I Hope the 'Sex and the City' Reboot Is the Show Midlife Women Deserve
No matter what you think of Sex and the City, the fact is that for many women ages 40 and above, the show was a game changer. That’s certainly what it was for me. Which is why I can’t wait to watch And Just Like That…, the highly anticipated reboot of the show with the friends now in their 50s.
Like a lot of people, I was raised to think about life in a particular way. You go to college, land a steady 9-to-5 job, meet “the one,” and then swap a promise and a piece of paper before getting down to the business of raising a family.
This message was reflected on TV in shows from Leave It to Beaver to Family Ties to Growing Pains, and more. It was what we watched every night at 8 p.m.. We didn’t know anything else.
How SATC Changed the TV Landscape
When Sex and the City aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004, it challenged that narrative. The show was structured around the lives of four 30-something friends—Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), along with Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall)—as they navigated life and love in New York City.
SATC showed that women could do anything (with anyone). And yes, love, friendship, and fulfillment could be had without marriage or a man. Sure, there were a lot of problematic storylines in the original series (fat-shaming, biphobia, and the stigmatization of mental illness, to name a few). But the overall message inspired women to go out and live their best lives—whatever that looked like to them.
The definition of success looked very different to each of these four characters, but it didn’t stop them from showing up for one another to celebrate every win and loss. In all of television history, I can’t imagine a more perfect hype squad.
A Reboot That Celebrates Women in Midlife
Now, nearly two decades later, the reboot of the series, And Just Like That…, celebrates women in midlife. And I can’t wait. Because like the women of SATC, I’ve created an intentional, albeit nontraditional, life.
I’ve never been married, nor had interest in the institution (although at 48, I’ve met someone I’d like to build a life with). I practice consensual nonmonogamy and embrace a variety of lovers and partners.
I never had kids. I make decent money and unapologetically spend it on things and experiences that bring me pleasure. I prioritize sleep, self-care, and therapy. I’m only as good as my mood and mental health. If living life out loud and on my terms is selfish, I’m okay with it.
SATC showed me that there were other ways to live. And best of all, it celebrated women who chose to live the life they wanted and loved. It taught a generation of women how to create strong female friendships, the kind that could cure everything from heartbreak to hangovers. I have high hopes for the reboot, which is taking on a new challenge: bringing visibility to middle-aged women who don’t fit the newly-wed-or-nearly-dead mold.
In a new Vogue profile, Sarah Jessica Parker spoke up about a wave of online criticism about how she and fellow castmates are “too old.” Not to me they aren’t! There is enormous substance that comes from decades of living. We women in midlife are empowered and experienced and have a lot to say.
The problem is that we’ve often been overlooked and ignored by the media and pop culture. So many television shows and advertisements and music cater to the under-40 crowd. This has always been a misstep.
Embracing Gray-Haired Glory
Older women have vast arrays of knowledge and stories that deserve to be told. These stories have been earned by time, knowledge, experience, travel, and relationships. We were all young once, too. And now we have experience to share.
I hope And Just Like That… will show that. Beyond looks. But the looks matter, too. Because we are also still very sexy, vibrant, and sexual. These women are attractive and vital—gray hair, wrinkles, and all. They are honest. And real.
I adore that Miranda appears in all her gray-haired glory. (I recently stopped coloring my hair, too.) I hope that Carrie continues to wear what feels good on her body and makes her do her signature twirl (Is she still walking the streets of Manhattan in Manolo Blahniks?). Dressing for “your age” is such an outdated idea.
And while cosmetic enhancements may help some of us feel our best as we get older, we’re all still getting older. Aging is a part of life, and despite all the Botox and “mommy makeovers” in the world, it’s inevitable that looks and bodies will change. So will our attitudes. We adjust. We change. We shift. We grow. Women in midlife are just getting started.
I just hope that middle-aged women look at the screen and see glimpses of themselves reflected back—lines, droops, silver roots—and recognize the most important part of aging isn’t a number, but being comfortable in your skin. To quote the late, great David Bowie, "Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been."
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