Why I Hate Carrie Bradshaw

I’ve recently been on a Sex and the City kick. It’s one of my go-to shows, kind of like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Will & Grace – predictable, low-stress, mildly funny shows that cheer me up when I’m sad and provide me with much-needed stress relief. I call them my “fluff” shows, and I watch them when I don’t want to have to think.

I’ve been making use of my On Demand and watching marathons of HBO shows nonstop lately. I’ve gone through the entire six-season series of Sex and the City in the past few months. And I’ve realized something. Something I’d never thought of before.

Carrie Bradshaw is kind of insipid.

Now, before you all come charging towards me with pitchforks, just hear me out.

Carrie is cool, don’t get me wrong: she’s fiercely independent, she’s open-minded and funny, she supports her friends’ lifestyle choices, she follows her dreams, and she makes a lot of quippy puns (so many that they can be distracting). I can see how Miss Bradshaw could, on first, second, or even third glance, be seen as a feminist icon, as a woman-about-town, the kind of fiercely independent, talented, free spirit that you want to be. But I call shenanigans.

Carrie Bradshaw is, at her core, one of the most annoying characters on television.

I realize I may be in the minority here, but really, after watching the show in quick succession – six years’ worth of episodes in a period of a couple of months – it’s just so glaringly obvious that Carrie is less than ideal. Of the four “main” characters on the show, Carrie is the least genuine, the least unique, and has the least amount of growth over the course of the years. Sure, she remains true to herself, but that self isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Carrie’s entire arc with Mr. Big drives me nuts. From the way she begins to over-analyze and micro-manage every single detail of their relationship before they’ve even had an official first date, to how she expects him to go above and beyond to secure her and somehow prove that he’s interested, as if she’s just so fabulous that she has the right to stalk him at church with his mother after he’s specifically told her that he’s not ready to introduce her to his mother yet.

Later in the season, she cancels on a romantic trip and breaks up with Big because he won’t declare her “the one” on the spot. Don’t even get me started on the next five years, their sordid affair, her letting him encroach on her relationship with Aidan not once but twice, and how she freaks out and makes his heart surgery scare all about her.

Then there’s the way she treats her friends. She blatantly disregards all of their advice and attempts at loving support. She judges Samantha for her sexuality, gets angry with Charlotte for not loaning her several thousand dollars, and is constantly harping on Miranda for not being supportive enough of her various relationship mishaps. She treats her friend Stanford as if he’s a punchline, making constant jokes about his lifestyle and treating him as if he’s a second-class citizen.

Carrie is the type of person who will chase a woman all over Manhattan to find out why she gave her a dirty look in the bathroom of a club and demand to know WHY someone might not like her. She’s the type of woman who ignores her concerns and travels across the world to move in with a guy who treats her and her friends like shit and only comes back home after Mr. Big comes to rescue her. She’s the type of gal who proclaims “I don’t cook,” “These are Mahnolo Blahniks,” and “I don’t DO camping,” as if anything less than her standard of living is completely beneath her.

Carrie Bradshaw is a judgmental, affected, self-centered jerk. She whines, she moans, she squeals. Six years the show ran, and her character never really developed. She never began to show any substance. Samantha battled cancer, fell in love, and became more confident in herself than ever. Charlotte realized that “perfection” was tiring and decided to become less judgmental and accept that life isn’t always idyllic. Miranda stopped being such a stone cold bitch and let life in rather than working herself to an early grave. What did Carrie do? Not much. Just swooped off to Paris to be rescued by her knight in shining Gucci, Mr. Big.

Don’t even get me started on the Carrie Bradshaw of the Sex and the City movies. I try to pretend that those cheesy-to-the-point-of-offensive movies don’t even exist.

For all the trailblazing, style, and hilariousness of Carrie Bradshaw’s character, I just don’t think I could suffer her presence in person for longer than a few minutes. There are so many other better examples of great feminist characters in literature, television, and movies these days.

Published by

Teri Drake-Floyd

An almost 30-something synestheste, foodie, genealogist and all around proud geek.

26 thoughts on “Why I Hate Carrie Bradshaw”

  1. I like the concept of Carrie: she’s a romantic despite herself. I even like the theoretical idea of watching someone make mistakes that aren’t the typical cute TV pratfalls. We saw her lose things for good and regret her decisions. That said, I agree with you. Carrie verbalized the sorts of thoughts we’ve all had about relationships, but there was never any payoff or grand revelation.

