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Photo: Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is one of America’s beloved actresses and TV producers and personalities. She was most notably known for her role on the HBO TV series, ‘Sex and the City.’ She played Carrie Bradshaw and her character earned her two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. The spinoff series, ‘And Just Like That,’ received some less than stellar comments but Parker remained true to her character despite the haters.
Hollywood’s Misogyny Attacks Sarah Jessica Parker Once Again
Typical of Hollywood, the first thing she was judged on instead of her acting was her appearance. She has been dealing with all sorts of criticism on her looks since she has gotten older, she’s 56 now. Parker is not the only one dealing with this – many of her costars have also been hated for how they have physically changed since their original roles many years ago.
Most of this criticism? Rooted in deep-seated misogyny from the industry and fans. Parker said as much in an interview with Vogue about this exact situation. “There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man. Gray hair, gray hair, gray hair. Does she have gray hair?”
She had been out with her friends, her gray roots on display and it was all fans and paparazzi could focus on. Outraged she shot back about how this would never happen for male costars, which is the sad truth for many actresses in the industry.
“I’m sitting with Andy Cohen, and he has a full head of gray hair, and he’s exquisite,” she continued to say. “Why is it OK for him? I don’t know what to tell you people!”
Social Media’s Role in Attacking Hollywood’s Actresses
Social media has its benefits and curses. It increases accessibility and communication across barriers, from celebrities to fans and vice versa. This, unfortunately, resulted in an increase in negative feedback from some of Parker’s fanbase. She claims it is hard for her to be authentic to herself when everyone is scrutinizing how she looks with numbers of likes, rude comments, and more.
“It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly OK with where we are as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better.”
She claims that she knows she is aging but it is not something she can change and she refuses to disappear because of the ageist and sexist feedback she has been getting. It takes tough skin to bear witness to all of this.
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What ‘And Just Like’ Accomplishes For Parker and Co.
In fact with the promotion of the show in December, Sarah Jessica Parker and costars were featured on the cover of Vogue. They all looked stunning and expected positive responses for the show, but as noted before, there were many negative responses from small-minded fans.
The spinoff series follows Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristina Davis), as we watch their friendship develop in their late 50s. The original series star, Kim Cattrall is unfortunately not returning for the sequel, despite her fame, because of a huge feud she had with Parker on social media.
Nixon echoes Parker’s sentiments saying that she is proud of how the show is still remaining sex-positive despite the age of the charact3ers. Unlike most spinoff shows, like the Gossip Girl spinoff, there is no need to make the show “younger” or add young characters. This is what Parker and Nixon appreciate most – the use of women in their 50s still exploring their sexuality.
Nixon said as much: “I like that we’re not trying to youthify the show. We’re not including, like, a 21-year-old niece.”
Writers and Producers Comment on the Sexism in the Industry
which is something that continued even after the season aired. Many fans were disappointed that many iconic characters were stripped of their roles but King was expecting that. What he wasn’t expecting was the sexist commentary that came along with it.
“ When we announced And Just Like That, there were a lot of positive reactions, but one bi**** response online was people sharing pictures of the Golden Girls.” He said. “Wow, so it’s either you’re 35, or you’re retired and living in Florida. There’s a missing chapter here.”
Candance Bushnell Chimes In With a Warning to Fans About TV’s False Narrative
Candace Bushnell, the author of the original novel, ‘Sex and the City,’ chimed in with her commentary. She said that the HBO adaptation of her book in the past and even the spinoff should not be treated as a model to live by or follow.
She remarked on the unrealistic nature that TV shows portray men and their relationships with women and how it perpetuates a very sexist perspective. “The reality is, finding a guy is maybe not your best economic choice in the long term. Men can be very dangerous to women in a lot of different ways.”
As times have changed and women have finally been able to speak up against the cruel treatment of the industry and the men within it, Bushnell reminds us of the importance of being wary of the lessons and ideas we take from the media we consume.
“We never talk about this, but that’s something that women need to think about: You can do a lot less … when you have to rely on a man,” she said when asked about the realism of the show. “The TV show and the message were not very feminist at the end. But that’s TV. That’s entertainment. That’s why people should not base their lives on a TV show.”
Perhaps this acts as a reminder to all of us that TV shows should become more reflective of our changing times, should persist against sexist criticism, and tell accurate, representative stories of women. Life, unfortunately, does mimic media hence our responsibility is to create content that inspires rather than contributes to the problem.
Even then it is important to heed Bushnell’s warning and consume with caution, understanding the fake narrative that TV pushes. More than that, celebrities, regardless of age and gender, deserve to be respected in real life and social media. The overwhelming negative and cruel comments are a poor reflection of society and perpetuate a world where women actors especially are judged for the way they look more than the way they act.
Times need to change and thankfully we can all count on Sarah Jessica Parker to speak her mind and stand up to the patriarchal Hollywood industry while also encouraging others to do the same.
By Mireille Karadanaian
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Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story.