruling woman leader in the world of course was a secular Hindu (i.e. Indira Gandhi. Maybe she didn’t wear tube tops in public to show her freedom, she just was free to become the elected leader of the world’s largest democracy.) Here’s a list, just for some FACTS and not fairy tales for instance:

List of women Prime Ministers: http://www.terra.es/personal2/monolith/00women3.htm

List of women Presidents: http://www.terra.es/personal2/monolith/00women2.htm

And talking about the U.A.E and our foursome’s take on ‘freedom’ I had to write the following incident because their premise on thinking they were so ‘powerful’ while being slaves to their own insecurities just seemed so misguided. Last month at a long infrastructure sustainability conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the closing ceremony’s main speaker was a brilliant remarkable architect, planner and engineer who is the Director of Sustainability for building an entire 3 sq. mile eco-city in the U.A.E. and has a doctorate from U.K’s top school and graduated from UAE’s Engineering University. This person is a grad from Harvard Business School, a former deputy Director of the Abu Dhabi Police Force AND has scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro. And guess what – she is an Arab WOMAN, who wears a head scarf in public. She has spoken on panels invited by President Clinton himself, Brad Pitt apparently gushed on meeting her, and she is in charge of building the world’s first zero carbon footprint eco-city in the middle of the Abu Dhabi desert. Sorry to say, but in the U.S. in the sexist culture of architecture, for a woman to reach that level of leadership and power in engineering is still far away. I heard her speak at the conference and was blown away by her intelligence, sharp wit and the amount of work she has done. She spoke to me later (without the head scarf, which she only wears on the stage) and I was  so inspired by her beauty, confidence and strength in person. Here’s a link on a newspaper article about her before her Harvard stint (check it out):

http://www.abudhabiweek.ae/component/content/article/54-movers-and-shakers/1706-a-view-from-the-top-nawal-al-hosany?directory=69&Itemid=69

Why do I feel, ladies, when I read this, that I want to shake her hand and say she has done more for women’s freedom without losing her femininity than the parade of frivolities I saw you present in the movie where kissing some ex was seen as a ‘highlight’ and ‘crisis’ in your life. How sad. I must say Miranda, this lady in the news, Nawal Al-Hosany, is much more ‘liberated’ and a greater trailblazer and true pioneer who has battled sexism and come out with flying colours much more than even you have. You judge her by the scarf on her head, and not by the brain in her skull or the courage in her heart. I’d like to see how you would behave on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. From what I saw, you had to all carry an entourage of ‘slaves’ for just an afternoon in the desert and at least a dozen suitcases EACH for a week of vacation. I weep for the way you have stereotyped femininity, and especially stereotyped N.American women, for the masses.

Oh, and guess what, she and others like her I have met, treat the men in America as equals and with grace and respect without indulging into the power plays and wussification-whipping-and-complaining that your foursome parades as ‘girl-power.’ I also must confess that in my group of friends when we meet we talk of global affairs, design trends, the economy, ethics and tons of other things and keep our private sex life details private. I am not a Muslim and neither are my four best friends who were raised in N. America, although one of them is originally Lebanese (and a doctor). For those who wish to argue that SATC represents only privileged white  women, let me say that those best friends are white, educated, middle class and one  of them was born extremely privileged. And yet I can say that hardly any professional/non-professional, grounded, intelligent AND truly liberated women, regardless of their colour or ethnicity or financial status, really have the time of the day to get together for gaggly lunches 4 times a week and obsess about men or analyse every inconsequential statement they made. They’re too busy for that. And there are far more interesting things happening in the world than man-obsession. Really.

Message no. 7: “We crave for consumerism and have no clue of what goes behind, nor global realities.” Hey – girls, how about the sweatshops that make your purses or the bonded labourers who work on the construction sites of Abu Dhabi which created the hotel you salivated over?

There will be many bloggers and female reviewers who will gush about the fashion, the hair, the makeup and yada yada yada. I might be having some girly chip missing – I was born without it. Sure, I do groom myself well, and like keeping fit, but I will never, repeat NEVER understand the appeal of garish overpriced designer clothes and shoes and purses (the cost of which could literally save many lives of street children). Last year on a trip to India, I saw the sweatshops where many Italian companies manufacture their sunglasses and purses before they are shipped off to Italy to get the ‘made in Italy’ stamp and then sold in NYC boutiques. We can argue that these provide the locals with jobs. True. But the money you spend ladies to buy those Fendi purses would fund the education and food of 30 street children per purse. I kid you not. 

I’m writing this here because I do know from personal experience and application how little it costs to sponsor those children due to the currency exchange rates. And I support birth control methods too, because I do strongly believe that people should first think of the reality of the quality of life they will offer their children before making them. But regardless, omission of facts does not take away the reality of the sad manufacturing process of luxury items that are touted as ‘status symbols’. The sweatshops are in many other countries too. So, since pictures speak better than words, I decided to include here instead a behind-the-scenes imagery of what or who lies behind the making of your shoes, purses and clothes that grace your arses. And the appalling conditions under which the construction workers who build your luxury hotels in the U.A.E live. Just a reality check, madames. Omission of facts does not omit the truth about the world. And your fake fantasies do not obliterate the realities behind your royalty:

Sweatshop labourer for designer shoe, Vietnam

Gucci purse worker. Earns $1 an hour.

Awareness ad showing the the reality of the Apple I-Pod worker

Designer fabric beading sweatshop, India

United Arab Emirates – the beds of tired construction workers

Here’s an article on  child labourers used in a GAP sweatshop:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/oct/28/ethicalbusiness.india

On the condition of sweatshop workers for Gucci, Prada and your overpriced status symbols.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sunday-mirror/2007/12/02/designer-labels-sweatshop-scandal-98487-20191613/

And here’s an article on the human rights watch of the construction workers who made your $22,000 a night suites.

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2006/11/11/uae-workers-abused-construction-boom

And hey, Miranda – maybe you could have represented the real tragedy of these girls instead of Samantha’s ‘pain’ of not being kissed in public.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UNqiqm3L90&feature=related

And do you really want to know what goes on behind the fur industry of brand name products as well as cheaper stores? Fur, that Samantha you laughingly wore in the first movie, to feel sexy, and that Carrie and Co. have consistently touted since day one of their TV series that brought back a revival of fur products into city stores through the free advertising they provided? Take a gander with Stella McCartney here who shows the torture and literal anal electrocution of innocent animals whose fur is used for many designer (and non-designer) label clothes.  But perhaps it will make you consider how truly evil women who see fur as sexy and fashionable really must be to knowingly adorn this.  (Unless you’re into bedding those who knowingly endorse the skinning alive of mammals.) There are many alternative warming products available instead of fur.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rhFj2NfBsI (And this has been long known in the fashion industry and still continues! and is furthermore promoted by our ‘fab-four’ throughout the series and in the first SATC film and their star-struck followers. Remarkable, truly mind-rapaciously remarkable!)

