“A Woman’s Right to Shoes” is an episode of Sex and the City that should be titled “A Woman’s Right to Life.” The basis of conflict that Carrie deals with in this episode revolves around the fact that she doesn’t have children and spends $400+ on a pair of shoes. As she says to Miranda, she was “shoe shamed.” She was also told that she “had a lot of time on her hands” and it was inferred that she “didn’t have a real life.” Because she didn’t settle down to face reality with a husband, kids, and houses in New York and the Hamptons. I have long wanted to write a blog based on this episode and how we use societal expectations to judge the value of our lives and the lives of others.
One of the most basic things we judge life value on is whether or not you have a significant other. It’s something that annoys me in Sex and the City because they act as if it’s such a big deal that they’re single, but if you think about it, that’s probably an accurate reflection of our society. Most of my friends who are single often worry that they’re going to be old and alone, and they’re all in their early twenties! I acknowledge that it might be because I’m in a relationship that I’m baffled by this. However, to be completely honest, if I were single, I would enjoy it. No one wants to be alone but to truly be in a relationship, it’s more than just a candlelit dinner on Friday nights. Speaking from experience, you will fight with that person and often, those fights will come at the most inopportune times. Relationships mean time and energy when you may have none left to give. People forget this because there’s this constant pressure to find someone special to bring home for the holidays, if for no other reason than just to flaunt in front of the relative who is always asking if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend yet. And I would venture that we all have one of those.
This is just one of the things that we judge our value on. If we’re alone, then we think something is wrong with us, that we’re not good enough. If we don’t have children and property and a demanding schedule, then it’s almost as if our life isn’t as legitimate. It isn’t as important or valid.
Carrie got her $485 shoes and while I think that’s far too extravagant for a pair of shoes, that’s her life and her choice. And she shouldn’t have to answer to anyone for it. She lives her life the way she chooses and just because there isn’t a man or babies doesn’t make it any less valid than mine, and I’m on the path towards having a man and babies.
The glory of the time and place in which we live is the capability to live our lives the way we want, but the problem there is that people want to place value on certain lifestyles and if we’re missing that lifestyle, we’re not as valuable to society. And frankly, that’s bullshit. So, with that in mind, how do we determine the value of our lives? Why do we even need to? Carrie asks a good question in this episode. “When did we stop being free to be you and me?”
That is what it boils down to, being yourself and living life the way you want. It doesn’t matter how much you have. It doesn’t matter how much weight, how much money, how many material possessions. What matters is happiness and a sense of contentment with the life you are living. If that comes from being single and having no kids, then by all means more power to you. At the same time, if happiness means a husband and kids, still more power to you. No one has the right to tell you that it’s not good enough, or not the “right” lifestyle. No one has the right to patronize you either.
I must say that I love this episode, even though I want to wring Kiera’s neck at more than one point. Patronizing is a sure fire way to get me riled up and that woman has plenty of it. Don’t judge or belittle. Accept each other and all that tree hugger kind of talk. It’s not just for hippies.
I’m including a short clip from this episode that I found on YouTube. I apologize for the poor quality, but it was the only one I saw.