Back in college, I had an “I’m A Carrie” top that I procured in some juniors department or another and proudly wore around campus. I figured I had to be a Carrie. I liked to write. My inner monologue was sprinkled with questionable puns. And she was the heroine. Ah, young Sage. You loved Sex and the City, but you didn’t quite get it yet. (Check out Kim’s amazing Carrie Appreciation post here!)
It’s been ten years since I bought that top and I’ve lived in New York City for most of them. And I’ve come to understand, embrace, and proudly proclaim that I am not a Carrie. I’m a Miranda. If only they still made that merch.
Each of the girls has been maligned by a portion of the TV-watching population that has conveniently forgotten how groundbreaking this series was. But Miranda (and Carrie, to be sure) bears the full brunt of it. I won’t link it here because fuck that, but Buzzfeed once ran a piece entitled “19 Times You Wanted To Slap Miranda On Sex And The City.” (Followed up two months later by “23 Times Miranda Proved She Was The Most Empowering Character On Sex And The City.” Put those two together and Buzzfeed seems to be making the case that women who speak their minds deserve to be…well, you see where I’m going with this.)
Every Sex and the City character started out as an archetype, and Miranda was “The Career Woman.” And while her ambition is certainly a part of her legacy, it’s not what draws me to her like a soul sister. In the fairy tale of SATC, Miranda is a realist. And unless she had a hefty trust fund, every single girl who moved to the city looking for that Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle got smacked in the face with a heavy dose of reality right around the first time she watched a drunk piss himself on a crowded subway car. Miranda doesn’t expect magic out of her life and knows that anything worth getting is worth working for.
She just speaks to me, guys. Even when she’s talking about when speaking isn’t at all necessary. (“Sex is not a time to chat.”) I can wax poetic on my fictional OTPs all day long, but throw some actual romance my way and ugh. Stop being weird. Just talk to me, like a person. (“He was looking into my eyes, I was looking for the remote.”)
I’ve been told that my life might be easier if I kept my opinion to myself more often or let little daily injustices slide off my back. But as far we Mirandas are concerned, there is no life more difficult than one wherein we have to keep our mouths shut. “Maybe it’s time I stopped being so angry,” Miranda says to Carrie. “But what would you do with your free time?” Carrie counters. So long as it doesn’t rule your life, there’s nothing wrong with being a little dissatisfied. How else are things going to get better?
Here are 10 reasons why Miranda Hobbes should be your guiding light. I know she’s mine.
1) She’s proudly self-sufficient.
Miranda Hobbes may have her share of issues, but money isn’t one of them. She’s Harvard-educated, hardworking (a little too much so, actually), and eventually becomes a partner in her firm. And then Queen Miranda has to deal with the insecurities that her ass-kicking professional achievements inspire in people around her. At a speed dating event, Miranda strikes out when she leads with her real career, but lands no less than Agent Coulson when she decides to experiment and pretends to be a stewardess. (“I believe the correct term is flight attendant.” “Not if you wanna get laid.”) Even her soulmate Steve Brady has to grow up and learn to handle the fact that Miranda makes more money than him. A power struggle over a nice suit almost ends them for good, and would have, if Steve were less of a man. (I’ll get back to him later, don’t you worry.)
It’s not just boyfriends and potential hook-ups who struggle with Miranda’s independence. When she’s ready and fully able to purchase her first apartment, Miranda has to deal with an inordinate amount of inane questions. The realtor wants to know why a single woman would need all that space. The lawyer executing the contract wants to know if Miranda’s father will be co-signing for her. Hey Buzzfeed: I’d read that list if you changed the title to “19 Times Miranda Should Have Slapped Some Simple Bitches.”
But the beautiful thing about Miranda is that she clearly recognizes that the outside world’s inability to accept the idea of a self-supporting, unmarried woman is their problem. Why there aren’t entire Beyonce albums dedicated to her, I’ll never know.
2) She finally let herself fell in love with Steve Brady.
Character assassination in the first movie aside, Steve Brady is a pint-pulling prince. He’s got that adorable New Yawk accent. He loves his dog and his drunk mother. Steve is perfectly content with his gold corduroy suit and his shitty apartment, because what high-powered career could be a better calling than to the one to stand under the bar lights, keep this city perpetually buzzed, and flirt with cute redheads while he’s at it? (“If you leave, I’ll have to listen to those NYU kids with the Amstel Lights discuss Fiona Apple.”)
Miranda isn’t legitimately worried that her work or her healthy bank account will keep the boys away. What scares the hell out of her is that she won’t be able to let go. That her rigidity, her aversion to compromise, and her high standards will be her only company. (“I am never going to be happy. It’s just not going to happen for me.”) But she didn’t count on Steve Brady fighting for her.
