Candace Bushnell: ‘The first thing men do is categorize women into types’

by Susan Ryant

Authors Night With The East Hampton Library

Candace Bushnell is so impressive, honestly. She built a one-woman empire on a relationship column, she still writes bestselling books and she still has cultural and social relevance. Her book, Is There Still Sex in the City?, came out in 2019, and she’s currently performing a one-woman show at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Bushnell chatted with The Cut about her show, writing and how women are perceived in the year of our lord Beyonce 2021. Some highlights:

Her show is easy-peasy: “Darling. Babe. I’ve written 150,000-word novels. This show is less than 10,000 words. I can write 10,000 words in two days.”

Types of women: “We all know there are more than just four types of women. But it’s easy to organize in case there’s a war.” Now she says: “At one time, there were only two types of women: the Madonna and the Whore. Now there are four… This is an improvement.”

All women on TV are written by men: “The first thing men do is categorize women into types. That’s how you sell things — you put it in a package.” I ask about her own system of classification, especially in her column’s mentions of “modelizers” and “toxic bachelors,” which contributes to so much of her writing’s sociological wit. “You go out with different types—there’s that word again—of men: the banker, the artist. Of course, I put people into categories, too, because that’s what I do as a writer.”

She expects flaws: “I expect people to be flawed, and not a lot fazes me.”

When she moved to New York: “New York City was one of the few places probably in the world where you could see women who were genuinely successful. And it made you feel like you could do it. People were saying, ‘Hey, if this person can do it, how come I can’t?’ And, well, that’s the internet now.”

She laments the transition from physical to online persona-building. “There used to be so much posturing. Now there’s a lot of posturing online, but there used to be a lot of posturing in person.” Isn’t being online at the club just another way of documenting social scenes, much as she was doing with her column? No, she explains (correctly) because now the cameras are turned inward instead of out, and she questions what it’s like going out in the age of Instagram.

[From The Cut]

Not to be #NotAllTVWriters, but there are some female TV writers! But even they still use dumb stereotypes and lady tropes most of the time. I do wonder what Sex and the City would have been like if it was written entirely by women and not gay men though… a totally different show, right? And yes, men do think of women as types and usually those types are pretty f–king insulting. I love Bushnell’s anthropological mind of trying to figure out how younger people are dating, communicating and building their personas, online and in life.

Update: this interview is a few weeks old and the news this week is that Candace had to hit pause on her show because she came down with Covid.

Candace Bushnell

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.