'Sex and the City 2': Girls Go Libertarian

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When my fiancé dragged me to Sex And The City 2 on Friday night, I decided to make the best of it. As I sat and watched the ridiculous antics occurring on the screen in front of me, I analyzed the politics. And make no mistake: SATC 2 is as much a political movie as it is a comedy. And whether the film's creators intended it or not, it exuded a distinctly libertarian leaning.

(Spoiler alert: the following gives away some of the movie's themes and scenes, so be warned.)

The movie begins with a gay wedding in Connecticut. Two of the girls' best gay friends ended up falling for each other. The event was about as stereotypical as you could imagine, complete with Liza Minnelli as the officiant. But the point was clear: it was meant to insist that gay marriage should be an individual liberty for all of America. There were even a few remarks about how the men's marriage wouldn't be recognized in most states.

This was the first instance of a major portion of the film practically screaming a libertarian theme. As the movie endorsed gay marriage, it implicitly argued for greater individual freedom. But of course, this could also be progressive. It was not until their trip to Abu Dhabi that it becomes clear that there's nothing progressive about the girls' attitudes.

Although there wasn't much room for any obvious nod to economic libertarianism, this was suggested by some subtleties. First, despite several references to the deep two-year recession, there was never an ounce of sympathy displayed for the 10 percent unemployed. Instead, they all lived just fine in their gorgeous New York City apartments. The main character Carrie's husband is even a millionaire financier.

Indeed, the very comment that led to their trip to the Middle East was when sex addict Samantha Jones exclaims that she can no longer stand the recession in the U.S. and needs some decadence in her life. So off they jet first-class to luxurious Abu Dhabi to stay in a $22,000-per-night suite. Clearly, the gals must not be too concerned about economic equality.

At first, however, it looked like the purpose of their trip was to show how sophisticated and progressive a place Abu Dhabi actually was. That is, until Samantha starts acting out. It all goes downhill from there—fast. She gets arrested for making out with a man on the beach one night. From that point forward all tolerance for this other culture disappears.

What follows is an explicit demonstration of "why the Arabs hate us." Samantha makes a scene in a market as the girls rush to catch a flight, waving her store of condoms in the men's faces and making sexual gestures at them. In order to escape the authorities, some local women lead them into a secret room and tell them how happy they are that the girls were flaunting their sexuality to the men. The scene ends with them saying how much they love New York fashion and revealing designer dresses beneath their burqas.

Clearly, there was nothing "politically correct" about this turn of events. All progressive tolerance went right out the window, and the movie became a lipstick feminist diatribe about the horrors of women's oppression in the Middle East. Concerns of individual liberty trumped those of not offending a foreign culture.

Whether it intended to or not, SATC 2 flew the libertarian flag. The freedom to express oneself was a central theme of the movie. And even if it wasn't so explicit, there was also a certain distaste expressed for economic equality. Indeed, the problems of the poor couldn't be worried about if that meant a little less luxury in the lives of the girls. Finally, flaunting individual liberty was put ahead of any potential acquiescence of cultural differences.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.
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