Sex and the City 2 is about the triumph of capitalism, western feminism and, therefore, Freedom over the hazily defined ‘Middle East’. ‘The New Middle East’, as the ladies are encouraged to think of it, is being liberated simultaneously by Hollywood and the Coalition of the Willing. The film’s overlying narrative of the backward, fanatical Arab Other is more than nasty, as one reviewer suggests: it’s horrific, especially in light of the ongoing invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the continuing subjugation of Palestine.
The film is also about vows, something Mr Big calls “grown-up”: commitment, marriage, soul-mateship. Carrie is encouraged by a New Yorker review* to take a vow of silence until she has something intelligent and mature to say about that of marriage.
Vows are difficult. Sometimes this is because they come into tension with the desire for property that’s all one’s own (mi proprio): single first-class pods in the private jet, private elevator, private bar. My gender, my femininity. My version of women’s liberation. My ‘New Middle East’, where one of my many hott ex-lovers stars in the simulacra of the war that’s ravaging the desert courtesy of my government so that Arab women don’t have to eat french fries through the niqab and I can slobber all over a verpus billionaire in public.
The ‘demise’ of SATC – documented with morbid, often hilarious, relish by many pop-feminist commentators – calls for the cultural resources I want to harvest from the nun. Certainly, Sex and the City 2 is precisely why we need such resources for intervening in misogynist and heteronormative discourses about ‘single women’. The film demonstrates the logical ends of capitalist heteronormativity: ethnocentrism, the reduction of queer to a market identity, the global division of labour along racial and geopolitical lines. In marking the failure of global feminism at the very moment of proclaiming its triumph, it’s a perfect text for imagining, perhaps, an intersectional, transnational, feminism-without-feminism.
*a particularly intertextual moment, as it happens.