If you also wish to see the unbelievably evil skinning-alive-for-fur video that Vogue and other high-fashion authorities have tried to bury please read this post, where there is the facebook link of the video that fashion houses do not want you to see: Literal skinning alive of innocent animals. Warning: That video is too gut-wrenching especially the end. Do NOT watch if you are squeamish. https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/saltationism-of-silliness/

If anyone has some sense of ethics or humanity and rationality in the world, I challenge them to read these, watch the links and then go and watch the movie and then realize just how nauseatingly hedonistic and heartless it seemed. I will be writing a separate post one day on the purse sweatshops I saw run for Italian designers. I want to say to the ladies in privileged countries: we cannot change many conditions, especially for those who were born due to their bad luck into poorer and sadder places, but what many  women in N. America CAN do, is nag and complain a little less, be more aware of global issues instead of their ‘princess attitude’, and stop this hedonistic consumerism that subsists on a slave society of letting the less fortunate slog for your luxuries. And unless you’re so heartless that you endorse the skinning alive of animals not much different than your dog and cat (and including dogs and cats in many countries), STOP buying fur! And shopaholic women – stop wishing  your husbands to become man-servants and instead make them more aware of realities other than your whiny dinner cancellations. And most of all, stop using sex as a negotiation game.

[If you really want to see the end product of what you are promoting here – Charlie Brooker looks at the mini-narcissist ‘princesses’ who have been produced by their mothers in the show Super Sweet 16. Perhaps you will now see how this ‘harmless fun’ & ‘biased misogynistic reviews’ as some rabid women defenders of the film termed this hedonism as is nothing more than a new form of globalized slave society. I would feel more enraged that real misogyny and torture of child workers is not considered by these so-called ‘defenders’ but calling these heartless women out on their emptiness is seen as wrong??!! Wow! ]

Message no. 8: “Male architects are sexy beasts”: Oh boy, the past few years seem to be the comeback era of ‘architect sexiness.’ I had actually written a post on it way before this movie came out: https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/sex-and-the-starchitect/ The only somewhat masculine man (who has not been wussified) featured in this movie is a Danish architect who captivates Samantha’s desires. I actually know quite a few sexy Danish architects in real life and their girlfriends are all introverted non-consumerist grounded women who prefer camping and the outdoors to shoe-a-holicism; my ‘sexy Danish architect’ friends said that Samantha is really ‘not their type.’ That those women embody everything about narcissism and consumerism that Danish urban planners and their current culture has tried so hard to veer away from in the last few decades, leading to their present culture of post-consumerist moderation, eco-sensitive planning and an emphasis on happiness based on less, not more. In fact they were a bit embarrassed by ‘the sexy architect’ stereotype that they get stuck in. “It’s just a fantasy for the American ladies” said one. “They would find us too quiet and frugal if they knew us. And that we don’t want to change to fit into their unrealistic expectations.”  “The reason the architect in the film wanted to fuck her on the beach is because, as a Dane, spending $22,000 on a hotel suite would seem just too much of a waste,” said another. There you have it ladies – your ‘Lawrence of the Labia’ as Sam gushes out doesn’t crave for you enough to pay for even a bed for your booty.

Sorry ladies, I’m not done with my dose-of-reality yet. The sexiest Danish architect by far, creator of the Sydney Opera House, Joern Utzon was happily married to his childhood sweetheart till his death. And a recent extremely popular ‘young sexy Danish architect’ (who shall remain unnamed here for his privacy) had a long-time very sweet, beautiful and highly intelligent girlfriend who makes documentaries to outline human rights injustices and prefers bicycles and camping to anything that remotely resembles the activities Sam & friends partake in. And he is a fan of some really good literary works, reads the philosophy of Nietzsche and is a fan of film maker Charlie Kauffman and Christopher Nolan, all several cuts above the Suzanne Somers book you read and the movies you promote. So there ladies – I’ve given you a reality check of what the sexiest amongst male architects really prefer. Most male architects are quasi-schizoid and are so darn busy with work, they are lucky and grateful when they can maintain one steady relationship and are quite faithful to their partners. The same applies for the ‘sexy women architects’ too ;-) Selfish consumerist Casanovas are not our cup-of-tea either. Perhaps it is a telling message when the above mentioned Danish architect in the movie reminds Samantha that sometimes it is more alluring when a woman waits and shows some restraint.

AFTERTHOUGHTS: Ok – so the series was funny and the first film had some ‘girly-bonding’ substance. (Sorry – I’m not the girly-bonding type– never was, never will be, and my girl friends are individualists, but I can understand the necessity of female-bonding for most women. (Unfortunately  I belong to the INTJ personality-type on the Briggs-Meyers, only 0.005% women are. To the woman who found this ‘offensive’ (?) and sent me personal attacks on the comment section of my post, please know – we were the introverted girls in school who were bullied and left out of groups (and double if we looked nice). Finding our ‘type’ was probably one of the first steps to feeling normal for many INTJ girls. Here’s a link – so you know where our ‘self-confidence’ comes from : http://typelogic.com/intj.html) But as I looked at these ladies grinding out on their over boiled franchise, I thought there is something called the last bow, you know….. it was better to gracefully take the last bow when the going was good than to end up as the ‘last ho’.

And hey – to those supporters of this clueless consumerist propaganda who might think I am some angry ungroomed  unfashionable radical ‘feminist’ – here, pictures speak louder than words. And yes, I have lived and worked in many cities of the world and am not some clueless backwoods girl. London, Paris, Milan, U.A.E – seen it all. As for my knowledge of the U.S. – I lived in Miami for two years, I’m in Cambridge for two years, and will be in Chicago for this summer and then am moving to NYC’s upper east side this fall for the next several years.  And have traveled extensively around many states of this great country, my Canada’s southern neighbour. So I do speak from experience and am not doing any illegitimate lashing at the superficiality promoted in the film. (And also, to that girl who had ‘issues’ against all posters, and while ignoring the 10 pages of sensible stuff I wrote, got belligerent at me  for posting my photo on my own personal site – deal with it.  I refuse to engage in your cyber – ‘challenging’. Lady, if  I really wanted publicity I’d have used my actual name and much better photos since I’ve also done print modeling. And I’d have name-dropped my forefathers well-known in  the poltical histories of  Britain & Sweden. I rather enjoy this anonymity. Have been the silent-behind-the scenes-politically-correct-do-gooder far too long to keep silent and invisible any more, and probably the consumerism touted in this film was the last straw on this camel’s back to speak up.)

