Lindy West, “Burkas and Bikinis,” The Stranger, May 25, 2010
You almost certainly know this entertaining, scathing review of Sex and the City 2. You probably have read some other equally scathing reviews. You might have read some people seeking to complicate the critiques, though few actually defend the film as actually being good.
I don’t have much to add to any of that, except the quoted line in the West review leaped out at me. Really? Yes, the director and screenwriter is gay; and at least some of the producers are. (Another is a straight woman who also plays the lead role.) But what exactly does that gayness have to do with these men (and woman) having made an apparently bad film?
This is a criticism of gay men, however, that might not sound entirely new to you. You’ve probably heard it used also in critiques of an industry nearly synonymous with SatC: the fashion industry. Everything undesirable about the fashion industry can be supposedly sheeted home to the fact that designers are often (apparently) male and gay. It’s a feminist homophobia that doesn’t get called out as the useless and uninformative stereotyping it is because… well I don’t know. Is it because it’s a way feminists can rebuke an industry driven by female demand while still exculpating the women who demand the industry’s products? By scapegoating The Gays, women retain their uncomplicated victim status?
I hope not.
But I’m going to assume that Michael Patrick King made a bad movie for reasons other than his preference for the company of men. (And apparently is a man effeminate enough to figuratively play with Barbies.) Mmmmmaybe this is a bad movie lots of people go see because it has stupid stuff in it, just like 300 was a bad movie lots of people went to see because it had stupid stuff in it.
1. Yes, the line, like all the lines in the review, is a joke. And it’s funny because hey we’re talking about a movie but the reviewer is saying it’s actually a home video (when it’s not!) about men playing (they’re actually producing and directing!) with dolls (they’re actually actors!). I get it; that’s absurd and therefore pretty funny.
2. Of the stupid things Sex and the City 2 is about, I do not include consumerism. I am a big fan of consumerism, and sympathize with anyone who desires more shoes. The women in question may have an excessive focus on shoes that may lead them to consume them while neglecting the many other awesome items of clothing available to be consumed, but in principle I support purchasing shoes if one can afford to do so.
3. “Feminists” are an uncomplicated and amorphous mob. Yes, I really mean “some feminists.”