I was never a fan of the HBO series Sex and the City and certainly did not have any plans for watching the new HBO Max sequel “And Just Like That…,” but something came to my attention that compelled me to turn on the TV.
A friend sent me a clip where Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) discusses a new 20-something neighbor who has moved into her building, commenting that she seems too young to be able to afford a fancy apartment in an upscale New York City neighborhood. (Just like Carrie in the original series.)
“Russian hooker,” Carrie’s friend speculates about the neighbor. “It’s a common scenario in high-end real estate.” (Spoiler alert: She’s a ‘super-chic, hip successful jewelry designer” from California—neither Russian nor a hooker, and in no way relevant to the plot.)
Russian viewers are rightfully outraged, flooding the show’s social media platforms with criticism, using #metoorussian as they demand an apology. This is just the latest bit of scandal as this reboot tries on a thin veil of inclusivity, as it continues to be tone deaf to the LGBTQ community, people from India, and Black women, to name a few.
I have been outspoken about the danger of tired stereotypes and, as a Russian American female, found this moment in episode 8 of “And Just Like That…” inappropriate, offensive and tired.
The Russian community in America is a diverse bunch and numbers slightly over 3 million.
But on TV and in the movies, we are hookers and spies.
I understand that in a moment of political tension between two countries, even entertainment can be a weapon. But let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Research shows that immigrant women are much more vulnerable to violence. Continuing to promote negative stererotypes continues to victimize them and must stop.
We are in 2022, when American women are supposed to be celebrated regardless of their race or national origin. Continued damaging representation of us in the media is dangerous. It creates barriers for our families; it brings hate and racism to our communities and diminishes all the beautiful things that make America special.