You know what feels rather “empowering” to me, Fab-4 ladies? That there are other roads too. When you have made it in a traditionally man’s field through your own hard work and education & because you love your work; When you walk on a site as an architect and conduct yourself with dignity and rationality, in a way that every construction worker and site engineer treats you with RESPECT and not as some easy sex-object; and when you have not discarded femininity in appearance even as towers that define a city’s skyline based on your drawings get built. When you are aware of the inequalities that occur in the world and do your best to help in small ways. How’s THAT for women’s lib, eh? And hey- you DON’T need any overpriced designer-wear nor  indulging-in-male-bashing nor hundreds of lovers  for that.

(Those who wish to know more about what women architects go through, click here: where sexism is part of the architecture Just to know how tough it is to get to the point of building towers. And if you think the problem is men, you’re wrong. As strange as it may sound, the truth is, it’s not men, it’s also women in various self-righteous ‘councils’ and even radical feminist groups who neither promote, nor write about nor let women architects or engineers be more visible in the media : Sex and the Starchitect. In fact, a sincere thanks to the brilliant Christopher Nolan – that for the first time someone (he) wrote and created the character of a smart self-assured woman architect in a movie: Inception. I still have to see any woman screenwriter write of a woman engineer or architect.)

I’ve always questioned – Why should femininity be compromised for feminism? And I think femininity goes far deeper than touting overpriced garish outfits. I do love to cook, and see nothing demeaning about it at all. Yes, I do know how to make coq-o-vin, Carrie.  And speak French too. And think that when a man I love comes home tired after a long day at work, just as he sometimes likes to give me a foot rub on his own when I’m tired, I like to massage his stressed neck and back too instead of whipping him to pamper every whim of mine or accompany me to parties where you can have fun but he cannot even talk to another beautiful  lady because of your insecurity. Because, real love and caring comes with empathy and genuine warmth and being secure and confident at an intrinsic level– something all the ‘vintage Rolexes’ and designer couture and giant-diamond-bribes can’t buy. And Ms. Carrie & Co.– I am OK being a no-nonsense person. Both when with and without a man. Without the need for brand labels. And knowing not just what makes stunning interiors and tall buildings, but what goes on behind the scenes in the lives of the construction workers, the stone quarry workers in far out lands where the granite you walk on comes from, the math behind structural engineering that hold up the towers you show in your opening scenes, and the intricate cycle of production and consumerism and economics and infrastructures. It’s called being a REALIST. And I salute  all the grounded, hard working,  rational, kind-hearted, self-assured, realist women in N.America and around the world, ’cause to me – that’s undeniably  authentically sexy.

Stick that up your labia, for a change ‘stead of those hormone creams. And you’ll realize that perhaps the key to sexiness comes from within. And needs only its own validation of authentic self-affirmation and self-acceptance to operate and bring intrinsic pleasure and joy. Whether your vagine’s virginal or ‘vintage’ (to use Carrie’s ‘in’ word).

Dig Dignity, you know. Often, that’s what represents the It, the je ne sais quoi, the Sexiness that is timeless.

And hey, just for the record – you got that from the mouth of a ‘sexy architect’. I’m sure even the sexiest of Danish architects you lust after would agree with all the facts and realities of life I’ve outlined here ;-)

*  *  *

Sidetracked Alert: To get that consumerist fantasyorgy out of my head, I just watched once again the Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy Before Sunset– probably the most realistic, romantic, grounded beautiful and dignified sequel ever made by an American independent film maker. And just to remind myself that there are still some women out there who can decipher fakeness from authenticity, I read these two witty, grounded, and oh-so-true articles written by Dr. Palmatier – You are Not a Princess (click here) & Blahniks for Selfish Chicks (click here.)

Finally – Some Sense in this City, indeed!

*  *  *

(1) For a post on the lack of role models for young girls in the media today : https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/racqueting-on-a-grass-court/

(2) Do architects think of sex too much? Sex and the Starchitect : https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/sex-and-the-starchitect/

(3) For THE “ART’ OF COLOURING THROUGH RGB COMPOSITES OF LANDSAT7 & TERRA SATELLITE IMAGES click  here

(4) Thoughts on the relativity of happiness….This too shall pass.

(5) I’d rather go for the Monty Pythonesque Silly Walk than endorse the hideous YSL/Gucci/Prada Vogue-endorsed deigner purses made out of skinned alive animals for their fur : Saltationism of Silliness

*  *  *

NOTE: I’m non-religious (and more a scientist & rationalist) and do not think ‘values’ of rationality or ethics are tied to religion per se.


42 thoughts on “Sweatshops for your Sex and the City Too

  1. What a TERRIFIC, spot-on post! Can’t believe – and this coming from a woman! Wow!

    Love all your points and observations. So valid. So true!

    S

  2. Another good one, Gipsy Geek! Hilarious, as hell of course.

    This should be a must-read for many women in N.America who have placed more value on a lifestyle of excess and overpriced shoes than look at the reality of the world around them.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there. You’re a brave woman! keep it up!

    • Hey Thanks a ton, Fiddler & SJB.

      Sorry for the delay! It’s my fault – since you’ve become regular readers, but this is one article probably where the support for facts and rationality counted a lot. Or oh wait….maybe I’ll need it even more when I side Carl Sagan & Dennet? soon to come….

      Thanks!

  3. Being a guy not into chick-flicks, I got into the television series very late and moderately enjoyed some of the story lines and what was valuable and fresh. I was very disappointed with the first film and have no interest in the seeing the second.

    There is a lot to say and look at when discussing the regressive and consumerist themes pervading our culture in general, and our forms of entertainment, specifically. You’ve accurately touched on a lot, Gypsy Geek. Arrested, underdeveloped and impulsive psychologies, economic interests and devilishly savvy marketing make for difficult knots to unwind in the minds of unreflective people.

    I find it funny the Sex in the City movies are being likened to the Star Wars films for guys, clearly and only in terms of anticipation and hype. It would have been nice to see a little more Princess Leia and a little less princess distress in these kinds of films.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Ronen.

      Especially for pointing out the consumerist hedonism this movie is attempting to promote. Valid observations,indeed!

