As someone who didn’t experience Sex and the City in real-time, but rather through sporadic reruns years later, I never quite understood the mania surrounding the show. Sure, it was entertaining and an adequate reference for what it was like during the late ’90s and early ’00s, but it didn’t seem overly innovative or provocative. But now, looking back, SATC undoubtedly worked to extinguish harmful gender stereotypes and brought the idea of the “modern woman” to a wider, more mainstream audience: It showed women who had sex, careers, and strong friendships, and most importantly, it showed women who weren’t concerned with becoming housewives. In a NeueHouse discussion with A.M. Homes, Margo Jefferson, and ELLE Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers, actress Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on the show, addressed exactly how Sex and the City changed perspectives with feminist ideals.
“At the time that Sex and the City was out, there was a lot of very heated and interesting debate about the show and about whether the show was feminist or not,” Nixon said. “To all of us making the show, there was no doubt that the show was feminist. But...people think that if women are wearing a certain type of clothing, particularly with high heels, that ipso facto they’re not interested in anything else. And that’s just not [true].”
Still, the series didn’t completely change mindsets, not even in the film industry. Initially, Nixon revealed, studios were concerned that the Sex and the City films would only appeal to female audiences, which was not only problematic, but untrue. “Women are interested in war the way men are interested in war. And men are interested in domestic life the way women are interested in domestic life, you know?” she said. “We shouldn’t just think that because we’re doing something on a domestic level that men aren’t going to be interested. But also, by the way, there are enough of us that if they make a movie and only women come, it’s important to remember: that’s enough.”
Nixon also touched on how people, specifically one interviewer, thought Miranda was a “woman who wants it all” archetype. “I was like, ‘That could not be further from the truth,‘” the actress said. “The thing that was really interesting about Miranda is that she never thought about ‘having it all.’ She only thought about her career, and the fact that she ended up as a mother and the fact that she ended up as a wife was just an accident, and a very kind of welcome accident.”