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Why Sex and the City’s Aidan is the ultimate example of toxic masculinity

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Kayleigh Dray
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384168 07: Actors Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) and John Corbett (Aidan) act in a scene from the HBO television series 'Sex and the City' third season, episode 'No Ifs Ands Or Butts'. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Newsmakers)

Someone asked Sarah Jessica Parker if she’s Team Big or Team Aidan – and her answer has given Sex and the City fans food for thought.

It’s a big day for Sex and the City fans, because Sarah Jessica Parker has finally, finally waded into the Team Aidan vs Team Big debate.

Speaking on The Bradshaw Boys podcast (via ET Online) about Carrie Bradshaw’s two love interests, SJP joked that she always feels forced into a “terrible position” whenever she’s asked to pick between them.

“I feel like I got both teams,” she said diplomatically.

However, when pressed further, SJP quickly folded. “There is a very quick and simple answer,” she said. “You have to be Team Big or Team John (Big’s real name), because you can’t tell a story that long and not root for that ending.”

SJP added: “Ultimately, Carrie should have ended up with Big, but it was a delight to mess around before she arrived at that.”

It’s an intriguing answer, and one which will no doubt delight Team Big fans everywhere. More importantly, though, it has stoked the flames of one hotly-contested fan theory: that Aidan was, actually, a toxic wave of abusive energy, and a Bad Boyfriend.

Don’t believe us? Read on to find out more…

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As originally reported in October 2018: it’s been over 20 years since Carrie Bradshaw (SJP) bumped into Big (Chris Noth) in a Parisian hotel and finally decided he was the true love of her life. And it’s safe to say that it was a very big moment for SATC fans: after all, the “will they won’t they” storyline of Big and Carrie had always been the show’s biggest love story.

However, there have always been those who believed that Aidan (John Corbett) was the one that Carrie should have ended up with. He was kind, and he was thoughtful, and he always put her first. He made her a closet. He bought her flat for her when she was going to lose it after frittering all her money away on shoes! He was good with her friends, too: remember how Aidan rushed to help Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) when she had a bad fall?

In short, Aidan never made Carrie feel bad, or mad, or sad about anything. He didn’t deserve to be cheated on – and Carrie didn’t deserve him. 

However, Team Aidan was delivered a fatal blow in October 2018, when one frustrated Instagram user has pointed out that the character was actually a “manic pixie artisan boy” with a ton of “red flags” and a whole lot of toxic masculinity to work through.

Sex and the City cast
Carrie Bradshaw and her actual soulmates: Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.

Instagram fan account Every Outfit On Sex And The City has accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide. 

And all of them were rattled when a damning post about Aidan went up last year.

Labelling the carpenter as “awful”, the post reminded followers that Aidan told Carrie their relationship was over if she continued to smoke cigarettes.

“It’s fucked up that his love for her is contingent on her ability to conform to his lifestyle,” insisted the writer. “Yes, he is allowed to have personal boundaries. But his ultimatum was ultimately passive-aggressive and petty.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The post went on to point out that that, although Aidan took Carrie back after her affair with Big, he didn’t forgive and forget. Instead, he “inferred that he might f**k a bartender from Scout as form of retaliation” – which is undoubtedly “emotionally abusive behaviour, towards Carrie AND the bartender Shayna”.

“Feigning availability to someone while actively withholding from your current partner is a classic dick move,” it noted.

Unfortunately for Aidan fans, the post highlighted two more questionable moments: firstly, that he seemed relieved when Carrie lied and told him she never had an abortion (exemplifying Aidan’s need to put his own narrative of his partner ON his partner in order to feel secure). 

Secondly, that – despite the fact that Carrie communicated to Aidan that she was deeply anxious and overwhelmed with the prospect of getting married – he “swiftly ambushed her with the suggestion of a shotgun wedding”.

“He wanted be married so much that it didn’t seem to matter if Carrie wanted to or not,” it concluded.

And, to be fair, that is a point well made: his break-up speech (which can be viewed below) really does not come across well when you come at it with new eyes. Particularly as the thing he seems most upset about is that she won’t wear his ring and let people know she’s taken.

The post went viral, accumulating well over 37,000 likes. And, naturally, it triggered a pretty intense conversation in the comments section on Instagram, too.

“Amen! Aidan is the WORST!” commented one.

“I never picked up on any of this because I was too busy hating her,” chimed in another.

And still one more said: “I finally feel heard! We don’t f**k with Aidan!”

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Image: Paramount Pictures/Newsmakers/Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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