Thursday, August 5, 2010

Samantha,"Sex" and breast cancer

So in one of those only in NYC moments I found myself in an elevator with Kim Catrall of "Sex and the City." Since I have briefly met SJP and Cynthia Nixon, I joked to her, "All I need is Kristin Davis and I have a matching set."

We had an elevator-length chat about Samantha's symbolism as a breast cancer survivor, and I mentioned that I found that plot line in the TV series finale reassuring when I was diagnosed. She said she had heard the same thing from women all over the world and credited the writers with handling the development well. She added that I looked nice and healthy now and wished me well. All in all it was as nice a chat as you can expect with a random celebrity meeting.

But I wanted to say more.

While I liked the movie sequel more than most people I know,  I thought the producers threw breast cancer survivors under the bus.

I could understand a decision to not mention breast cancer at all. Perhaps cancer does not,"test well," as they say in show business. But the movie had Samatha behave in ways that made no sense for a survivor.

Not only did the plot have Samantha blithely jumping on a 14 hour flight with out the slightest lymphedema precaution, the running gag in the script was how Samantha was consuming and practically bathing in any phytoestrogen she could find to fight menopause. Wallowing in wild yam puree, for example. It made no sense, most likely someone in their 40's would have been kicked in to menopause by chemotherapy, 6 years earlier.

I didn't say any of these things because of course, Catrall was not the screenwriter. However, to add insult to injury, Cynthia Nixon who plays Miranda is a breast cancer survivor in real life and was a Komen spokesperson.

I'm not saying the movie needed to be "Sex and the City 2: Samantha's Recurrence," but somewhere along the line, somebody should have at least silently respected the fact that one of our generations most memorable symbols of sexual liberation was also a breast cancer survivor.



  1. Somehow I deleted my first post, so will try again. I agree with your post. It would have been great if the Sex & the City writers had shown us how breast cancer had changed Samantha, if it's made her more compassionate, or stronger in ways she wasn't before.

    Two weeks ago, my best girlfriends from high school & I got together for our bi-annual slumber party. No longer do I indulge in lots of Margaritas, sweets and don't let a masseuse slather me with products I don't know the ingredients. Instead, I bring my own paraben free oils for them to use.
    Brenda Coffee

  2. Thanks Brenda...the first movie handled this well, she just mentioned that Smith had stuck by her side through chemo, no more, and I was fine with that.

    The second film didn't even do that much.