In the wake of the recent conflict over the third Sex and the City film and Kim Cattrall’s announcement that she’s moving on, it’s time for a fandom PSA: Leave Kim Alone.
By Julia Eckley
With the popularity of instagram accounts like @everyoutfitonsatc and the recent art exhibit “Yama Kippi Yay Bo: A Celebration of Kim Cattrall”, it’s clear that the Sex and the City cult is still growing, a representation of Manhattan itself. Recently, Sarah Jessica Parker teamed up with Airbnb with her “Sole of the City” event, a sold-out $400 shopping event at Bloomingdale’s ending at the New York City Ballet. Since the last Sex and the City film, fans have anxiously awaited news about a third installment for the franchise. When news broke that the third Sex and the City had been shelved, all eyes fell on Kim Cattrall.
The actress, who played the hyper-sexual PR executive Samantha, was placed under fire for having unreasonable demands. Not only have her castmates spoken out against her, but many of the series’ fans have followed suit; however, it’s extremely unfair to blame Cattrall for not wanting to be involved in the project, especially after Sex and the City 2’s less than stellar reception. I have repeatedly read the phrase “she owes it to the fans” and rolled my eyes. While viewers may feel that they are entitled for another film, they shouldn’t. Kim Cattrall does not live to serve you.
Growing up in a WASPy suburb outside Manhattan, Sex and the City represented womanhood to me. I spent middle school sick days watching reruns, feeling scandalized and thrilled. The series seemed inherently mature. Every episode felt like a glimpse into my future through a crystal ball. Longingly from my Westchester bedroom I dreamed of life in the city with incredible friends, a chic designer wardrobe, and a Tinder-less dating life full of meet-cute moments. I wanted to be pulled-together like Charlotte, confident like Samantha, a journalist like Carrie… and dreaded being Miranda. After moving to the city, I quickly learned life is not all mimosas and Manolo Blahniks, but I continued to love the show as an important landmark of growing up. As 90s’ and 00s’ fashion returns, Carrie remains one of my main sources of outfit inspiration. Sex and the City taught me a tremendous amount about valuing female friendship and my sense of self. Though it has been 19 years since the end of the series, the ladies’ struggles and experiences still resonate. As a fan, I can understand the upset surrounding the cancellation of the film but I can’t wrap my head around the way both audiences and castmates have publicly shamed Kim Cattrall.
The majority of the former cast has backed the idea that fans deserve a final chapter. Now, between the passive-aggressive public statements and Twitter rants, Cattrall finds herself without an ally. In her sit down with Piers Morgan she spoke candidly on how she would be fine with a third film as long as she has no part in it; Cattrall maintains she is in no way trying to hurt her former costars. On the topic of Sarah Jessica Parker, Cattrall stated, “I don’t know what her issue is, I never have.” Finding out your favorite television friend group doesn’t like each other in reality is disappointing. I admired the girls and their ability to be so different yet always supportive of each other. I could see my own friends in their designer shoes. I had always assumed things were as peachy off-screen as they were n for the cast of actresses I had so long admired. The show pushed how important it is to hold female friendships close and not to let trivial issues damage things. It’s easy to assume that the main theme was men and sex, but in actuality, while easily forgettable (or “disposable,” as Michiko Kakutani was said to have written in Season 5) men drift in and out of each episode, the girls’ love for each other is what always remained consistent. While I wish the bizarre Abu Dhabi-centered second film wasn’t my final image of the iconic girl group, it’s unfair to pressure Cattrall into signing on to a project she has never wanted to be a part of.
Samantha’s sex scenes always shocked me; I didn’t know television could be so graphic. The only girl who ended up without a partner, Samantha tended to take the brunt of the dirty work and painful plotlines on the show. Cattrall has also revealed, “This isn’t about more money, this is not about more scenes, it’s not about any of those things. This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life to end one chapter and start another. I’m 61. It’s now.” How can you argue with that? We should support her choice and applaud her ability to stand her ground when being pressured from all sides about this.
To call her selfish for not submitting to a project she doesn’t have any interest in defeats the message Sex and the City gave women supporting women. The show has widely been praised for empowering a generation of women to live independently and portraying healthy, honest views of female sexuality. To assume that an actress owes you something is privileged and entitled. Attacking Cattrall using misogynistic and degrading terms is no way to get what you want or show how much you value the series.
All good things must come to an end. Be thankful for the show that the cast gave us and the energy they invested into creating three dimensional female characters. It’s time to say goodbye to the brunching foursome. Watch Broad City, and leave Kim Cattrall alone.
Julia Eckley is a student at The New School for Drama working on a book of essays about women in media. She is a native New Yorker, reality TV addict, and lover of all things pop culture.