      As well, I think what the difference between Star Wars & SATC is: Star Wars (and Star Trek and I’m a fan of both – geek that I am) – are pure fantasies set in the future. No guy actually expects (at least in the present age) in REALITY to go off to different planets fighting with imaginary aliens.

      SATC, on the other hand, is a ‘fantasy’ created in the real world which became a cultural turning point for many women and propelled them to not be realists in their dating and financial lives and instead search for wussified Mr. Rights and spend a remarkable time of their self-worth tied to the frequency of sexual encounters. It decided to tackle ‘real’ issues and projected unrealistic expectations out of relationships closer to the Disney princess syndrome, but worse – projected this as an ‘achievable ideal’ in the real world. At the ‘justification’ of excess materialism and pathological narcissism. The problem never was the sexual excess, it was more the ‘attachment of feminine self-worth to penis count and shoe/bag hoarding.’ The only people who profited from this were shoe/bag/credit card companies and non-committal men who were thrilled now to openly use women as sex objects.

      A real space age fantasy is viewed as a fantasy. Star Wars had Jungian themes of Campbellesque ‘hero’s tales’. I don’t think most good men in N. America nag their partners on why they cannot be Princess Leia or have supernatural powers or fight with laser beams.

      On the other hand, SATC2 is a chick flick that many real women think should be the norm how their husbands and ‘princessed’ wives should behave in reality. It has caricatured what women’s lib really is or should be and pushed a culture of entitled, nagging consumerists who place a lot of extreme expectations on their men in relationships and lash out when they don’t act like servile princes. As Susan Douglas has rightly written in her book – it tries to mask differences in some form of misconstrued feminism. ‘Dress like a man’ or ‘act like a man’ has now been turned into ‘have sex like a man’ losing quite a lot of dignity in the process. Not to mention the loss of self-esteem amongst young teens who start off with multiple sexual encounters far too early in the U.S. and feel peer pressure to do so; and as surveys have shown often unfortunately begin to tie their popularity to sexual performance and frequencies.

      And this IS the reality it has fostered: http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/gold-digger-entitled-wall-street-wives-bailing-on-their-husbands/

  4. I agree with all but two points:

    1) Not sure how much SITC caused all of this wild, sentimental, superficial nonesense or is simply an accurate reflection of it. Perhaps we can agree that it certainly contributed to it.

    2) You’d be surprised how many men in America are upset about not having super-powers, laser battles and a girl more like the Queen of Alderan :)

    • Ha Ha! I agree on both fronts!

      perhaps there should be a man’s movement to gain back some chutzpah that has been handed on a platter – since so many N. American men had to pay the price for the suppression of women in OTHER parts of the world? Today’s Clint Eastwood’s b’day and I was thinking – his strong silent character of ‘the man without a name’ could give Mr. Big a run for his money ANY day!

  5. My thoughts were exactly the same when I saw this awful consumerist propaganda of women refusing to act with some dignity!!! I found it so disturbing that these self-centred females are representing first-world ‘womanhood’ to the world! Thanks for speaking up!

    very good you put out the sweatshop photos – high time someone showed the reality of the glitz.

    As for the ‘righteous’ women who would rather oppose you due to their own insecurity, instead of taking a stand against the real insecure shopaholics – we know it, don’t we? they always oppose the brave woman who stands alone – and in earlier days would have burnt her off at the stake. I am one of those 10% women in architecture too, and know how instead of supporting us, women from more ‘traditionally female’ professions like to look the other way. Or worse, trash us instead of supporting us. As you’d once written in a post I’d liked a lot about female bullying, that women complain ‘there are not enough women with healthy self-esteem’ but when one comes along with some chutzpah they take lengths to shoot her down. So true!

    Be brave – I’m in my 20s and am glad there’s someone like you out there with some sense and sensibility and DIGNITY. You have the support of girls like us.

  6. Thank you so much Archi_Girl!

    Both for your wisdom and support. It means much – and glad you could see the real intent behind this post.

    I’m glad that a few young women like you (not surprisingly in engineering and architecture) have chosen to be more grounded and secure and not get swayed by this late 90s hedonism. Thank you for YOUR sense and sensibility!

    Best wishes.

  7. Thanks! Forgot to add: your writing’s funny as hell – like the way you blend social issues while injecting humor!

  8. If there was ever a character on that show who consistently failed to demonstrate any strength, it is Mr. Big.

    • It’s sadly telling of our times then, isn’t it that Mr. Big represents ‘manhood’ & Carrie represents ‘womanhood’ these days? How did it all get to this?

      Feel like going back to the oldies – just for the dignity & quiet strength the men and women displayed……

  9. I read your post and a few other articles and REALLY liked this.

    You go girl! Thanks for pointing out the truth finally and for calling a spade a spade. the reality of the goods, the sweatshops, the complete ‘wussification’ of men in first world countries, the stupid books many selfish women read, the excess of undignified women who act like sluts(sorry), expecting love by men to be shown only by expensive gifts even when he works hard and comes home tired to hear her nagging….many men have felt this for the last 10 years but are too afraid to say as we’d be called sexist.

    Thank you for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

    Men do have feelings and get tired too – but selfish women just don’t want to admit it. It’s all about them always.

    Please don’t let those jealous women get to you – instead of thanking you they are showing their true colours because you’re beautiful. It shows. As you’ve written, if you really wanted publicity you’d have done glamour shots. Jealous women will always be jealous of the real ones. Insecure women – Learn from this architect – instead of tying her to the stake! and work on your self esteem through education, self reliance and dignity, not the stupidities that SATC2 teaches!

    Your post was an eye-opener of what we have really brought our masculinity to. My brother’s girlfriend dragged him to watch this film, screams when he watches sports and negotiates sex, and never cooks saying it’s sexist. Now we men cook, clean, work, have to spend our earnings to buy super expensive gifts, have to be great in bed, great in life, never complain and this movie actually endorses and promotes this! It’s been made mostly by gay men – but gay men don’t have to live with these women – so how are they defining what straight men want or feel? It’s ridiculous. Illogical!! yet we put up with this!

    I’ve had it – and sorry, had to vent – I live in the UK but this post should be made viral and sent to every man in the UK and the US. Wake up! Stop paying the price for your forefathers sexism or those of men from more conservative cultures. They go free and we, men in the west, are whipped for their crimes in relationships. We really can’t take it anymore – being the nice-guy serving materialistic women!

