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The Independent Online

Hype is, of course, as essential to the Hollywood cocktail as vodka is to a Cosmopolitan. And barely a year goes by without a new film being heralded as a triumph that has skewered a zeitgeist like the heel of a Manolo Blahnik descending on a red carpet. But there is something about the release of the Sex And The City film, which premiered last night in London, which does feel rather momentous; and not just for the armies of fans of the long-running and award-winning US television series, but, in some way, for gender relations too.

Even those who have never watched the show will be dimly aware that it was about the romantic and professional tribulations of four single, professional, women in Manhattan. There have been plenty of strong female characters in TV drama serials before; but this was the first time a show had been focused exclusively on their lives. Another reason Sex And The City made such an impression was its frank discussions of female sexuality. To many women, this felt like another piece in the emancipation jigsaw clicking into place.

We should not layer on too much make-up in an attempt to emphasise the show's feminist credentials. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda all belonged to a rather thin and privileged strip of womanhood. And some critics have argued that the manner in which the series ended with all four characters, even the avowedly independent Samantha, finding fulfilment in the arms of a man was something of a cop out.

But there can be no denying that the show has changed the depiction of women on the small (and now large) screen. Sex and The City might not stand comparison with the victories of the Suffragette movement, but it feels like an elegant step forward nonetheless.

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