The Sarah Jessica Parker–Kim Cattrall Feud Hit A New Level — Now Can We Be Done With It?

It’s OK to have mixed feelings about the Sex and the City scrap.

Sex and the City cast

Photo, Getty Images.

The day I found out that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams reportedly did not get along while filming The Notebook (a love story for our time; sorry, not sorry, Casablanca) was the day I swore I would never again get emotionally invested in gossip about celebrity feuds. Until this weekend, I guess: After six seasons, two movies (one of which was almost passable) and years of breathless speculation about separate on-set lunches, behind-the-scenes spats and diva-ish behaviour during salary negotiations, the bad blood between Sex and the City’s two biggest names, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, went public this weekend — in the ugliest sense.

Tragically, Cattrall’s 55-year-old brother Chris, a media rep with the RCMP, was found dead on his rural property in Blackfalds, Alta., in early February. Soon after the news broke, an outpouring of support hit social media, including from Cattrall’s reported nemesis, who wrote, “Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother.” She even slapped an affectionate “Xx” onto the end! Thoughtful, right? Cattrall didn’t see it that way — not even close. Roll the Instagram.

Well, that settles that. Adding fuel to this Manhattan-sized garbage fire, the link Cattrall tacked onto the end of her SJP call-out directed followers to a New York Post expose on SATC‘s “mean-girls culture.” She also published a note of thanks to co-star Cynthia Nixon who, in true Miranda fashion, actually phoned to express her condolences. Basically, this whole situation sucks, for a number of reasons.

The main one being that this bust-up is not one that can be conveniently slotted into the category of salacious “she said, she said” — not, at least, for those who are trying anew to regard women’s experiences through the veil of actual humanity. I have to say, at first blush, I was extremely disappointed by Cattrall’s public airing of grievances, mainly because, well, the media loves a catfight. Loves. And in the context of a show whose raison d’etre was female camaraderie (and, okay, shoes), two co-stars going at it seems like an extra shitty blow to “the cause.”

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But then, if we want to take a more nuanced read of the whole thing — which I highly recommend we start trying, in earnest, to do — Cattrall is a human woman who happens to be a public figure and also happens to be grappling, publicly, with grief. If a colleague, who allegedly bullied you for years, attempted to play a very public sympathy card without so much as a phone call? You might make an angry meme of your own.

It’s certainly crucial for women to elevate each other after so many bloody centuries of being pitted against one another — for men, for jobs, for magazine sales (!) — but to deny Cattrall her anger is to demand, yet again, that we make a woman responsible for pleasing the collective at the expense of her own preference and, perhaps, her own sense of pride. Even if that collective is a feminist one.

Basically, if you’re looking for a neat and tidy conclusion here, I don’t have it. I don’t think any of us do. I don’t know either of these women, or what actually happened under executive producer Michael Patrick King’s nose all those years, even if tabloid speculation makes me feel like I should or do. I’m tired of participating in the “I had to wonder,” Carrie Bradshaw–style mental meanderings inspired by so many girl-on-girl media spats. I’m tired of seeing press photos of two women caught serving dirty looks stitched together to look like they’re directing said looks at each other (with a squiggly torn line down the middle to signal a ruthless falling-out). Maybe, for the sake of all involved (including ourselves), we let these women fight in peace. Or on Instagram. Like regular humans.

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