Journalism, Sex & The Carrie Bradshaw Effect

What does Carrie Bradshaw do all day? Other than, of course, set very unrealistic standards regarding the life of a Journalist.

Carries writes a weekly sex column for The New York Star. Occasionally she’ll mention a deadline, and we usually have an idea about the subject of her column based on snippets of monologue in each episode. We rarely hear of her editor, nor do we see her in a business setting for several seasons. Sex and the City is dominantly about sex, and the countless strike-out relationships of four male-obsessed women in New York.

Occasionally we see Carrie doing yoga with one or all of her three gal pals. Often, we see her brunching. Consistently, she can be found downing Cosmopolitans whilst partying at some new club or restaurant opening, courtesy of her friends Samantha, a Public Relations executive with what seems like all the best connections.

Carrie’s the kind of person who spends her days “eating greasy Chinese food, staying out til 3am and sleeping til noon”. She spend her afternoons writing, shopping for $400 pairs of Manolo Blahniks and catching up with old flames for an afternoon delight. How the hell does she afford this lavish socialite lifestyle, always in a new dress and ridiculously expensive heels? Don’t get me wrong, I understand this is a television show we’re talking about, but it sets an extremely unrealistic standard.

Modern day Journalists have to work pretty damn hard to compete with the rise of citizen journalists and their 24/7 smartphone surveillance and “instafamous” brand ambassadors/models. It’s a lot of work, overtime and volunteering for a long time until you can prove your worth to the right person at the right time and maybe, just maybe, have a shot at your dream job. It takes a hell of a lot of passion and dedication. There is very little time for sleep let alone cocktails, nooners and yoga.

Applying for jobs post-graduation is extremely daunting; especially when you find out halfway through your degree that most Journalists don’t have degrees and you’ll also be competing with people who spent your four study years utilising connections and working from the ground up – exactly where you are going to have to start, expensive piece of paper or not.

Employers want you to have five years of experience working for a fast-paced publication, be published on several impressive platforms and have a whole phone book worth of connections they can utilise; all for an entry level position. The couldn’t care less about your degree.

What have you done? Where have you been published? Who even are you??

I understand wanting examples of your writing so they know what they’ll potentially be working with, but all the other fluff? Like, come on! You have to start somewhere! University lecturers get a real kick out of telling journalism students how difficult it is to find a job in their field – perhaps this is why they are lecturing.

If you have the passion and are adamant about working as a journalist post-graduation however, you can. All you have to do is completely uproot your life and move hours away to some tiny, remote small town where everyone will know everything about you and every move you make within a week. After spending a couple of years there, maybe you can move closer to home and start working for a local community paper. You have to work up and up and up and keep climbing that corporate ladder all in the desperate hope that one day, you’ll catch your big break and land that dream job.

While there are some very talented writers in the field of Journalism today, unfortunately I think many are lured in by the fast-paced socialite Carrie Bradshaw type lifestyle, wanting to basically be paid to exist and occasionally review or promote some new brand of protein. Welcome to the age of the instacelebrity. 

Women have fought very hard to gain respect and equality in a working environment. I am extremely against sex as a strategy for gaining corporate power and advantage. I imagine it still happens today, just more discreetly. Without an active sex life, Carrie’s column wouldn’t exist, and she just seems to sleep with any random guy for the purpose of “research”. Having sex as a requirement for successfully doing your job sounds like borderline prostitution with extra steps.

While Sex and the City is still a popular show and reruns are frequently aired on paid and freeview television, Carrie Bradshaw is not someone who should represent women in journalism to young writers. Binge drinking, smoking, sex and frequent dysfunctional relationships with some writing in between is not what the life of a Journalist looks like.

Carrie’s interactions with the opposite sex infuriates me to no end. In one episode, Carrie wonders if all single people over 30 have something wrong with them. She meets a guy who seems normal, wonderful even, and she’s so convinced by her discoveries of “freakiness” in other people’s relationships, she is determined to find this man’s fatal flaw. When left alone in his apartment after the first time they have sex, she finds herself uncontrollably ransacking the place, ironically becoming the “freak” herself.

Sex is one of the most personal and intimate things you can do with another person, exposing your most private self. If you were to discuss the act itself in its rawest form, it’s actually quite disgusting, and the thought of intercourse with a complete stranger seems sickening. Carrie sleeps with men as casually as I meet people for coffee. While I strongly believe everyone should be able to do whatever they please with their bodies, with whomever they please, this is not the part that irritates me about Carrie. Sex with someone you barely know is an expression of raw, animalistic passion in its purest form. If you are going to have casual sex, it needs to be accepted for what it is. Perhaps why all Carrie’s shortlived “relationships” are so dysfunctional, is because they all begin with this raw animal physical passion. They’re like that quick sugar rush you get from eating a candy bar, then an explosive crash of energy when she tries to develop a relationship post-coital.

When relationships begin, people seem to be on their best behaviour, playing down their reactions to things that bother them about the other person. As feelings develop, people may find it easier to discuss things that bother them and then if they are a good match, can logically work out their issues, even if they have to argue first. The point is, it’s easier to make up or recover from something with someone who has some significance to you. With Carrie and the other girls, they sleep with a man, and then because they have done something so intimate and private and perhaps subconsciously feel vulnerable and exposed, when they discover something about the man shortly after that they do not like, there is an explosive crash which usually ends up in them storming out or the guy kicking them out and they never see each other again. No feelings, just physical passion with pretty much a stranger. There is a very fine line between animal sexual passion and rage it seems.

The vast majority of the intimate relationships these women engage in are awkward and unbelievably uncomfortable to watch. Even Charlotte, the prim and proper Park Avenue Princess, who is supposed to be the one who represents a dying belief in intimacy and love. I feel like the things that destroy their relationships with different men would be much less severe had they known the man a little better first. But sex sends their emotions into overdrive.

This isn’t a strong representation of female empowerment, as they try to justify. Samantha is supposed to be the icon for this, a successful woman with a fast-paced career that rarely develops emotional attachments to the men she sleeps with. Women having sex with whomever they want, whenever they want and not being shunned or thought of as “taboo” anymore. Sure, have sex. Sleep with guys you feel an insane physical animalistic passion for. Do whatever you want but remember if you want to fuck like animals, don’t fault people afterwards when you have a problem with the things that make them human.

Back to Journalism. Working ridiculous hours, getting underpaid for a large proportion of your initial career, spending hours upon hours building your portfolio, volunteering, networking and still trying to find time to work some casual retail hours just to pay rent and if you’re lucky, splurge on two-minute noodles for dinner. It may not be the glamours cocktail-drinking, bar-hopping, sleep all day, shop all afternoon and do yoga in between lifestyle that is portrayed in Sex and the City, but it is definitely way more empowering, satisfying and worth the trouble.




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