In retrospect, it’s obviously that Steve would end up being it. Poor Skipper wasn’t up to the job. The suits she encountered through work weren’t going to challenge her at all. And Miranda knew that, as unbelievably perfect as he was, Robert was reaping the benefits of the absence of the walls that Steve helped break down. I mean…even though they were technically apart when she had him, she called their son Brady so that he’d carry both of their names. Miranda was hardly desperate for a kid – I don’t think she would have gone through with it if Steve wasn’t the father. EARTH TO MIRANDA. HE’S RIGHT THERE. But bless her heart, I think she held out for a while after that to prove that their non-traditional little family could work. And they were so terrible at not being together. Like, just the worst. (“Whenever something funny happens, I always want to tell you about it.”) But the only thing better than Miranda finally knowing what she wanted and falling apart over it (“I’m in love with Steve. Hold this.”) was Steve’s overjoyed reaction. (“I mean…come on.”)
My favorite Miranda and Steve moment isn’t a grand declaration or a kiss in the rain or even their perfectly “them” wedding in one of the city’s community gardens. It was in the season 2 episode “Ex and the City,” when Steve comes to Miranda’s apartment after she evades him on the street. It’s not outwardly romantic (“You’ve got a bat in the cave.”), but it’s the first time we see Miranda break down in front of a guy. She lets herself because she knows, with Steve, her emotions are never going to be exploited or thrown back in her face. New York might be home to plenty of guys who are taller or make a better living or have both balls, but the guys who will call you out on being “shitty” while also copping to being “shitty” themselves are few and far between.
3) Her self-deprecation.
“How are the most beautiful women in Manhattan?”
“If we see them, I’ll ask.”
Someone has to temper Samantha’s unrelenting self-confidence and that someone is Miranda.
Swag doesn’t have anything to do with how many people you sleep with. And, contrary to popular belief, no one can single-handedly instill it in you. Most of us knock around life in a perpetual state of insecurity. We’re probably wearing the wrong thing. Everyone else here is cuter than we are. That guy likes us…there’s definitely something wrong with him.
I suspect that many people who find the SATC ladies grating or unfunny are responding to the flouting of the convention that women on TV should either be meekly waiting to be noticed or twirling onstage at the Bada Bing. Let’s celebrate the fact that these four women feel great about themselves most of the time. But let’s also celebrate that Miranda occasionally gets real and voices the self-doubt that plagues so many of us.
4) She ventured into a borough and then that borough became the most trendy. Coincidence?
Miranda was dragged out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn, kicking and screaming. Okay, I exaggerate. Mildly.
It was a sacrifice she made for her family and it’s funny now to see just what a massive deal was made out of their move. If Sex and the City were made today, at least one of the girls would have started out living on Bedford Avenue or in Park Slope. I’m not going to say that it was the Brady-Hobbes family who turned Brooklyn into an artisanal food mecca and home to NYC’s fastest skyrocketing rents. I’m just saying that the timing matches up.
5) She’s who Carrie goes to for fierce, honest, tough love.
Without question, Miranda and Carrie’s friendship is the most intense of the show. They’re so alike and so open with each other that, where they differ, they differ strongly.
As I said before, Miranda’s standards for everyone in her life are sky high. She wouldn’t be so close to Carrie if she didn’t think the world of her. And that’s why it’s so frustrating for her to stand by and watch Carrie make mistakes. Not mistakes in general – but mistakes that, to her mind, lead Carrie to be devalued. Carrie is Miranda’s heart outside her own body. So she takes it personally. In other words, Miranda wasn’t always a fan of Big. (“Why are we still talking about him? He hurt her.”)
Kim wrote in depth about Carrie’s affair with Big and what a brave, emotional arc that was for the show to send her on. The blame may lie on her, but nothing about that part of her life was easy for Carrie. Especially not telling Miranda. (“I swear to god, I think my heart just stopped.”) Once, Kim confessed that she’d been holding something back from me because she was afraid of how I’d react. (Nothing like an affair with a married man, so get that out of your heads.) And while it was something that did upset me like she knew it would, I felt a little ashamed. I don’t want to be the kind of person who can’t be opened up to. I want to be the support system, not the judge. But that’s the struggle. Friendships can be forged any old place. But they’re solidified in conflict. In the un-fun stuff. Carrie and Miranda and any friendship worth its salt should be able to survive honesty. Especially when it only comes from a place of wanting the very best this life has to offer for your person.
6) She followed Charlotte all the way home, just in case she changed her mind and wanted to talk.
Because life doesn’t care about your plans, Miranda found out that she was pregnant right at the height of Charlotte’s fertility issues. There were few one-on-one Miranda/Charlotte storylines during the course of the series, but this one has the most to say about their relationship. It’s not Miranda’s fault that her lazy ovary and Steve’s single ball led to the most unlikely of conceptions, and Charlotte knows it. And Charlotte’s desperate need for a baby shouldn’t guilt Miranda into keeping hers. (Or handing it over to Charlotte, because it’s “not like a sweater.”) Regardless, Miranda knows how unfair it is for her friend – a mom-to-be if there ever was one – to be struggling in this way. So, even though Charlotte tried to avoid her on the street and refuses her offer to talk, Miranda walks behind her all the way back to Park Avenue. It’s enough for Charlotte to know that she’s there.
7) She became a mom and still kept her identity.
“I just realized; maybe it’s maturity or the wisdom that comes with age, but the witch in Hansel and Gretel, she’s very misunderstood. I mean, the woman builds her dream house, and these brats come along, and start eating it.”
