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What Is It with Religious Women and Sex and the City?

There was a text on my phone the other day: “Come and see Sex and the City and raise money for underprivileged kids at the same time.” Hundreds of religious women are flocking to see Sex in the City. ‘It’s a charity thing,’ said one. ‘It’s just a bit of fun,’ protested another. Seems to me that the money collected might be better spent on a bit of stomach stapling for these SATC doppelgangers from the London suburbs of Hendon and Hampstead Garden Suburb.

What is it with religious women and SATC? Carrie’s masochistic relationships with men (before Mr. Big decides to commit), Miranda’s accidental single
motherhood (before Steve decides to commit), Samantha’s ruthless pursuit of sex without love (before Smith decides to commit) are hardly the values of Orthodox women determined to pursue marriage and family. Even Charlotte, the WASP-turned-JEW, relies on all the negative stereotypes of contemporary Jewish life to stake her claim: married to the wealthy lawyer, reveling in materialism, and relentless complaining about nothing. Of course, she does all this in an apron making gefilte fish.

Carrie’s life is the antithesis of the religious woman, and yet it is funny how the lure of supporting a soup kitchen will get hundreds of them out in their heels to watch Carrie’s denouement. Are married religious women so bereft of imagination that they have to rely on SATC for entertainment? Are their husbands so boring? Similarly, it would be easy to think that religious single women have nothing in common with the untrammeled sexuality of Carrie and her friends. Au contraire. While the necklines are higher and the skirts are a little longer, single religious women are also looking for Mr. Big. Carrie and her friends might not be subject to a community of rabbis, but they are also surrounded by smug marrieds regarding them with suspicion, pity and ambivalence. Smug marrieds who should stick to texting each other and stop bothering me.

–Modesty Blasé

Cross-posted to The Jerusalem Post’s blogs