    Thank you. Just thank you for calling reality reality and showing that women’s freedom can be achieved in much better ways in the west than this hedonistic orgy. Can’t believe they showed this film in this economy. Part of the mess is because they kept buying more and more than they could afford! Greed – and the movie promotes more greed and more women are lapping it all up without any reality-check or dignity -check.

    btw – I’m an engineer too and know well the horrible conditions under which the workers in the U.A.E work to build those palaces for princesses.

    Also, finally – thanks for the humour!

    Keep up the work!

  10. Matt,

    Thank you for feeling so strongly.

    I can understand some of your frustrations as perhaps can many men. But just objectively, it is possible that women who show such a lack of empathy (as your brother’s gf) might suffer from BPD and NPD (you may look that up on the ‘Shrink for Men’ site on the blogroll.) The trouble is the media and many movies and tv shows glamourize this behaviour and so even normal women begin to act like borderline and narcissistic women. This is how the ‘selfishness’ or ‘princess’ movement started.

    And yes, only if more rational women can point this out and men can understand that BPD/NPD/HPD behavior is not normal and they can decipher more grounded women where there is more empathy on both sides of the relation (both from men and women) it will be a much more equal world where both nice girls and nice guys won’t have to be pushed down.

    And yes, global realities should be spoken of. Even if it takes away the ‘sparkle’ from the materialism. Omission of facts does not make the truth or reality disappear. Rather knowledge helps in making people more socially responsible if even in small ways.
    Best.

  11. “Sorry – I’m not the girly-bonding type– never was, never will be, and my girl friends are balanced individualists, but I can understand the necessity of ‘female-bonding’ for most women. (Unfortunately I belong to the INTJ personality-type on the Briggs-Meyers, only 0.005% women are)”

    Sorry but it sounds like you may have an issue. [edited comment due to a harsh personal attack and presumption passed on my character. explanation in my reply.]

    The film was crap but you seem to have missed the point and offended your own gender.

    • Magic,

      I strongly recommend you read this before:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2005/feb/19/workandcareers.jobsandmoney1

      I also have to say that the the term ‘ladies’ addressed in almost all the post is those four ‘ladies’ in the film, not women in general – this is a cynical and sarcastic post against what the ‘fab-4’ are trying to teach and a hypothetical address to them when I address ‘ladies, you know…’ etc.

      Magic, Your IP address shows you as the same girl (you know who you are and your other rants on that other site) but I will try my best to make you understand without engaging in the ‘debate’ you have tried to have for a while as a SJP fan.

      I have written this very gently. I would also advise you to read up INTJs. I have combated bullying for many years in school from other women, and it took a lot of strength to get where I am, and to become an architect who could actually build towers.(if you read the above link) You may wish to read my Sex and the Architect article before getting offended. Finding out two years back that I was an INTJ was a huge relief after years of wondering why I could not ‘fit’ in with most women, but only with a particular type who thought in more analytical and independent ways. And reading about the particular eccentricities of INTJs was an exceptional source of ‘aha’ moments finally. This type is so rare amongst women, we have online support groups. This has not stopped me from doing field work in other areas, but I am writing this to you to understand with kindness that what might come across as something offensive to you is a neurological way of wiring that perhaps gives us an advantage in independent thinking – you may wish to look that up.

      My lack of girly-bonding comes from Aspie – type qualities. It is extremely rare in women (and the high functioning ones are mostly amongst women in computers, engineering and architecture). We ‘think in pictures’. I am not socially inept, and years in dance and gymnastics didn’t cause any probs in body fexibility but the ‘theory of group bonding’ that comes to most women naturally is not present in Aspies. Simon Baron Cohen’s tests revealed my brain-systematization quotient (or the analytical mind) at 66/80. Normal women have it at 24. Normal men at 30. hardly any women have it that high. This is not trying to be different or so, it is just a brain difference from more ‘socializing’ types. I do feel empathy, and extreme kindness but can show these in actions, not the way women can talk out problems and support each other, which is wonderful and we wish we could do more, but just can’t or have to learn. To put it bluntly – the way that 0.005% women behave is very similar to stoic geeky men (like female versions of Mr. Spock or Dr. House or maybe the character Lara Croft.) where logic and facts or rationality precedes any emotional feel-good or touchy feely stuff. There’s a saying – ‘if you want the blunt truth, ask an aspie.’ For instance if a girl asks us ‘Do I look fat in the skirt’ if she does – we will say so. It becomes a struggle to understand why the ‘fact’ should not be spoken and we fail to understand that instead the person was fishing for a compliment. We often feel hurt when misunderstood because we were trying to do the best to point ‘facts’ and not understand social cues or innuendos.

      Had I written my posts as geared to encourage younger women with INTJ qualities to know there are others like them in that 0.005% of the population, it would not have been viewed as being snobbish to other women. We have already been isolated enough to get where we are (mostly by other girls)…..most other women will not understand this because to them bonding and grouping comes easily, neurologically to them since childhood. We have tried for years and are often rejected by groups, because of viewing the world in a diff. way due to our brain wiring. Later many of us have found that our IQs are extremely high – and this comes as a relief after years of being made to feel left out by girly groups.

      Feminist writers often talk of the sexism faced by many women, but the 10% women in technical fields are largely ignored. We are women too, and our struggles are doubled in battling both male sexism created precisely by the stereotyped images of ‘femininity’ such as that represented in SATC2′, and because other women do not understand the inherent difficulties of ‘bonding’ in groups with other women through acts like shopping, tea parties, discussing relationships etc. which is very difficult for us to do. It feels forced (which is perhaps why we can understand geeky men better.) Now INTJs/INTPs are people who are similar in the aspie-lack of small talk. After years of trying to ‘not get in the way’ I finally decided to laugh about our condition and put out the weird brand of ‘facts, sarcasm & blunt way of seeing the world’ that comes with this syndrome. (There is a particular brand of humour that we understand – Monty Python, xkcd, and others that can often come across as offensive to neurotypicals.) But weirdly it is that determination or ‘does it work?’ criterion mantra that if used positively, women INTJs s can become remarkably self-assured instead of being suppressed through bullying. I decided to use that to help other similar girl readers.

      I understand where your other line (which I have edited as it was highly misplaced and vitriolic) was coming from and I am sorry you feel that way. I did not wish to talk about the socializing limitations of INTJs because I want them to know that it is something that makes them unique and they should not take it as something to hold themselves back. We tend to view the world through logic and partake in problem solving through ethical action, not necessarily words all the time. But because of the way this article might be perceived by women who have never had to deal on a daily basis and understand the roles in our society, I have had to reveal my truth. There was a separate post I’d wished to write one day to explain of ‘picture- thinking’, but this post was written earlier.