Miranda Hobbes, who once brought pastel condoms as a shower gift, would be the first of the girls to pop one out – and in her own signature, down-to-business manner. (“Don’t let anyone get all cheerleader-y on me.”) She’s absolutely in love with her wee ginger babe too. However, her greatest fear as a mother – aside from accidental murder (“Look, we’re both afraid we’re going to kill the baby. That’s a given.”) – is being one of those moms. The ones who stuff down any remaining hints of their own personalities and live only for their children. She needn’t have worried.
Let’s put it in 2014 terms. There would be no monthly Brady photoshoots on Facebook. Miranda wouldn’t dare mommy-jack a status. In fact, she has a bit of an inner crisis when she accidentally drifts off while Carrie talks to her – Miranda has no interest in ranking the important people in her life, Brady included. Anyway, instead of overloading her Facebook friends with baby news, 2014 Miranda would leave them wondering if Brady were even still around. Being a mom is a fabulous thing, but Miranda knows that it shouldn’t become the only thing. She wants to integrate her family into her life – not let her motherhood eclipse everything else that makes her unique.
I don’t have a kid, but I had a puppy once. And I know that special feeling of loving something so much that you can’t remember your life without it while also fervently willing that thing you love to just stop moving and shut up for a minute so you can remember your own name. “I’m just…not ready to be separated from the baby,” Miranda sadly tells Carrie when she picks her up for the girls’ Atlantic City trip. “I’m kidding! Steve took him two hours ago. I’m free!”
I stand well outside of it, but I see the “Most Saintly Mom” competition play out every day on social media. (Honestly, it’s why I quit Pinterest and never looked back.) Pureeing your own organic, locally-sourced, fair trade baby food is just great if you’re actually doing it for your kid. Not so if your main goal is having Buzzfeed source those photos from your Mommy blog for its latest “26 Mom Hacks That Will Confirm Once And For All That You’re Better Than All Of Your Friends” lists. And that’s why I adore Miranda for being a mom with nothing to prove.
8) She struggled with her weight, like a real person.
9) She’s a feminist crusader.
“All we talk about anymore is Big or balls or small dicks. How does it happen that four smart women have nothing to talk about but boyfriends? It’s like seventh grade but with bank accounts. What about us? What we think, we feel, we know, Christ! Does it always have to be about them? Just give me a call when you’re ready to talk about something besides men.”
Another aspect of Sex and the City that seems to have been surgically removed from its current place in the culture is that fact that these kinds of conversations happened. And, more times than not, it was Miranda starting them.
I’m going to say it: every woman on that show is a feminist. Even Charlotte York-Goldenblatt. Samantha’s sexual politics break the mold and put female pleasure in the spotlight. Carrie struggles with it, but still puts a premium on maintaining her identity in the face of men who want to change her. Charlotte proves that being girly and old-fashioned in some ways doesn’t that mean a woman can’t also be tough as fucking nails. And because there’s nothing I loathe more than dick-measuring different brands of feminism (Let me have this nonsensical metaphor, please.), I won’t say that Miranda is the most anything. But she is the truth-teller in a lot of ways. (“What is this thing, that guys have these days about wanting to shave your pubic hair?” “It’s obvious, they want a little girl.”) And she reminds her ladies that gossiping over brunch is one thing, but letting relationship woes and men in general rule over their every conversation betrays a dangerous loss of identity. She’s the one you call when you need some sense knocked into you. And – thanks, Harvard law – the one you call if you might be propositioned by an artist and need to be prepared to “sue the hell out of him.”
10) Her no-nonsense approach to life.
Leave the dreamy monologues to Carrie. Miranda will be over here, speaking directly to us pragmatists.
Miranda Hobbes draws a strong line between hope and delusion. “Hope” is trusting that you and your besties can get through anything, as long as you’ve got each other. “Delusion” is assuming that Steve and Aidan can run into their exes and then carry on chatting about their dogs. (“Here’s their dog conversation: how’s your dog? Good. How’s yours? Good. Was that those two bitches who ruined our lives?”)
Yes, Miranda can give real talk. But she can also take it. The best example there is: Miranda runs through the standard review of her last date with Carrie and Berger and then lists all the perfectly reasonable excuses the guy could have for not calling her yet. With six little words, Berger sets her free.
She tries to pay it forward to a couple of weepy girls, who clearly aren’t ready to hear it. They’ve internalized that concept that’s been crammed down our throats since we hit puberty – all men should desire us and, if they don’t, we have to change. Dumb, right?
“He’s just not that into you” became a meme and then a phenomenon and then a truly atrocious movie. But the guts of it are still totally worthwhile and completely liberating. It’s a revelation to Miranda, who’s grown more confident over the course of the series. The guy isn’t that into her and that’s fine. No more reviewing game tapes. No more dissecting behavior. No more wondering what she can do differently. It’s out of her hands. What a fantastic thing. On to the next one.
Thanks for sticking with me and my girl, you guys. Our Sex and the City series will continue in the coming weeks with Sam and Char appreciation posts, not to mention an Aidan/Big debate that might end friendships. For now, leave your Miranda Hobbes adoration in the comments!