  2. a good friend just gave me her s&tc dvd collection. i’m into season 2, which is as far as i got when the show was really running. like you said, when you watch episodes one-after-another, carrie’s awfulness really shows. just last week, i emailed my friend to thank her for the dvds. then i went on a tirade about how carrie annoyed the hell out of me, needed to stop with the insecurity, and deserved to be dumped immediately for her crazy demands on Big.

    1. It really is bad. Like the episode with the fart. She nearly runs the whole relationship into the ground because she farted in front of him and “he’s too perfect” for that sort of thing. And all the demands…I’ve known a few commitment-phobes and the way Big was portrayed on-screen, he didn’t seem all THAT bad. A little gunshy maybe, but not worth dumping over.

      Right before the series ends, when he seeks out Carrie to beg her back and apologizes for hurting her all those times…I was thinking that it was a bit much. He didn’t do her THAT wrong.

      I love the ‘break up on a post it’ episode. She so deserved that.

  3. I never really thought of SATC as a feminist show. It had feminist elements, like owning your sexuality (Samantha) and being unabashedly successful professionally (Miranda), plus there were occasional moments — like when Miranda got put through all that b.s. to buy her apartment because she was a single woman. But as a whole? Meh.

    Carrie was always my least favorite. And I will NEVER understand how she had that wardrobe on a columnist’s salary. The apartment, OK, they mention it was rent controlled so that’s feasible, but Manolos? Hell to the no.

  4. I’ve been casually reading this blog for about a month now and liking it more and more, but this post set me over the edge. I had to register so I could comment.

    A-FREAKING-MEN! Carrie Bradshaw represents everything I can’t stand about a lot of women, which has been summed up beautifully here. I will willingly cop to watching just about every episode (it’s like a train wreck for me–can’t. stop. watching.), mostly so I can see how they will analyze every situation to blame men and absolve themselves of responsibility for their own behavior. When I say “they,” I mostly mean Carrie, but the others did it too.

    I’m always so disappointed when I meet women who are trying to build that SATC social life. Kudos to the show for showing strong female friendships, but I’ll pass on 90% of the content in those conversations.

  5. You are NOT alone. I’ve watched the whole series at least twice over the years, and while Carrie is entertaining, she is the least likable character. The other characters were human beings with flaws. Carrie isn’t just flawed- she’s offensive. While Charlotte may be naive, Carrie is just clueless. I was so disappointed that by the end of the series, she hadn’t learned a single thing, and was allowed to “win” without never maturing or improving.

    1. Exactly! A protagonist who doesn’t grow or change or something is a sign of crappy storytelling! The protagonist, by definition, is supposed to move the action along. Carrie just moved from one opportunity to obsess about herself to another.

      And as many Persephoneers will vouch, writing professionally is about 1/10th as romantic, simple and financially rewarding as she made it out to be.

  6. Okay, nobody set me on fire, but Sex & the City has always struck me as some writing team’s first crack at tapping the female market.

    As such, it gets one or two things right, but generally makes a short-sighted and slightly insulting mess of the whole thing.

    All of this, of course, is just my opinion. I know quite a few good feminists who live and breathe this show, and it may be that I was simply too young when this show hit HBO to relate to it, but it has ALWAYS struck me as a clumsy portrayal of truly “modern women.”

  7. I liked the show a lot more in the beginning when it was a little edgier. I didn’t want to be Carrie Bradshaw but it was refreshing to see a character not desperate for marriage and children. I like that her and Big stuck to their guns about the kid issue. There aren’t too many childfree women characters on TV or in movies.
    The show ended up being shallow and so were the movies. I got a couple of chuckles out of Charlotte, even though she was my least favorite character. I liked Miranda and Samantha.

    1. You know, that’s true. There *aren’t* many child-free women on television, so that is a plus in her favor. But have you noticed that writers tend to make those women who are child-free on television cold, unpleasant, and even mean. And not like “this woman looks mean because she’s behaving like an average ambitious man,” but like, actually mean for no point whatsoever.

      When I think of the women I know who have chosen not to have children, they are all warm, generally polite, and ambitious women.

      In fact, when I think of the men I know who are in the same boat, they too are warm, generally polite, and ambitious.

      So what gives?

      1. In an episode I was watching recently (the one where they journey off the island to attend partygirl Laney’s baby shower), there wasn’t a single scene where Carrie isn’t making fun of Laney for deciding to get married and have children…yet, in several other episodes she laments the fact that people won’t just accept her for her life choices and not push her into the whole marriage/babies thing. Carrie Bradshaw is a hypocrite. Or at least the writers who created her are.

