You know what gets people worked up on the internet? Not children going to bed hungry. Not murderers and rapists who never see the inside of a jail cell. Not people who abuse animals. No, it’s “Sex and the City 2” that makes people lose their flippin’ minds.
If I hadn’t just taken a week-long vacation in May, I should have done it the week after critics started publishing their scathing, venom-filled “Sex and the City 2″ reviews about how it’s THE WORST THING EVER and OH MY GOD MY EYES ARE BLEEDING. (The cattiest reviews, of course, I collated for you haters here.) But then I found the diamond in the rough: somebody who had something sensible, rather than hysterical, to say about “Sex and the City 2.”Jackie Ashley is a reviewer for London’s Guardian newspaper and she’s taken an even-handed enough view of “Sex and the City 2″ to acknowledge “we all need a bit of escapism sometimes.” Yes, escapism. You know, like all those men who would emigrate to Canada before they’d pick up an Uzi themselves, but are all too happy to spend $10 a pop on the latest “Die Hard With Aliens And Guns And Robots And Megan Fox 3.”
In media critic circles (especially feminist ones) it gets tossed around that most big budget films — say “Transformers,” “Hancock” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” — are targeted at and marketed to high school-aged boys. They are the ones who turn out in droves on opening weekend, which is what the Hollywood box office cares about. Summer after summer brings us blockbuster hits focused on stereotypically male fantasies full of blood, guts, bombs exploding, guns shooting, giant alien feet demolishing cars, lasers incinerating entire cities, the girl getting rescued, etc.
Of course, I’m stereotyping here. Obviously, there were girls who liked “Transformers” and guys who would see a Michael Cera comedy opening weekend before they’d seen one starring Bruce Willis. (The only woman I know who really, really, really gets excited about guns is my high school best friend, Steph. She’s in the Army, working at a prison in Iraq. But she likes shooting real guns, not watching fake movie guns.) But the point is, generally, as far as Hollywood is concerned, the two genders have two different escapist fantasies. Do we hear a peep about how awful the films targeted towards men are? Not a chance. Ashley sums it up succinctly:
“My contention is that there is nothing more intrinsically objectionable in women fantasising about big shopping and the ups and downs of urban sexuality than men fantasising about war, gangs or fast cars. … What really irritates me is the effortless assumption of male superiority that suggests male fantasy lives are more serious and real than female ones. … It’s all trashy and silly. There is nothing inherently noble or serious-minded about men screaming for one patch of the earth’s surface against another patch, as they follow 11 people in shirts and shorts booting a ball. Watching Tarantino films about Americans scalping Nazis, or gladiators capering about in a mock-up of ancient Rome isn’t “higher” than watching women engage in competitive shopping ‘n’ bitching. Indeed, it’s further away from everyday realities, not closer to them. … In short, the critics of ‘Sex and the City’ need to lighten up and remember that everyone has a different fantasy world.”
I couldn’t agree more. My fantasy world would be one where we pause at all the bloody, violent movies marketed towards teenage boys and men instead of having one big, collective conniption fit over just one film marketed towards women about shopping. [Guardian UK]