By Nupur Lakhe
I have been quite paranoid lately because my nanny had to leave and today while I catch a breath after dropping my son off to school before my gym class, I reminisce of the movie Sex and the City (part 2), the scene where Charlotte and Miranda clink their martini glasses to cheer for a confession they make amidst their conversation amplifying the importance of house-help with kids. A very honest but sloshed Charlotte exclaims "I can't have him cheat on my nanny, because I can't lose her"!
What follows is a burst of laughter weighing the irony of the situation. Most of the new-mothers today are very well equipped with the "sanity" factor. They understand what immense help scooping in some self-care can do to their mental well-being. After all, one can never fill from an empty cup. And a lot of this sanity is, therefore, dependant on our house-help. Women, lest only mothers, believe in outsourcing the odd jobs at their home. This lets them keep a part of their sanity by getting involved in something they'd want to after work, extra cuddles with the child, or simply because it makes life easier. Hence, I resonated with Charlotte's need of keeping the nanny anyhow, when I was struggling and getting psyched in the absence of her; sulking like a child who wants the same candy that is now spoilt of falling on the floor.
While we are at it, talking about a scene from Sex and the city I have to admit, I liked the movies. While the first part was enjoyable the second part was where I had a lot to observe. At one point in life, I contemplated watching the whole TV series too but my graph with binge-watching series can be defined as a catastrophe. I am like that sugar high kid who doesn't know what it is like to pause. I can't rest or concentrate on reading a book or writing an article until I have brought the said series to completion.
My love for the movie is not only because I dream of living Carrie Bradshaw's life, carrying a speck of interest in fashion myself- an author with her foot in Chanel- bliss; but also because of the topics, these movies highlight intermittently. They are mostly underlying themes, one that constantly runs in the background draped in couture, picking one out of the four ladies and getting our nod of agreement. It sure dwells in an implausibility of its own but one can't deny of not having enjoyed this "fantasy" aspect of the movie or the show.
It is a misnomer for its name, Sex and the city, it constantly moves its focal point to a lot of situations and issues women have always faced and still do. It presents the picture of a woman who believes that her voice is a cape she needs to wear at all times, one that symbolizes strength no matter how shaky it can get sometimes.
The visual appeal of the movie with high-end fashion, brunches, and holidays adorned with womanly bonding are like the sequins you cannot refuse on your dress. The movie focuses on every element of a woman fathomable and one that is misconstrued non-viable- a mother with terrible two's who finds a savior in her queer nanny, a non-judgemental friend who'd turn up in the blink of an eye, a non-stereotypical writer wife who takes all the efforts to keep the "sparkle" in their marriage, a sexually liberating woman who measures her equality to the sexual satisfaction of the opposite gender and a working woman who knows it is best to quit a workplace where her voice is shunned by the signal of a hand because she is a Woman. These females present a common picture on the cultural media representing each one of us who have tried to brace taboo subjects and who have felt oppressed at our workplaces by asking us to keep quiet, or by simply being dis-regarded for our credits. The image of a woman's lips sealed with scotch tape is the representation that describes these situations, no wonder the dejected Carrie feels the pang in her heart when she finds the aforementioned caricature cartoon of her's in the New Yorkers, after the release of her new book. Additionally, the media content has risen exponentially featuring tv-series and movies which are woman-centric. My recent favorite was Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. A humorous account on how a lady fights the misogynistic and societal culture revolving around stand-up comedy and takes steps towards perceiving it because humor is etched in her personality and what she presents on stage are her life glimpses heightened with wit and sarcasm. It just takes a few episodes to fall in love with Midge Maisel but a lot more to understand the concurrent behavior of male fraternity constantly being alarmed at the fact of a woman trying to make it big in stand-up comedy. The dire need of having more men like Lenny Bruce on this planet feels acceptable who acknowledge the worth of art rather than the gender behind it. And right now, I tend to be a little swooned by Alexis from Schitts Creek. A lot of viewers at first will perceive her as a young and beautiful blonde with the brain size lesser than a pea but the way she transforms herself as the show proceeds is impressive, to say the least. She is the child we eventually want to become proud of while her mother can sometimes take it for granted of not having faith in her capabilities. She represents the section of female fraternity that isn't paid much heed to, considered vile, and amplifies the fact- beauty with brains is a rare thing to look out for. But is it really? A façade that is measured in extremities. The message Alexis also puts across is that Confidence is the key to a lot many ventures one might want to or try to pursue in life. Yet again, here is a fashionista adorning her hair with glittery bands upon a brain buzzing with a million ideas to help out the Motel and to organize events in the town with an exuding conviction not blown off by anyone else's judgment about her. As I wait to see how her character unfurls in the show, I am sure I will silently cheer for her while simultaneously watching her sweet goofiness.
The takeaway points from such media content that has multiplied by leaps over all these years are anything but meagre and futile, it sure is muffled in the show-buzz of fashion, sex and upper east side- Manhattan life but like a million things, it tells us to look beneath the book cover. These women are us, only placed and portrayed from a place of privilege and different geographical locations. You must know that what is normal for a woman/mother is to crib the absence of her nanny but what isn't is measuring a woman's satisfaction on a scale parameter set by someone other than "She". While we hope such content is created to empower more women, paving the way towards subsiding stereotypical norms and amplifying women's choices and voices rather, meanwhile let us try to read more between the lines to see the bigger picture of what it is trying to portray.
Even after more than 20 years of its airing, the friendship of these four women in the Sex and the City typically attains a soft corner in my heart with my favorite scene where they sing together the song- "I am a woman, hear me roar".