        That’s why she’s so unlikeable. She bristles at anyone questioning the smallest detail about her, but she’s so uptight, judgy and downright snarky when it comes to everyone else.

  8. I get that the show revolves around the Carrie character but I don’t think that’s an excuse for her to be a selfish jerk. She constantly changes the subject on her friends and makes everything about her. I never understood why so many women weren’t ashamed to identify with her. Sometimes I feel Sookie is the new Carrie. Ugh.

  9. Are you in my head? You’re totally preaching to the choir here, cuz I’ve hated Carrie for-nearly-ever. I think the only thing I liked about her was the voice-over. Otherwise, I was definitely Team Miranda, with a soft-spot for Charlotte.

    I watched the first movie for the dresses, pure and simple. And I would watch it again ONLY for that reason. I am not crazy about wearing dresses usually, but I actually want to marry the Vivienne Westwood dress. I want to wear it every day for the rest of my life. I’d have to figure out how to work in the lab with it on, but it’d be worth it.

    However, I will NOT watch the 2nd movie. The commercials offended me, so I couldn’t bear to watch the whole thing.

    Anyhoo, I second that emotion.

  10. I always cringe when any lady I know comments that they “relate most” to Carrie, or that she is their favorite character from SATC, and you have aptly outlined the precise reasons I feel that way.

    I don’t think she’s a good person, and I have no idea why she has to be the glue between the four friends–if for some reason she was in my social circle she would get hidden from the facebook feed for sure. Can you imagine her updates? Ugh.

    1. Ditto to everything everyone is saying! I watched these in college, and at some point, I started to loathe Carrie to the point where I couldn’t participate in the SATC marathons because I was always yelling at the TV about how obnoxious Carrie is. She’s profoundly selfish and expects everyone to cater to her every feeling, but gives not one shit about her friends having devastating breakdowns. I particularly hate how she responds to Samantha with constant judgment and disregard for Samantha’s feelings.

      I hated that she was the best friend for everyone in the group when in reality, she’s a terrible friend.

      1. Weirdly enough I’d say Samantha was the most loyal and caring overall. She was the one who was the most consistent and supportive, least judgy and the least self-absorbed of all of them. And yet she was always presented as the one who was the most selfish and brazen. Coincidence, I think not.

  11. My two favorite characters on the show were Miranda and Steve. I always thought of Miranda as the best representative of the modern woman, because she was strong, but at the same time allowed herself to be unsure. People called her “bitchy,” but she only got that way usually when she was on her last nerve. The couple of times she told off Carrie were, in my mind, high water marks. And she and Steve were perfect for each other. It was fun to watch Miranda struggle with the idea that there was a man in Manhattan who would actually put up with her as she was, no matter what. That’s why I thought the bit about Steve cheating on her in the first move was utter crap — no matter how bad things would get, I couldn’t see him doing it. I was sorry to see him turned into window dressing in the second movie.

    Carrie really was not all she was cracked up to be, and the fact that the show was written so that everyone put up with her flightiness and neuroses just goes to prove it was more fantasy than reality.

    1. Yeah, Miranda is my favorite as well. And I love Samantha simply because she was so unapologetic throughout the entire series. I love the episode where she directly confronts Carrie for being judgmental about her sexuality. She doesn’t act like a shrinking flower or show any shame. She is who she is, take it or leave it.

      I agree, the movies were utter crap. I hate how they portrayed all the men as if they are accessories, and the second one is even worse…Samantha and Charlotte are caricatures of their characters, and the whole Carrie kisses Aidan thing despite them both being married was a new low. Carrie might do that, but Aidan never would.

  12. Carrie is the least genuine, the least unique, and has the least amount of growth over the course of the years. Sure, she remains true to herself, but that self isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    THAT’S EXACTLY IT!

    I admit: I love Sex & the City. I recognize its many flaws, but I still enjoy it immensely, and I came to the same realization after I bought the complete series on DVD (it was super on sale, how could I not?) and marathon-watched it a year or two ago. I like Carrie / can tolerate her well enough in the first few seasons, but by the end of the show, I can’t stand her.

    And there are some moments (like when she rants for a thousand years about a character in Berger’s book wearing a scrunchie) that make me simply hate her. (I’ve also never forgiven her epic fail in the episode in which she dates a bisexual guy and makes generalizations and reinforces stereotypes at every turn.)

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