We all know that stuff made for ladies is LAME and NOT AS COOL as stuff made for men, right? Like how dumb actions movies are COOL because explosions and hot chicks are COOL but dumb romantic comedies are embarassing and a desire to watch them must be hidden in the dark part of your soul where you keep shameful things like that time you peed yourself.
That's the only explanation for why I didn't admit I liked "Sex and the City" until almost a decade after the first episode aired. I didn't watch the show when it was on air -- as far as I was concerned, it was a stupid show for stupid girls.
I remember during my internship at BUST Magazine hearing an editor there casually refer to an SATC episode and being totally shocked that a "cool" woman would admit to having watched the show. It was some time after that when I decided to rent the first season on DVD. I proceeded to watch every single episode in one of those TV-induced crack hazes like the one that kept me and the boyfriend up til 2 am watching just one more episode of "The Wire." I enjoyed the shit out of "Sex and the City."
I basically wore those Groucho Marx glasses and used that funny voice like when Homer pretended to be Mr. Burns every time I would go to get a new disc from Blockbuster.
Then whenever my boyfriend came home while I was engrossed in an SATC episode, I would literally flip the channel real fast like when my parents used to come home while I was watching the sexy parts of "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle." That's how deep my Sex and the City shame ran -- I hid it from the person who once had to SHOWER ME when I had too much to drink and puked all over myself.
And In retrospect, the ONLY reason I was ashamed was because it was a show made for and marketed to women. The same prejudice kept me from admitting to my enjoyment of "Gilmore Girls," "America's Next Top Model," most romantic comedies, and the literary canon of Jennifer Weiner, Lilith Fair and a whole host of female singer-songwriters. I still hide the covers of my pink paperbacks on the subway.
Here's some stuff that, for better or worse, men's media has decided is stuff for doodz: action movies, martial arts, bacon, monkeys, boobs, video games, comic books, beer, "Star Wars," sports of all kinds, humor. All that guy stuff is super COOL, right? And a girl who is into that stuff? Super cool! And sexy. Whole calendars are dedicated to it.
Is "Shanghai Noon" any less stupid than "He's Just Not That Into You"? Or are we just taught to revere manly culture while disparaging female culture? You'd never see a guy blushing while renting "xXx" or making excuses why he went to see "Transformers 3" in the theater.
We've reclaimed a lot of traditionally female stuff (think: crafting) in the past few decades, but women's media is still largely considered guilty pleasure reading/viewing/listening or used as a cliched punchline (the sad post-breakup girl watching romantic comedies with a pint of ice cream and a spoon).
In a society that disparages women's culture, distancing oneself from that culture is one survival strategy women can use. "Yes, women suck, but I'm not like all those other women."
Touting a preference for male culture while looking down on female culture can be a workaround -- a way of benefitting from sexism by aligning yourself with the dominant regime. A lot of women who say they "don't get along with women" are utilizing this strategy.
I didn't realize all this when I was too ashamed to admit I like "Sex and the City," of course. It was just ingrained in me to seek male approval by throwing my sisters under the proverbial bus. But these days I own up to liking a lot of things that have been tossed into the pile of condescendingly named "chick lit" or "chick flicks." I refuse to hide the covers of those pink books anymore.
And yes, I like "Sex and the City."I think I'm gonna go like it on Facebook so even my grandma and that dude who showed me his pierced junk in the high-school cafeteria knows.
It doesn't have to be "Sex and the City." But think about something "for women" that you really like. Maybe you've been made to feel embarassed about it in the past. Now tell somebody (preferably me, in the comments)!
PS: I'm really more of a Carrie/Samantha hybrid.