Miranda Hobbes: An appreciation

The February issue of ELLE is always my favourite because it’s the TV issue and, regular readers know, I LOVE TV. I came across a rather charming, rosy-cheeked piece by Emma Rosenblum about The Carrie Diaries — which, delightful columns aside, still looks terrible. (So terrible, in fact, that the pilot has been sitting on my PVR since January. I had big plans to watch it, mercilessly judge it, and then write a column about it — and then a month went by and then OH WELL.)

While the ELLE piece failed to make me want to watch The Carrie Diaries, it did make me want to watch Sex and the City. The writer commented how comforting those early episodes are, like slipping into an old pair of jeans. They are for me, too — I was 13 when SATC debuted on HBO in 1998 and IT CHANGED MY LIFE. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype surrounding that other show about four women navigating New York City and forget SATC was one hella groundbreaking show — a fact that also got a bit lost sometime around the first movie, when the ladies became, as Rosenblum points out, “spoiled, caftan-wearing women no one could relate to.”

[related_content slugs=”in-defence-of-beyonce-knowles-carter,not-pintereste,is-lady-shaming-a-thing-now” description=”More SCREAMING” position=”right”]

But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, girls and women everywhere played the ‘Which SATC Character Are You?’ game. We thought of ourselves as a Carrie or a Charlotte or a Samantha or a Miranda. Hell, Girls even made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the pop culture phenomenon when Shoshanna told Jessa, “You’re definitely like a Carrie, but with, like, some Samantha aspects and Charlotte hair.”

When I was younger, I fancied myself a Carrie. She’s a writer (hey, like me!). She has cool style. She’s a free spirit. She isn’t uptight. She is as untamed as her hair. Wild. Free.

So you can imagine my ABJECT HORROR when my friends unanimously agreed I was a Miranda. Who wants to be Miranda? Miranda is cynical. She isn’t romantic. She’s practical to a fault. She’s acerbic. She works too much. She has bad hair and wears power suits. Ain’t nobody wants to be Miranda. (I stumbled upon a commenter on an old Jezebel story — headline: “Miranda Hobbes” Is The New “You’re Ugly” —  who disclosed she actually had a friend who CRIED because her friends said she was the Miranda of the group. CRIED, you guys.)

As it turns out, a decade and multiple viewings later, I want to be Miranda. There, I said it. I love Miranda Hobbes. What’s not to love? She’s intelligent and accomplished. She’s practical, yes, but she’s not as buttoned-up as I remember (not only did she get the funniest lines, she also has some of the series’ hottest sex). Chalk it up to life experience, but I no longer see what’s so desirable about being ‘a Carrie.’

This got me thinking about why so many young women shy away from CRY ABOUT being ‘a Miranda,’ and the answer is quite clearly spelled out in the list of qualities above, somewhere between ‘cynical’ and ‘power suit.’ The problem with Miranda is that she isn’t FEMININE. She’s the antithesis of Carrie Bradshaw in her pretty pink tutu. It’s no surprise that Miranda Hobbes’ Wikipedia entry describes her as “misandric”; after all, in our society, successful, take-no-shit, pants-wearing women are humourless, uptight man-haters, obvs. And when you’re a teenage girl, that’s the last thing you want to be. You want to be a Carrie, with her mermaid hair and refusal to settle for anything less than butterflies.

Inching ever closer to 30, being likened to Miranda — a successful, intelligent, funny woman — is a pretty awesome thing to be. MIRANDA 4 LYFE.


Jen Zoratti is a Spectator Tribune columnist and freelance music scribe. Follow her on Twitter @JenZoratti.