Wednesday, June 02, 2010

‘Sex and the City 2’ is the greenest movie of the year

Buy all the Manolos you want, being childfree is still the most powerful thing you can do for the environment
Underneath the high-living, jet-setting sheen, the movie actually has a pro-earth message: It's OK not to have babies. In fact, it's even glamorous.

We learn that Carrie and Mr. Big have decided to go childfree when an overeager fan asks when they intend to have kids. "It's just not for us," Carrie says. "So it's just going to be the two of you?" asks the fan, her voice dripping with pity. (Quotes are approximate. Ever tried to take good notes in a dark theater?)
. . .
In real life, about 20 percent of American women end up childfree, whether by choice or circumstance. In Sex and the City 2, where Samantha Jones joins Carrie in opting out of parenthood, 50 percent of our protagonists are childfree, very much by choice.

While the film (like the series before it) glamorizes the childfree life, it does not glamorize motherhood. The most emotionally resonant scene in the movie (which isn't saying much) has the two moms, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York Goldenblatt, confiding to each other how tough the whole parenting gig is, much as they love their kids. "Being a mother kicks your ass," says Miranda. Replies Charlotte, "They're driving me crazy. I feel like I'm failing all the time." And both acknowledge that they have it comparatively easy, as they've got full-time nannies. Charlotte: "How do the moms without help do it?" Miranda: "I have no fucking idea."

Carrie . . . could lead a lifestyle that's twice as carbon-intensive as a parent's -- even three, four, five times -- and still come out ahead in the end. According to a 2009 study by researchers at Oregon State University [PDF], each child an American has compounds her or his carbon legacy by about 5.7 times, because that child is likely to have children of their own and so forth.
. . .
Even beyond being childfree, Carrie leads an exemplary green life in many ways. Really. For starters, she lives in Manhattan, which, thanks to its density, has the lowest per capita greenhouse-gas emissions of any community in the country, as author David Owen explains in his book Green Metropolis. She works from home, so there's no commuting. She's never owned a car (and can barely drive). Sure, she takes cabs, but she also walks around town a lot (all the more impressive because she does it in stilettos).
. . .
Carrie and crew made treacly sweet cosmos (then flirtinis) into the drink of choice for women around the world. They turned Manolo into a household name. Carrie singlehandedly inspired nameplate-necklace and engagement-ring-on-a-chain trends. Could Sex and the City 2 make childfree living the latest craze?
As a childfree New Yorker who doesn't drive and walks everywhere... woot. I'm not giving up my reusable grocery bag or small, sustainable wardrobe anytime soon, but it is good to know that all those Stilettos I bought in my "Oh my god they make sexy vegan shoes" phase can live alongside my Birks proudly. I think it is about time we let being Childfree be glamorous again. Sure, not every childfree person is dripping with disposable income, but just think how much good the myth can do. :)

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