In defense of Carrie Bradshaw

In a world where everyone wants to be a Miranda and #FuckingCarrie is trending on Instagram — I couldn't help but wonder, is the Carrie hate fair?

By: Grace O'Neill

For me, coming of age in the Noughties can be defined by three quintessentially '00s moments: the first time I bought a three-shades-too-dark tub of Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse foundation; the time I wrote Orlando Bloom a love letter and he replied; and the day I discovered Sex and the City.

Aged 12, Carrie Bradshaw became my idol. They say "you can't be what you can't see". Well, until Carrie Bradshaw came along I didn't know I could be a wildly overpaid newspaper columnist who possessed 100 pairs of Manolo Blahnik slingbacks, a pair perfectly sculpted arms and a sexual allure so potent that men like Bradley Cooper and David Duchovney are throwing themselves at me. (Editor's note: The jury's still out on whether or not this is possible IRL. Logic says no.)

I spent so long obsessed with being a modern day Carrie that I'm convinced the string of Very Bad dating decisions I made in my early 20s were a Carrie-inspired act of romantic self-flagellation. You've got nothing interesting to write about if you're happy, right?

Thankfully I'm passed that now, and I do understand many of the criticisms levelled at Carrie. Don't spend $40,000 USD on shoes and not have a single dollar of savings when you're 35. And don't guilt trip your friend into giving you her engagement ring to pay back off debts. Don't cheat on your lovely wholesome boyfriend and then demand he forgive you, only to dump him again a few months later.

I get that Carrie is selfish and needy and self-obsessed. I think it's Very Lame that she ruined everyone's Mexican holiday wallowing over Big in the Sex and The City then basically told Miranda to get over the fact her small, already-punching husband banged someone else.

But to me that has always been thing about Carrie — she feels like a real person. The Sex and the City writers didn't fall into the trap of thinking they had to make their female protagonist likable at the expense of being three-dimensional. Carrie is likable—she's charismatic and funny, and in the main she's a good friend and has some genuinely interesting insights into sex and relationships. But she's also very, very flawed. She makes stupid decisions; she thinks the world revolves around her; she writes about sex and relationships without being able to navigate either of those things in her life particularly well. To me, that's what's so great about her.

Maybe the reason we're retrospectively hating on Carrie so much is because it's awkward and embarrassing and a little bit painful to revisit someone whose life is so outwardly messy. Every woman I know is guilty of being occasionally narcissistic, getting hung up on a bad ex-boyfriend or having a blatant lack of self awareness. In the main, our lives still turn out to be pretty OK.

Sarah Jessica Parker entered into the fray to defend Carrie today, after The Cut ran a piece denouncing her as a bad friend for the old 'Getting Aidan To Pick Miranda Up When She Hurt Her Back And Was Naked On The Bathroom Floor' incident. "That's the worst example! Come on!" SJP wrote. "There are so many moments when Carrie is good, generous, reliable, loving, present and supportive to her dear Miranda. I assure you!"

SJP is right. Carrie's 'shitty friend' occurrences are few and far between in the series. In six seasons she does less shit things to her friends than I have to mine in the last six weeks.

And don't (honestly don't) even get me started on the clothes. Carrie deserves a full pardon for any misdeeds for that Dior by John Galliano newspaper print dress alone. (Even if she did wear it to pull a quintessentially Carrie move, bombarding Natasha at lunch to apologise for fucking her husband).

I know Miranda and #WokeCharlotte are having a moment, but let's not lose sight of the things that made us fall in love with Carrie in the first place.