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Orientalism in Sex and the City 2 (Movie Review) (Movie Review Sample)


The aspect of orientalism in the movie "Sex and the city 2"


Orientalism in Sex and the City 2
Orientalism in Sex and the City 2
The Sex and the City media franchise is largely renowned and is comprised of six television seasons and two films. In particular, the television series, throughout its course had been extensively acclaimed and applauded with respect to its brand-new and revolutionary attitude towards different societal aspects, addressing modern-day themes including feminineness, promiscuity, as well as sexuality, and at the same time delving into the complex perspective of both passionate and amicable relations. It was this major acclaim that propelled the creation of the first film, which also obtained considerable praise. However, the second film, Sex and the City 2, had an entirely novel societal issue come into play. For a considerable part of the scenes in the film, the main protagonists of the film, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, all take an all-paid luxury trip to Abu Dhabi. What comes about from this subsequent portrayal within the film is a substantially orientalist and racist representation of the Middle East.
In delineation, orientalism is a manner of perception that visualizes, accentuates, embellishes and misrepresents differences of Arab people and cultures in comparison to that of Europe and the United States. More often than not it encompasses perceiving the Arab culture as unusual, backward, uncivilized, and from time to time unsafe. It takes into account the recognition in the West of the basic difference between East and West as the origin and basis for extravagant philosophies, blockbusters, narratives, social portrayals, and political accounts with reference to the Orient, its societies, civilizations, and the like (Said, 2001). In accordance to Said (2001), the Orient is created and characterized as incessantly in need of rectifications and assistances from somewhere else and on account of being superior. With respect to advancement, beliefs and race, it is deemed that the West meets the requirements for that role. In addition, bearing in mind the Orient does not have the ability to depend on its own, to give its own remarks, to undertake essential improvements for itself, it has come to be an important aspect for the West to assist the Orient. Said makes the argument that this is the manner in which Orientalism offers the coherent basis for why the Orient ought to continue being under Western domination. On the basis of the orientalism presented by Said (2001) as well as on characteristic descriptions of the media and films, it can be posited that there are issues with regard to the Western comprehension of Eastern cultures. To begin with, the Western perspective of the East is largely swayed by the stereotypical damaging depictions that are incessantly presented by Hollywood films. This kind of a wrong depiction precludes the West from being able to completely understand and fully know the actuality of cultures in the Middle East. In addition, the interpretations of these cultures by scholars in the West are assessed and inferenced through the standpoint of Western beliefs and values. More often than not, this gives rise to misapprehension. Moreover, several assumptions are made devoid of having actually made a visitation to any Middle Eastern nation (Qutub, 2013).
From the outset, Sex and the City 2 has features of orientalism. While in New York, at the time when Samantha reveals the news to her three friends that they are about to leave for Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, Carrie come out and asserts that for a long time she has been riveted by the Middle East. However, she goes on to create an image outside of history in an Orientalist manner with the perception of the Middle East having desert moons, magic carpets and also Scheherazade. The adopted daughter of Charlotte responds by asking whether the Middle East is akin to the scenes in the cartoon Jasmine and Aladdin. Right from the start, it can be perceived that the playwrights for Sex and the City 2 already have biased notions from watching the film Aladdin presented by Disney, which also had several aspects of orientalism. Moreover, subsequent to boarding the flight and while on their way, Carrie appears to have the perspective of the Middle East being backward and civilized as he states that there is “Arab Pringles”. This is no different from normal Pringles, the only difference being the language on the packaging. At the end of the day, this points to the conception that such less developed nations ought not to have products from major brands. In addition, while being on the plane, after hearing a flight attendant provide the usual flight directives in Arabic, Samantha acts like a wild-eyed youngster who is hearing a foreign language for the very first time. She goes on to assert, “I wonder what she’s saying. It sounds so exotic!” (Ali, 2010).
As the film progresses, there continues to be orientalist perspective. Another poor perspective is the consideration that the Middle East is an unsafe and dangerous area to exist in. To begin with, after getting to their hotel, Charlotte Goldenblatt chooses to revert back to using her maiden name once she meets her butler. When questioned why chose to do so, Charlotte explicates that it is the Middle East. With this sort of remark, it is possible to perceive that some of these New York women fear for their safety in what they consider bizarre and Middle Eastern expanse. Secondly, there is also the scene in the film where Samantha goes through a meltdown in the market whilst flying packages of dropped condoms, which is completely offensive to a group of Muslim men. In this particular scene, Samantha appears wearing shorts and a somewhat revealing top and ends up spilling several condoms from her own purse while smack in the middle of a market that is largely crowded. Perceptibly and also portrayed in a wrong way, this takes place while the Islamic call to prayer, Adhan, is being conducted. Owing to the spill, the film portrays the annoyed, stubbly Arab men, overawed by astonishment, opting to cease partaking in their everyday activities and hectic lives to surround Samantha and start calling her a slut. In turn Samantha jumps up holding the spilled condoms telling them that she uses them to partake in sex and owing to the poor portrayal of the men, they all start chasing the ladies (Ali, 2010).
It is deemed that the purpose of this is to perceive Samantha’s behavior as being a brave and audacious challenge to men who dominate and subjugate their women. However, this is represented in the wrong manner and most of all for the reason that Samantha does not have any moral authority to take part in such liberation (Holm, 2017). This is perhaps deemed to be the most discourteous and impertinent scene in the whole film. This is largely for the reason that not only does it show disrepute to the Muslim culture together with their societal beliefs and ideals, but at the same time also had a disparaging influence with respect to the empowerment of women. It is completely unsuitable. Moreover, the scene portrays the Arab men as being terrifying and also intimidating both consumer and sexual liberty (Qutub, 2013).
The four ladies from New York, akin to imperialistic dolls, make the most of Abu Dhabi for vacation and self-indulgence devoid of making any palpable, solid endeavors to learn and gain knowledge regarding the people there and their everyday living. In fact, they further go ahead to make assumptions about the people around them and their culture. For instance, Miranda constantly states, “Hanh Gee”, with the thought that it means “yes” in Arabic yet it is a language that is spoken in the South Asian region by the Hindi and Punjabi people. In addition, with complete disregard of the significance of her actions, she wrongly informs the audience that all of the women living in the Middle East are forced and mandated to cover themselves. To make it even worse, each single female character that is portrayed within Sex and the City 2 is veiled, hushed, or downcast by violent men, an aspect that is completely wrong in real life. This, again, is indicative of orientalism in the film (Ali, 2010). Similarly, when seeing a lady wearing a veil eating French Fries, Samantha gives the remark that these acts indicate that women are not allowed to have voice. However, this is simply an exaggeration and misrepresentation of what is portrayed in the film. In addition, the notion of women liberation is completely taken out of context as Samantha continues to make unripe witticisms such as “ Lawrence of my Labia” and also carrying out fellatio on a sheesha pipe in the open (Ali, 2010).
Basically, Sex and the City 2 employs only two wide-ranging aspects to portray the Middle East. The first one is representing the Middle East as a wealthy Eden for the four protagonists in the film to inconsiderately utilize as an intermediate place of escaping reality and the second one is depicting the Middle...
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