I was required to take a class called Women & Literature, in my undergraduate study. On two particular days of class we were forced to watch the show “Sex and the City” for a classroom discussion. I had never seen the show until that moment and I was appalled! It’s an HBO show, so what is now playing on TBS is most definitely an edited version without the HBO version’s constant swearing and nudity. Those elements, however, are the least of my concerns with the show.
The major premise of the show circles around journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Carrie is a single thirty-three year old woman who writes a weekly column entitled, “Sex and the City.” Her sources for writing this column are her friends: three other single women. These women are all successful business women and live independent lives, each has their own apartment and has no need of a husband. In the very first episode, Samantha, the more bold of the four, suggests that women should start having sex “like men.” According to Samantha this means having sex without feeling any attachment to the person you are having it with. Now, to say that men do this is of course a general stereotype, but undoubtedly true. It is a wrong and sinful thing to be sure. But the show takes this kind of sexual “liberation” doctrine in a direction that we can sometimes overlook.
The women of the show, like real women, find that they have two needs: (1) physical/sexual, and (2) personal/relational intimacy. The two needs should come together, to be met in one place- a husband. That, however, is not the way the writers of “Sex and the City” solve the dilemma. For Carrie, Samantha, and their two other friends physical fulfillment comes from a myriad of sexual encounters with different men whom they leave behind after they are done. The relational intimacy comes when the four girls meet for cocktails and relay the details of their intimate moments. This is what is appalling! Men have been not only removed from their roles, but have been displaced all together.
What is the message that “Sex and the City” sends: Men and women are equally qualified to meet a women’s needs, and that sex and intimacy can be acceptably separated. These women do not need husbands because they have each other to fulfill the need of relationships and one-night-stands to fulfill their sexual desires. The show blurs the lines, to be sure, between heterosexuality and homosexuality. And in a world where gay marriage is as good as any other alternative, we are told, then the message of “Sex and the City” should be seen as nothing less than another stab at the established, and God-ordained, institution of marriage.
The solution to this dilemma is not, however, what some Christians might suggest. The solution is not to write TBS with “Christian” hate-mail. Nor is it to march against the show, change the Constitution, or even to get all single people “hitched” so they are not tempted to live this lifestyle. Rather, the right response is for Christian churches to teach, promote, and exemplify Biblical manhood and womanhood. The right response involves training our young people in what it means to have godly marriages, counseling the broken homes, and preaching from God’s Word about the love relationship of a husband and wife according to God, and the joy and beauty of sex in His prescribed bounds. What this cultural example again reminds us of is that the solution is Biblical first and foremost. The right response to cultural sins, is not condemnation, but gracious and humble correction that starts with the church.