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Top 10 Feminist Moments on Sex and the City

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Script written by Savannah Sher This show as ahead of it’s time! For this list, we’re looking at some of the best girl power moments from the show, but we’re not looking at any from the movies. For this list, we’re looking at some of the best girl power moments from the show, but we’re not looking at any from the movies. We’ve included moments like when Carrie marries herself, when Miranda and Samantha buy their apartments, When Charlotte chooses her choice, When Charlotte takes control of her reproductive future, when Sam fought workplace sexism and more!

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Top 10 Feminist Moments on Sex and the City

Though not every aspect of this landmark HBO show has aged well, there are still lots of inspiring moments to look at. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Feminist Moments on Sex and the City.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the best girl power moments from the show, but we’re not looking at any from the movies.

#10: When Carrie Marries Herself
“A Woman’s Right to Shoes”

In the Season 6 episode “A Woman’s Right to Shoes,” Carrie is invited to a baby shower at a friend’s house where the hostess asks that everyone remove their shoes before crossing the threshold. At the end of the night, however, a pair of Carrie’s Manolo Blahniks are missing. Her friend doesn’t seem too concerned, but eventually offers to replace them until balking at the price. Carrie realizes, though, that between engagement gifts, wedding gifts, baby showers, and children’s birthdays, she has easily spent that much and more on this very same friend. Ultimately, she registers for a wedding for herself, and puts the single pair of shoes on the registry to make her point.

#9: When Miranda / Samantha Buy Their Own Apartments
“Four Women and a Funeral” / “All or Nothing”

Though the show has been criticized for showing women being financially irresponsible and frivolous, some of the more empowering moments are more easily forgotten. In Season 2 and Season 3 respectively, Miranda and Samantha buy their own apartments, and in Miranda’s case at least, the fact that she is a single woman making such a major purchase without a husband or father helping her out is made into an issue. For Samantha, she is forced to move because of drama with her neighbors who are shaming her for the sex she has.

8: When Carrie Turns Down Aidan’s Proposal
“Change of a Dress”

In one of the most poignant scenes in the show’s history, Carrie is in a white dress and Aidan is in a rented tux and he suggests they just get married right then. Carrie has already displayed some trepidation about their upcoming nuptials, and in this moment she has to put her foot down and tell him that she just isn’t ready right now. Many fans disagreed with her decision, considering how well Aidan treated her and especially due to the fact that he took her back despite her infidelity, but in the end no woman should do something she’s not comfortable with just to avoid losing someone.

#7: When Charlotte ‘Chooses Her Choice’
“Time and Punishment”

Though this sort of feminism may not exactly be intersectional, when it comes down to it, it’s all about a woman’s right to choose - even if that choice means quitting your job and redecorating all day. Miranda calls Charlotte out on what she deems to be a flakey life decision, but in the end they both realize that there is no one right path that works for everyone. On top of that, this episode also features a storyline about one of Samantha’s partners asking her to do a little personal grooming, and her refusing to comply unless he does the same.

#6: When Miranda Proposes to Steve
“The Ick Factor”

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can be the most inspiring. When Steve and Miranda finally get together (for good) after spending years apart, Miranda decides to ask Steve to marry her in a moment that is both unexpected and beautiful. Despite how far we’ve come, marriage proposals are still more frequently something that is considered a man’s responsibility, and seeing it go down another way is refreshing. The fact that Miranda isn’t what you’d call a hopeless romantic makes this gesture all the sweeter.

#5: When Carrie Tears Up Big’s Check
"Ring a Ding Ding"

This episode is one that many point to when itemizing Carrie’s flaws- after she breaks up with Aidan, she needs to find the money for a down payment or risk losing her home. What she realizes though is that because she has spent so much money on shoes, she’s not a viable candidate for a loan. Now because he is so wealthy, Big is able to offer her the money without a second thought, but Carrie isn’t willing to accept help from a man. She is, however, willing to take some help from her friends, and in the end Charlotte is the one to offer her the means to buy her apartment.

#4: When Charlotte Takes Control of Her Reproductive Future
Various Episodes

Charlotte is a woman who knows what she wants: to meet the man of her dreams, and have a child. She thinks she has the guy, but unfortunately the baby doesn’t come quite so easily. Through all their fertility troubles, Charlotte often feels alone since Trey is clearly not on her wavelength when it comes to the importance of starting a family. In the end, she realizes that he doesn’t care about having a baby nearly as much as she does, and for that she knows she has to look somewhere else for her happily ever after.

#3: When Sam Fought Workplace Sexism
“Belles of the Balls”

In this Season 4 episode, Samantha tackles an issue that women face in industries worldwide: sexual discrimination in the workplace. Sam is trying to nab a position working with successful hotelier Richard Wright, but it seems he just doesn’t want to work with a woman. She clearly outlines the issue that many women are faced with - show your sensitive side and be deemed too emotional, and put your foot down and be called cold, or worse. Turns out, Wright has no issues working with a woman; it’s the fact that Sam had slept with his architect he didn’t like. Regardless of the “why,” Ms. Jones stands up for herself and gets the job she deserves.

#2: When Miranda Is Faced with a Tough Question
“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”

In 2001 when this episode first aired, dealing with abortion on primetime television was still somewhat unheard of. So when Miranda finds out that she’s pregnant and makes the decision to end the pregnancy, it was a notable storyline. Her storyline is juxtaposed with Charlotte’s, who is struggling with infertility. But the real twist comes when in the end, Miranda makes the unexpected choice to carry out the pregnancy. Throughout the episode, Carrie and Samantha share their own stories of having abortions, which works to de-stigmatize the act and show that it really is a woman’s right to choose.

Before we unveil our top picks, here are a few honorable mentions.
- When Samantha Says “Tonight, It’s Just Us Girls”
“They Shoot Single People, Don't They?”

- When Carrie Has ‘Sex Like a Man’
“Sex and the City”

- When the Show Tackled Ageism

#1: When the Girls Choose Each Other as Soulmates
“The Agony and the 'Ex'-tacy”

One of the show’s saddest episodes features Carrie trying to celebrate her 35th birthday, but encountering problems when it seems that all of her friends have stood her up when she’s left at the restaurant alone. She finds herself questioning her happiness being single, and how days like this make her wonder if she needs a man in her life. With her trademark eternal optimism, Charlotte chimes in with a suggestion that ultimately leads the rest of the series. She proposes that they be each other's’ soulmates, and just let men be in their lives for fun. Embracing the importance of friendships is one of the most subtle feminist acts in the whole series.


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