      This blog is like my personal journal – it’s based on my opinions and those opinions are not something I wish others to necessarily follow or teach. And yes, it does have a readership amongst women in architecture. And women aspies are like having extremely technical straight men’s brains born into female bodies but along with softer traits such as great empathy for animals and children. Here is an article about a female Aspie. I hope you will understand why the ‘normal’ world and normal human behaviour often appears so confusing to us. We also are very naive sometimes in the mating ritual (we do not understand flirting and games) and don’t sleep around much, by default. But society has been taught so much by more ‘girly’ shows on how all girls behave or should behave. Men see this and often think : ‘oh – all women are like that – like the stac2 girls or emotional girls’ – which is untrue for us.
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200611/aspie-in-the-city

      I have written this long post only to make you understand with empathy. I am sorry I have unintentionally offended you. I’d wanted to focus on our logic and strength in the blog, and for other archi- girls to know that they can go far in life and do many things and to use their INTJ condition as a motivator, not to feel left out. And feel sexy and ultra-feminine too without the prescribed ways on TV, without subscribing to brand worship. Susan Anthony also was an INTJ with the condition, as was writer Jane Austen & Emily Dickinson. Also several women scientists. Fictional intj women include Elizabeth Bennett, Lisa Simpson, Dagny Taggart, Uhura, Lara Croft, Jo (from Little Women).And the recent Lisbeth Salander from the Stieg Larson trilogy. After years of trying to ‘fit’ in women’s groups we resort to individualism because there is no other way left for us. If more women were understanding of how it feels to be left out by women’s groups maybe they would stop bullying the individualistic girls in school or even stop being jealous of their self-assuredness. Thankfully, due to the internet more women have been able to find support groups.

      Thank you for your comment nonetheless and may you find inner peace in life instead of resorting to projection.

  12. Gipsy, don’t apologise for who you are. Ok, I understand that you’re simply trying to communicate your thought processes, but I think you may be giving too much weight to concepts such as “INTJ” and “Aspie”

    I really don’t like labels. Psychologists and other so called experts always want to slot people into neat little boxes, so that they can delude themselves that they really understand what makes you tick, and then tell you how they believe you should be thinking and living.

    I call bollocks to that. Ok, the science of psychology has achieved many useful discoveries, but one has to be careful how close to your heart you take certain concepts, especially considering that up till now, psychology has been way too focused on trying to find what is wrong with someone, in my opinion, rather than focusing on how to create, promote and strengthen what is good.

    The danger of labels is precisely that if you believe them, you condition yourself to comply with someone else’s idea of what you are supposed to be. “Oh, I’m INTJ. So I’m this and this and that, then”. There’s also something called ‘self fulfilling prophecy’, meaning that if you believe some description about yourself, you may start to emphasise acting and thinking in ways that make it true, even if in reality you were never limited by such a restrictive concept (that is, until you learned about that label and believed it).

    This whole business of profiling people into personality types which carry a whole lot of expectations, should be nothing more than an interesting game. It may even give you helpful insights, make you aware of some things you didn’t really notice, but let’s not go and fall hook, line and sinker for someone else’s idea of what we are supposed to be. Screw all that. You are you. Period.

    The reality is that the really fundamental things in life cannot really be assessed or quantified. Find me a psychologist who can give us a universal definition of concepts like love, justice, or true happiness. There are as many definitions as there are individuals. Everyone must find his or her own path.

    I read a bit of the article you linked to, about Asperger’s syndrome. How one interprets’s ‘symptoms’ can vary greatly. For example, if one symptom is what they call ‘obsessive focus’, well, such a deep focus is common to anyone who has a passion for something, at least on occasion. I remember once taking over 300 consecutive takes of an 8 bar part of a guitar solo I was trying to record. Just total focus, and when I stopped, I hadn’t even realised that I had been playing that part close to two hours non stop. I had been so absorbed into the task, it was like active meditation. So does that mean I’m an Aspie too? Who cares?

    Of course I won’t deny that there are certain conditions that can limit what someone is able to do. But looking at the CV you described, you certainly don’t strike me as someone who has been limited in what she was able to achieve :)

    I think in fact that your analysis of sex and the city and the implied social mechanisms was spot on. Ok, I’m a man. So maybe you think more ‘like a man’ than a ‘typical woman’ (which typical woman, anyway? one of those on sex and the city??).
    Then again, so what? Probably the world needs more women who think like men, anyway.

    Just embrace who you are and follow your path. Other people’s definitions and the limitations they imply, are only important if we give them importance.

    Take care

  13. Thank you Phantom, I still have to get back to you on that previous mail.

    I am aware too of self-fulfilling prophecies and I’m happy to say that only in the last 2 years I found the ‘type’. But it was a huge relief! So the previous many years of my life I was happy to feel that everything had been done on its own accord and I’d not been influenced by labels. I agree with you absolutely on the psychology part too. That labels should not be used. But Aspie-ness has now been proven through neuroscience and one of my very dear friends is a Harvard neuroscientist.

    Basically gender ‘differences’ can often come down to how we are activating more connections in the brain or how we even perceive ourselves. For instance little girls told they’re not good at math and should shop, might actually make it so not because they believed so, but because of the diminishing messages they received. (which is the problem of what movies like satc2 support). But maybe women who were told ‘you can go as far as you want or just as a man or a ‘person’ can’ simply don’t get detracted by social propaganda. I think other women should encourage them rather than thinking they’re acting ‘different’.

    When we tout individuality and don’t have ‘labels’, or simply are happy being ourselves (as I’ve been for years – ok not following any trends) for some reason we’ve to become even more defensive to stand alone. So labels sometimes act as self-preservation. And true if aspie was a condition, all engineers and architects must have it because we’re so detail oriented and place logic before emotion. But precisely because of that quality, bridges don’t collapse, elevators works, electric and sewage systems work….The world owes a lot to aspie engineers and the women in the field are probably the most underrepresented. We are mostly introverted and it’s very weird when we realize we’ve to ‘act’ to behave in the way extroverted women do. Often our self-assurance or happiness can be mistaken as pride after we have fought back in life despite the bullying we faced in school from ‘the popular girls’, ‘the mean girls’ or any other group. Or be misunderstood by well-meaning but more socially active women. But I can understand now why this happens and can empathise with other women too to see their point of view. I understand and empathize with the other woman’s comment too. She was letting her perspective known and I’m sure when she becomes more aware, she will be more understanding. And also know where I’m coming from.

