The SATC Women ☕️?

There have been two very popular personality quizzes, especially for women, going around the internet forever: Are you a Carrie, a Charlotte, a Miranda or a Samantha? 

And second, are you a Monica, a Rachel or a Phoebe?

As an ardent fan of both, Sex and the City and Friends, I have some things to say.

When identifying yourself as a Monica, Phoebe or Rachel, you usually can’t pin point to anyone unless you have a reference point. For example, when compared with my two other friends, I usually feel like I’m a Phoebe and they are Monica and Rachel. But individually I don’t really identify with Phoebe as much. This is the opinion of most of the people that I’ve talked to, that individually they are neither the ‘mom of the group’ type, nor the ‘spoiled rich girl’ type nor the ‘weird but cool, go with the flow’ type. But if you put three girls together, any three girls, one of them is definitely a Monica, a Phoebe and a Rachel, even if not in absolute terms, certainly in relation to each other.

On the other hand, the Sex and the City gals, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are developed in a way that almost everybody identifies as at least one of them. Some may say they are a combination of two or more characters, which rarely happens in the case of Monica, Rachel and Phoebe, but everyone always leans  more towards one of the characters.

So what makes the Sex and the City women so unique, real and relatable for people from all walks of life? What do they really represent?

Image Courtesy: Buzzfeed 

For years Sex and the City viewers have used this question as a kind of Sorting Hat or personality quiz. This is because each woman is so clearly defined that most of us can identify with one or the other.

Image Courtesy: Carrie Bradshaw | Insider 

Carrie Bardshaw, the protagonist,  is one of the best depictions of the imperfectly perfect woman on TV. She’s neurotic but creative, sometimes comes off as shallow because of her love for material things like fashion, shoes in particular, and extravagant lifestyle but she is a person who feels deeply. She is a semi-autobiographical author and embodies the idea of being the writer of your own story. Her flaws gave her complexity and her ability to fail, get back up and walk it off makes her attractive. As for her love life, she is usually attracted to conflict in relationships. Easy relationships are alien to her and even when she finds one, she messes things up, a trait that is relatable to many in real life.  Carrie is a multidimensional, complex character who is a fierce, independent, self loving  woman for whom friends always come first. 

However, Carrie Bradshaw is not flawless as a friend, even though the show tries to make her so. She often turns all the conversations to herself and her problems, even in the middle of way-more important discussions about her friends’ lives. She can also be quite judgemental at times, even if it is out of love and concern. She points out mistakes that her friends make but never accepts that she is making the same ones. Some say Carrie Bradshaw is the embodiment of something called the “main character syndrome”. 

“Carrie Bradshaw is obviously the main character of Sex and the City and its forthcoming reboot, And Just Like That, but what’s really annoying — and relevant — is the way that character acts like she knows she’s starring in her own show.”


Image Courtesy: Charlotte York | HBO 

Charlotte York is the hopeless romantic type, one who believes in love at first sight and a fairytale love. But unlike the usual depiction of such women on TV, Charlotte has several nuances to her character. Her firm belief in love makes her the most loving, caring and sensitive person on the show. The plotlines of her character are such that they should’ve broken her belief in love within the first few seasons. But Charlotte being Charlotte, does not let her faith waver and keeps looking for things she wants in life until she gets them. As Miranda says in her wedding toast, “Charlotte, who knows what she wants and goes for it.”  

However, one of her character flaws is her focus on superficial external qualities in her search for a potential husband. Her first marriage fails for that very reason. Charlotte eventually ends up marrying Harry, a man who is the exact opposite of all the things she ever thought she wanted but falls in love with in the most unexpected manner. This relationship undoes all her damaging love myths as she comes to understand how little the superficial things really matter and she he stops holding herself to a too rigid preconceived plan. This character growth really teaches a lot to young women.

Another flaw of Charlotte’s is that she is very judgemental. Samantha and Charlotte are practically the opposite of each other and Charlotte often expresses her utter distaste towards some of Samantha’s choices. She also is not the career oriented person that women can look up to. She gives up her career for being a housewife, letting her talents go to waste. The only way she can afford her Manhattan lifestyle is because of all the inherited and alimony money and yet she shames Carrie for not managing her finances correctly. But through it all, she is a fierce friend who doesn’t give up on her loved ones just because things get rocky.

Image Courtesy: Miranda Hobbes | HBO

Miranda Hobbes is an ambitious, feminist career woman who is very cynical when it comes to love. Somewhat the opposite of Charlotte. But she too craves love and companionship somewhere deep inside and is constantly questioning why women can’t have it all. She also calls out the other women for obsessing over men when they are such strong independent people with  a life that is way more fulfilling than just their love lives. She also calls out the sexist double standards in society throughout the show, even when her friends sometimes conform or fall prey to them. But towards the end of the show, she comes to realize that there are some traditional things that bring her joy- having and raising a baby her own way, making a sacrifice for her family and moving to Brooklyn, marrying Steve and working on the marriage to keep the family together- and and that allowing these into her life does not make her a sellout. Her abrasive, opinionated, cynical personality was not appreciated at that time but today all these qualities are valued a lot. Today, hating on a woman for owning her intelligence is no longer cool and more and more people try to emulate Miranda in their lives everyday. Because Miranda Hobbs had the guts to go against the grain back then the character has endured as someone we look up to now. Miranda too has her own commitment and intimacy issues. She thinks she is not good at expressing emotions but when she finds the guy for whom she wants to overcome these struggles, she does it. She even gets married, something she hasn’t ever attached much value to. The idea is that she found the person who challenges her, changes her but in a good way, while preserving her uniqueness, and really helps her evolve in life. Miranda too can get quite judgemental at times but at the end of the day, she is there for her friends. 

Image Courtesy: Samantha | Popsugar 

Samantha Jones is THE most controversial character on the show, both on and off screen. Her sexual escapades are what bring the ‘sex’ to ‘sex and the city’. But even if Samatha comes off as the female version of the bachelorette trope, her journey of overcoming her intimacy issues while staying true to herself, unabashedly is  something that wasn’t popularly seen on tv at the time. She was the one who pushed the hardest against the idea that women had to settle down by a certain age and the assumption that one has to copy others’ life choices or conform to societal standards in general. She is the most non judgemental of them all, gives great advice in her own unique way and even if she might not relate to the other girls’ life choices at times, she takes an effort to understand them and support them at every turn. To be a Samantha is not to be sex crazed, promiscuous or even necessarily single, it’s to be self-assured, emotionally evolving and true to yourself.

Those who have watched the show will agree when I say that Carrie, with all her unlikeness, is still somewhat an amalgamation of the other three characters. Like Charlotte, she is looking for love, real love that engulfs her, fulfills her. Like Miranda, her many failed relationships push her one step closer to turning her into a cynic. Like Samantha, she is not afraid to experiment in life. Despite all the theatrics that entails with a dramedy like this, we can learn from the four ladies how important it is to discover the unexpected exciting layers of ourselves while indulging in an entertaining series.

-Wani Deoras

     SY BSc (2021-24)

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