Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Sexism and the city: why are we so fascinated by famous women feuding?

Friends disunited ... Sex and the City stars in their heyday.
Friends disunited ... Sex and the City stars in their heyday. Photograph: Craig Blankenhorn/AP

Much like the Sex and the City season six finale, the “feud” between Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker is disappointing, unsurprising and, in spite of one’s better judgment, fascinating. (Note that Wide Awoke will not speak of the two SATC films because, by virtue of their never decreasing awfulness, they are the very opposite of woke: asleep, if you like).

A quick recap: following the unexpected death of her 55-year-old brother, Cattrall responded to Parker’s condolences by accusing her SATC co-star of exploiting his death “in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona”. She described Parker as “cruel”, added: “You are not my friend”, and finished by linking to an article about “the mean-girls culture that destroyed Sex and the City”. Basically, all that’s left is for Ryan Murphy to come on board and we have the treatment for season two of Feud: Kim and SJP, right there.

What Murphy’s brilliant series about the notorious rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford did, and what #MeToo continues to do every time a female actor is asked about it in an interview (as they currently are in the same way an actor of colour has long been interrogated about race), is to put this age-old fantasy of actresses clawing at each other’s throats into context. That context is the ugly backdrop of sexism, ageism and inequality that has yet to fade.

“It is competitive,” the actor Ruth Wilson said to the Observer of the industry, “and you’re often the only woman on set.” What does this mean? That women will be pitted against one another. If male dominance is the cultural norm, when women clash on set over pay or how much of their bodies they are willing to show during sex scenes – as Cattrall and Parker reportedly did on the SATC set – they will be regarded, not as tough negotiators, but as “difficult”. If they don’t want to do something they will be perceived as diva-ish, never as uncompromising. Fallouts, when they do happen, will be relished, perhaps encouraged. And for the millions of us who loved Sex and the City, flaws and all, it means we are left bereft by the knowledge that the unshakeable female friendship it celebrated, which we pretty much never see on screen, is rarely so nurtured in real life.

This article titled "Sexism and the city: why are we so fascinated by famous women feuding?" was written by Chitra Ramaswamy, for The Guardian on Monday 12 February 2018 03.03pm

Life and style

The Greyhound Café, London: ‘There are things here I want to come back for’ – restaurant review

The Greyhound Café, 37 Berners Street, London W1T 3LZ (020 3026 3798). Meal for two, including… Read more

Breaking the cycle: women are learning to love their hormones

The grand plan, the plan to end the Second World War, was inspired by the docility of Paula Hitler.… Read more

The Bollywood song that takes me back to my London roots | Nikesh Shukla

I’ve always feared that my daughters, growing up in Bristol, won’t feel any connection to my entire… Read more

The OFM 50: everything we love in the world of food right now

PEOPLE The Rangoon Sisters In a world of swaggering chefs and bids for world domination, Amy and… Read more

‘Narcolepsy isn’t funny’ – living with a sleep disorder

For a serious examination of the devastating and incurable disability that is narcolepsy, Henry… Read more

Eco nail varnishes are vegan-friendly and beautiful too | Gemma Cairney

On a morning beach stomp the other day, a mate told me about Soigné’s eco nail varnishes. Since I… Read more

Character study: second lease of life for a Victorian home

Couple moves into dilapidated Victorian terrace; couple gets the builders in. So far, so familiar.… Read more

Vegetables that keep on giving, year after year | James Wong

Finally! The first signs of spring are on the horizon. I’ll have to wait a while before I can sow… Read more

Let your hair go natural | Eva Wiseman

Lay down your tools, hang up your hairdryer, this season we’re allowing our hair to do whatever the… Read more

Why Georgia is a hotspot for natural wines

The qvevri is inescapable in Georgia. Depictions of this traditional, earthenware winemaking… Read more