The 'Woke' Charlotte York Meme Is Here to Answer for 'Sex and the City's Sins
And it's all thanks to this introspective Instagram account.
Fifteen years ago everyone and their aunt watched Sex and the City. It was cultural currency for any woman between 16 and 66, and it still stands as a canonical text of the early aughts. But, unfortunately, some of the lines have aged like a pair of Manolo Blahniks in the rain, or a white woman in the sun. That is to say, not well.
A lot of what Carrie and her pals said and did would be inexcusable in the social climate of 2017 — or at least it would be inexcusable for presumably liberal-leaning women living in Manhattan in 2017. Queue Carrie's line, "I'm not even sure if bisexuality exists. I think it's just a layover on the way to Gay Town," in Season 3, episode 4.
I couldn't help but wonder, do you just discard characters you spent six seasons with because of their outdated and problematic dialogue?
In comes the Instagram page, Every Outfit on Sex and the City. With more than 400,000 Instagram followers, Every Outfit is a digital curation of Carrie and friends' most memorable wardrobe moments throughout the show's six seasons on HBO. Paired with bitingly hilarious captions, the account gives followers a lens to simultaneously cherish and reprimand the audacious fashion choices of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda.
“On the surface [it's] a quest to document every outfit on Sex and the City, but we’ve obviously gotten a bit away from that,” the page's creators, Lauren Garroni and Chelsea Fairless, told The Daily Dot. “I think at the moment we’re using the show as a prism to dissect the fashion and culture of today.”
Last month, Garroni and Fairless used the account to introduce the world to woke Charlotte — a meme that uses subtitles to address the show's most problematic dialogue which, “has become more pronounced as the years go by," according to Fairless. That dialogue involves, but is not limited to, issues surrounding gentrification, classism, and white supremacy.
For the creators and their followers, the meme is a way to reclaim the beloved, but oft problematic show in a way that feels current and accessible.
"People still love the show, but there are some really cringe moments watching it now," Garroni said.
When debating which SATC character they would recast as a social justice warrior, Garroni and Fairless decided "it would be so much more impactful if Charlotte was the one calling people out."
For those unfamiliar with SATC, Charlotte York is characterized as the blue blooded, WASP-iest, and most conservative woman of the four friends.
Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
Remember when Samantha used a slur when complaining about noisy neighbors?
Or when Bunny, Charlotte's mother-in-law, refused to accept adoption as the answer to Trey and Charlotte's conception woos, due to her deep-seated racism...
Or when Carrie, a sex columnist by trade, would not acknowledge bisexuality as a bonafide sexual orientation...
I think it's worth saying that even though the "woke" Charlotte York meme grants us much-needed perspective on a show that was routinely praised less than 20 years, it is, alas, a meme. It a can only do so much — and not much, at that — to rectify SATC's problematic discourse.