The media constantly uses the word “catfight” to tear down women – and Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t here for it.
Sex And The City was one of the greatest shows of the Noughties, championing independence, career women, sexuality, and, above all else, the importance of female friendship.
However, as fans of the sitcom will no doubt already be aware, it has long been reported that Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall do not get along – a story which gained extra prominence when the latter told Piers Morgan that her co-star “could have been nicer” during their time on the HBO show.
And, when Cattrall’s brother passed away earlier this year, SJP reached out to offer her condolences – only for her former co-star to respond: “You are not my family. You are not my friend.”
Now, though, SJP has insisted that there is no catfight – and that she doesn’t want SATC’s legacy to be tainted by the media’s insistence that women can’t enjoy working together.
“I’d just like to remind everybody that there is no catfight,” she told Vulture.
“I have never uttered an unkind, unsupportive, unfriendly word, so I would love to redefine it. [And] I also want to remind everybody that there were four women on the set and I spent equal time with all of them, so this was not a set with two women who didn’t get along.”
She continued: “I’ve always held Kim’s work in high regard and always appreciative of her contributions. If she chooses not to do the third movie, there’s not a lot I can do to change her mind and we must respect it. That’s the only thing I’ve ever said about it, you know?
“The three of us [SJP, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon] have shared our disappointment that we’re not making that movie, not just on our behalf but our crew, but also just the people that have been vocal about wanting to see it. But we still live in a free country where people get to make choices, and sometimes the answer is ‘no’, and the only way to respond for me is to respect that.”
SJP finished by saying: “There is no catfight, there never has been a catfight. I’ve never fought with someone publicly in my life, nor would I.”
It is not the first time that the actress has addressed the sexist nature of these tabloid reports: she previously referred to her co-stars as “sisters” in an interview, although she added that, just like any friendship, there were ups and downs.
“This sort of narrative, this ongoing catfight, it really used to upset me for a very long time,” said SJP at the time.
“Was every day perfect? Were people always desperately, hopelessly in love with each other? No, but this is a family of people who needed each other, relied upon each other, and loved each other.”
Her words echo those of Cattrall herself, who previously told the Mail Online that rumours of discord between her and her SATC co-stars was nothing but tabloid fantasy.
“The press has to put women in these boxes rather than show them as the movie portrays them: working together and being powerful,” she said.
“Things just have to be explosive for no other reason than for people’s imaginations.”
Cattrall and SJP are not the first actresses to call out the media for portraying women as sexist stereotypes: Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron, who worked together on Snow White & The Huntsman, have also pointed out that they get on well with their female colleagues.
Speaking about the issue, Blunt said: “We were all talking one day, and Charlize [Theron] was like, ‘Do you know what’s funny is I think sometimes, whether it’s the media or just society, [people] like to paint the picture that women sort of bitch about each other, and women are competitive and jealous and vying and watchful of each other.
“And she said, ‘And you know, the only issues I’ve ever had on set have been with a dude.’ And I would agree. The only time I feel like I’ve rolled my eyes at somebody I’ve been working with, it’s been a guy.”
The Girl on the Train star added: “It’s just been my experience that I’ve gotten along with every woman that I’ve worked with. I have not felt any preciousness or hierarchy or anything like that. I’ve just never had an issue!”
And Sarah Paulson – who’s been working alongside the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett on the Ocean’s 11 reboot – has also dismissed tabloid stories of women feuding on set as “sad”.
“I promise you it would not be like that if a bunch of boys would get together – ‘bro fights,’” she said.
“I hate to support that narrative or that idea and it certainly couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Essentially, it’s high time that the term ‘catfight’ needs to be retired: it’s obnoxious, it’s damaging and it’s a grim throwback to a time when women were pitted against one another in order to prevent them reaching their full potential.
Above all else, though, it is grossly inaccurate.
As Sheryl Sandberg puts it: “Women aren’t any meaner to women than men are to one another. Women are just expected to be nicer. We stereotype men as aggressive and women as kind. When women violate those stereotypes, we judge them harshly.”
The best way to put these rumours to bed, she adds, is for businesses to promote equality between the sexes.
“A talented woman presents a threat if there’s only one seat for a woman at the table,” she says.