    Many musicians are aspies too, as the tech inventors. It’s just more rare in girls.

    Thanks for your points. And if we look at the history of evolution it is true that the non-groupy ‘thinking women’ in the past were burnt off as witches – because many women would accuse them of attracting men even if these girls were introverted or had independent ideas. And because they were aloof, the men often got upset. (It was the old version of what happened in the movie Malena) In your other post (on Clint), the women you mentioned sound more like having BPD and NPD (You may go on the Shrink 4 Men site as there are so many engineers who have faced these women. Or the princess-syndrome without any good-heartedness.)

    I think a lot of misunderstandings occur simply due to the lack of grounded, scientific knowledge.
    I am sure even if the actresses in real life (who seem to be nice women) were informed about the truth behind what they touted, they would have stepped in and spoken of better causes. They too had to follow the script and direction. But the irony is that this movie has been written, directed etc. by gay men (I do have many gay designer friends, so I understand and have nothing against) and this was like a fanatsy for them too. But the problem is that gay men don’t have to live with real women – yet this series touted ‘pointers and lessons’ to straight men how to behave in relations for a long time! There in lay the irony and lack of logic.

    And yes – you are right – I do think like a ‘man’ – very visually, and relating more to measurements, dimensions, actions, technology etc. And though I write a lot of poetry as well, sappy situations overwhlem me and I avoid them. I love logic, rationality and puzzle solving just for its own sake. I want men in engineering and architecture to know that the women in the field do think differently than more socially-oriented women, and not to ‘punish’ us for the stereotypes of ‘femininity’ created by the media. heck, i think even most socially conscious women cannot relate to the women depicted here. But unfortunately, we have to ask – who is deciding what ‘image’ to sell to other girls to follow? And sadly the glorified icons nowadays are women displaying BPD, NPD and HPD – these are traits not to be followed and yet they are by even nice women. The nicer women too then feel peer pressure to act that way. I think therein lies the problem.

    You may wish to read the post ‘A Heartfelt Comment’ of the isolation faced by that minority of women who are born with technical brains but have not compromised their femininity.

    I think just as men suffered by following male leaders with NPD (all the dictators of the world), women will suffer if they see screen icons depicting BPD/NPD because both these gender ‘leaders’ seem very attractive to young men and women but they lead on self-destructive paths.

    Thanks for your participation on the board.

  14. I’m a woman and I want to simply say “Bravo”! to you. I found this to be a very well-researched, well written article.

    The woman who says “you’ve offended your gender” – one disgruntled reader who takes issue over a truthful line in parentheses at the end of a long post does not represent an entire “gender.” I am a woman too, and I am so glad that you wrote this and pointed out that true empowerment of women is something so different from what this hedonistic meaninglessness tried to endorse. I’d be ashamed to be classified into what these four displayed as “modern womanhood.”

    The articles you have included in the links are harsh and so real, and so true, I cannot believe how people can choose to ignore these facts of the reality of the world they live in every time they give in to the greed of getting a frivolous status symbol to fill a hole in their absent self-esteem. This was no CGI space guy fantasy – it was the real fanatsy many clueless and selfish women wish to live on the backs of the gritty truth of production. Their fantasy is created through commerce and sweatshops.

    The least we can do in privileged countries is to complain a little less – you write. Well said. We can do a lot more than that too. But thank you for stating the truth for what it is. And for having the courage to point out that the emperor has no clothes. If it took an Intj or “aspie” as you write to speak up the truth, I’d rather have it coming from someone who is neurologically given to speaking the truth objectively only as an aspie truly can, instead of the PC falsities that pass around for posts these days.

    The film was an insult to both femininity and feminism. I watched it tonight, remembered this post I’d read a week back, and felt I had to comment. Because after watching that greedfest I can see where your analysis came from fair and square. Keep up your brave work and as a poster above wrote, you do not have to apologize for who you are. You are a woman I feel proud to share my gender with.

    As well, I am a tech-brained woman too, and proud to be one, and for having worked hard and studied hard in life. Also I have never compromised my femininity either. It is good to know there are others; and to no longer have to remain invisible in case we “offend” others. We’ve been invisible for too long and I can’t take this stupidity either of what is projected by the media as “womanhood.” We are women too and are smart and sexy – and if our self-assuredness after years of hard work and strength from being former bullying victims is seen as some threat to those who love these consumerist over-spenders, then I’ll simply have to state your line too to them – “Deal with it!!” But we’ll no longer be silent and let samples like these represent some collective “epitome of womanhood” to the world any more.

    K-S

    • Miss K-S

      Thank you immeasurably. Wow – I do tend to veer off with long replies, so I’ll keep this one brief – but words can’t express how grateful I feel for your comment and your insight, and the courage to speak up.

      You should celebrate what you have achieved through hard work and your own efforts and education! And never let the nay-sayers bring you down. Thank you for also understanding that we need more representatives who can balance feminism with femininity and know that the ways to true empowerment of woman is nothing of the kind this movie was trying to sell itself as.

      Many would argue it is a silly movie – but when you see the global cycle of production and consumption – the media that influences mercenary status symbol incites the housewife to go buy many products from the local wal-mart which in turn has helped the economy of China which in turn funds the oil war militias in Sudan and then you later have some celebrity saying ‘Darfur peace’ while endorsing yet another product that will set the cycle again. This is just one cycle as there are many others – the end products of unsustainable consumerism. So yes – accountability does start through small realities and it is drops that fill a bucket before it is tipped over. So the drops are important.

      Thank you so much for your words and your own self assuredness which shows through them.

      GG

  15. An extraordinary landscape of themes and view points.
    Impressive display of discernment, observation and critique.
    Loved the connection and relation of consumerism with sweatshops and enslaving workers conditions.
    The tone is at times a bit cynical. But I think constructiveness driven by genuine love does the trick every time (whether we see it or not!).
    Keep it up, your gift is summit-like.
    Love,
    RG

    • Thank you for your words.

      It’s not any ‘gift’ – just a straight un-sugar-coated dose of reality with good ol’ logic and rationality that most people can cultivate should they want to.

      Many people in the world prefer to see the ‘glossy end product’ rather than wish to know the truth of production and process. And hey – even when I watch CGI films I often wonder the hours and hours and hours those dedicated computer graphics geeks spent to create it and how instead the main actors walk off with the spotlight.

  16. Overall, this was a good review and I was heartened by the links to the people who make all the stuff the SATC bots consume and throw away. And I certainly agree with you about production and process, although my brain is not wired the same way yours is.

