The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    It’s a woman’s world


    The world of business combined with power and a raging dash of hormones have come together to form the working women of the 21st century. It seems as though women have stepped out of the kitchen and climbed the elusive corporate ladders.

    Television has slowly followed these trends, trudging along like the ever-present little engine that could. From the 1970s with Mary Tyler Moore to the 1990s with Elaine Benis to the popular culture explosion that is “Sex and the City,” which has spawned new hits with “Lipstick Jungle” and “Cashmere Mafia.”

    These shows follow a simple formula; three to four women with successful careers and indulgent lifestyles.

    We’re going to make it after all
    Patti See, senior lecturer of women’s studies, said the appeal of shows like “Sex and the City” is derived from the dream lifestyle that the characters portray.

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    “Look at the way the women are dressed and the shoes they have, just the shoes alone probably cost more than my house, and they have good jobs . but their focus is on shopping and their heterosexual relationships with men,” she said. “I think real women talk about more than just who they’re sleeping with and what kind of shoes . I think it’s appealing because it’s fantasy.”

    Julia Nieman, a recent UW-Eau Claire graduate and working woman, also finds that shows like “Sex and the City” portray more of a fantasy life.

    “Their life seems so exciting and they are doing things all the time and where a lot of times now (life is) boring, they go to their job and then they go home and sit and watch TV,” she said.

    Without the castle in the sky lifestyles, the shows would have no marketability, one must really remember that key idea when observing how much these ladies are actually working. With the jobs they have, it seems as though they would have far less time to spend with friends.

    Junior Brittany Walters agrees.

    “For Miranda being a lawyer, she sure has a lot of free time and one ugly kid,” she said.

    Women in power
    When watching these shows, one cannot help but notice the high brow jobs these women have obtained. “Sex in the City’s” Miranda Hobbes, played by Cynthia Nixon, was a Harvard graduate lawyer and partner in a law firm. Wendy Healy, played by Brooke Shields, in “Lipstick Jungle” is a top movie executive. Zoe Burden played by Frances O’Connor, in “Cashmere Mafia” is an investment banker. The careers follow a wide range from fashion designer to art gallery administrator. Although these shows also examine alternate routes of feminism.

    See uses clips from Sex and the City to show different representations of third wave feminism.

    “I use one clip in particular,” See said, “It is a clip where Charlotte decides she is going to quit her job because she might have a baby, and she takes a lot of grief from her friends because they don’t know why she is quitting her job. She keeps saying over and over I own my feminism . and I use it to show how you can take different paths and still be a feminist.”

    Another issue they contend with in the working world is men. As Mia Mason, played by Lucy Liu, in “Cashmere Mafia,” illustrates when she beats out her fiancé for a promotion. Her fiancé dumps her soon afterward.

    “It seems like he was afraid to lose power to a women and feel inferior. Walters said it really depicts how women face a lot of important issues when it comes to the struggle for employment, overcoming men in the job force.”

    Nieman agrees.

    “It makes you wonder what he values in a relationship and why he was with this woman . if he left her for that reason,” she said.

    A similar issue sprouts up in “Lipstick Jungle” when Victory Ford, played by Lindsay Price, finds out her multi-millionaire boyfriend Joe Bennett, played by Andrew McCarthy, bought her fashion design company right from under her nose.

    “It seems like he is very controlling and trying to take over her business life. And then her personal life is tied in there too and seems like he always has to be there,” Nieman said, adding McCarthy’s ego may have played a role.

    He’s just not that in to you.
    The infamous and liberating idea that he may not be that in to you has brought forth a new revolution in dating. Perhaps it truly is not you, it really is them.

    Along with the notion of women in power, shows like Sex and the City have become the relationship encyclopedia. If there is a problem in your relationship chances are one of these shows has touched on it. For example, in the case of cheating with Carrie and Aiden. Scenacrios like this also showed up in “Lipstick Jungle.”

    Nico Reilly, played by Kim Raver, has troubles getting her husband to notice her and she finally gives in and has an affair with a man half her age to once again feel important. Walter said this was not the way she should have handled the situation.

    “I don’t know these characters personally or anything – they’re on the television – but I don’t like to see women do things like that because it is degrading towards the character of women,” she said. “I would like to see her find a different way to solve the problem with her husband. The younger man, sure why not, but please let the husband know.”

    Nieman believes that Nico is trying to validate herself and who she is as a woman.

    It seems that although these shows portray a fantasy lifestyle that many young women may crave, the likelihood of actually living them is slim. Television is mimicking a new age with women. Both Nieman and Walters agree that shows like “Sex and the City” show women that it is OK to wait to get married or have children.

    “It makes women feel a little more comfortable with their sexuality and that they’re not sluts just because they like to have a good time,” Walters said. “Enjoy life, 40 is the new 20.”

    Doud is a junior political science major and a chief copy editor for the Spectator.

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