  17. hi, i couldn’t stop myself from commenting. I have just watched the movie and I was cringing for 2 whole hours.

    I am from abu dhabi and I have to say that that movie was absolute crap. Do they really think that women here are suppressed and backward? hello, we come from a country where 90% of all women have a university education. 90 percent! we actually get up at 6am in the morning and commute to work and moan and bitch about our boss and workload just like western women do.

    we are architects, graphic designers, doctors, accountants, etc. and at the same time we are also conservative and we choose (let me repeat this again, WE CHOOSE, not our “men”, but the women here actually make a decision) to have it that way. what is wrong with dressing conservatively and modestly? does it affect my work, education, life? no. i believe i have a better life. never in a million years would i trade in my passport for a western one. i am happy being a wife, a graphic designer and a mother – and i am happy doing it dressed in black.

    if anyone enjoyed that movie and its stereotypical Aladdin and Jasmine themed crap where you actually think that dressing like a hooker at 52 and waving condoms around any market in any corner of the world is liberating and hilarious…wake up or get a better education.

    i’m sorry for unloading all that on to you guys but thank you so much for the article, it was spot on.

    • Thanks SO much Mimi for your comment.

      And don’t feel sorry – what you have written is so true, so valid, more women from Abu Dhabi should be speaking up on this as you have. The media always focusses here on the plight of some of the atrocities that happen in the rural islamic villages and then brand the ENTIRE middle eastern women in the same camp. How wrong! Why do the American and Canadian women in the media not speak up on the Arab WOMEN engineers, doctors, designers, artists, architects, professors, journalists, tv hostesses there?! (the tv hostesses being so beautiful that they would have outshone this foursome anyday.)They always like to take the condescending attitude as though women’s ‘lib’ can only be through random sex-with-strangers and not through dignity and education and as though except Americans all other cultures have ‘backward’ women. Of course there are many American women who are also enraged by the disrespectful message this movie sent and they are equally upset by the indignity and its shallowness, but I think it is time more women from Abu Dhabi spoke up on how wrong the stereotyping shown in the movie is.

      Honestly when I saw this movie I was wishing that firebrand architect Zaha Hadid could just kick their asses and get them out of that Alladin hotel and show them some REAL sophisticated CLASSY contemporary designs! Then we’d see if Carrie & Co. are the chic ones with their kitschy tastes or the likes of Hadid & the Hariri sisters – to name some of the most avant garde designers of our time – who as it happens are Arab women and ultra self-reliant and ultra smart.

      The hypocrisy in the movie is unbelievable – would they care to mention that the largest stake of skyscrapers in NYC’s downtown core is owned by the Abu Dhabi investment council or that Americans from New York rush to build in Abu Dhabi – and YET they show a few cliched images of stereotypes about Abu Dhabi’s women?! Maybe the men in Abu Dhabi can make so much money precisely because they don’t have undignified wives like Carrie and Samantha ;-)

      Anyway – thanks again Mimi for your apt comment. I hear you – and from my travels there and my friends there I can say that I have met SO many super smart, talented, beautiful and dignified, highly educated and independent women from the U.A.E and Abu Dhabi, that it pained me that they were stereotyped so poorly in this utterly undignified move. I am myself a mix of many different countries (though I’m a Canadian) and often get mistaken of belonging to many other countries too…and I have to laugh at the stereotypes that prevail. For instance if I’m mistaken as fully French – I’m seen as ‘romantic’, if mistaken as Arab – then I’m supposed to be ‘very conservative/suppressed’, as Sicilian – ‘connected to the mafia?’, Indian – then I must be doing ‘arranged marriages’, or when mistaken as Brazillian – then I’m supposed to be of ‘loose morals and should be objectified as a sex-bomb.’ This movie has unfortunately also stereotyped American women and many grounded & modest American women have also cringed at how Samantha & Carrie have stereotyped and cheapened their portrayal.

      It baffles me at times to see the stereotypes that are freely endorsed through films and how viewers jump on the sterotype bandwagon especially of eastern countries. Or the way women of other cultures are given just some one dimensional portrayal (either exotic/ backward/ over-religious/ naive and simple – all in all, always showing the Hollywood actress as the ONLY woman capable of a 3 -dimensional character and all the rest into some exotic minimalist label at whose price Ms. Holywood feels ‘greater’)without showing the REALITY of the wide spectrum of women in other countreis. And the reality of Abu Dhabi is that 90% of its women are educated. A truth probably too hard for the likes of Samantha to digest who view ‘having sex like a man’ as the ONLY road to girl-power. How sad. How truly sad.

      Thanks again.

  18. You have a technique for conveying things, that is certainly rather straightforward. Many thanks for the clear and concise details.

  19. Haha I love that you had to specify that the article is for INTJ type humor. Maybe there should be some kind of icon to put on things warning other types to enter at their own risk?

  20. I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read earlier. I am still pondering over the various points of view, but I’m inclined to a great extent toward yours. And regardless, that’s what is so great about advanced democracy and the marketplace of thoughts on-line.

  21. This great article encouraged me very much!
    Saved your site, extremely excellent topics in each post! I really appreciate the information, thanks.

  22. Hi there. Great Article. I’m a New York fashion designer; all my production is made in Vietnam. We are a different sort of fashion house, we are a social enterprise, half of our profits go towards a program that rehabilitate bonded workers especially those sold into sweatshops. We’re in the process of creating an artisan center where volunteer designers and artisans share their knowledge and experiences to our recipients.

    At any rate, I’m interested in the picture of the Vietnamese sweatshop girl you posted. Could you connect me to the photographer? I would like to know the story behind that picture. Given the sensitivity of this matter in Vietnam, it is really hard to reach a trustworthy network of “freedom fighters”.

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

    • Lanvy,

      Thank you for the work you do. It is absolutely wonderful that your profits go to rehabilitate bonded laborers. I may wish to interview you for a future blog I’m starting on the side which will contain interviews with interesting people.

      Sorry for the delay in replying – but I was trying to get to the source of that photo after I got your comment. It was in fact sent by a friend of mine in Vietnam who works as a lawyer but is originally from Canada. It was sent a long time back and I asked him to let me know where he’d got it. But now even he can’t track down the original mail where he’d received it :(

      So I’m sorry I don’t have the exact source of the photo now, but I’ll keep trying. Do keep me informed of your rehabilitation programs. And do keep up your great work. Could you send more details about your enterprise directly by e-mail? I live in New York too.

      Regards,
      GG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s