Girls vs. Sex and the City: Oh, How We’ve Changed

Last night, we said goodbye to HBO’s controversial spring hit, Girls. If you’re anything like us, you’re already wondering what’s going to happen with Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, Shoshanna and the rest of the gang.

It’s hard to watch Girls and not be reminded of another HBO hit, Sex and the City. Both shows feature four smart, fierce female best friends, living out their dreams in New York. But SATC premiered in 1998, 14 (!) years ago, and that has left us reflecting on the differences in single-girl society now vs. then? How do the characters in SATC and Girls show how twentysomething women have changed? One thing’s for sure: we’re still amazing!

Hannah Horvath, Girls, Carrie BradshawPhoto: East Coast Chic/Flavor Wire
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Carrie Bradshaw vs. Hannah Horvath

It's hard not to be jealous of Carrie: amazing job as a sex columnist/author, member of New York's elite, great apartment -- and what girl wouldn't give their left arm for her closet? It seems like Carrie's only real responsibility was to be fabulous and then write about it. Hannah, on the other hand, is living a distinctly unfabulous life. She bounces from internship to job to job, feels too uncool to go to a party in Brooklyn, shares an apartment and her style can kindly be called "hipster chic" and unkindly be called "Grandma disaster." When Carrie and company first hit the small screen, most people in the upper-middle class felt very comfortable and untouchable. If you had a college education, it was the ticket to a decent job and financial security. Now, not so much. Carrie represents the fabulous life most twentysomethings dream of, but knows isn't realistic. Hannah represents every college graduates biggest fear: What am I going to do with my life when I graduate?
Photo: Couture In The City/High Snobette
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Samantha Jones vs. Jessa Johansson

Samantha was the older, more promiscuous one of the group. She had more short flings than we can keep track of, with a few serious relationships thrown in. Her glamorous job as a public relations executive seems to be just a way for her to throw parties, rub elbows with the hottest people and, yes, meet more men. She's incredibly loyal to her friends, even Charlotte, who she butts heads with a lot. Jessa's also the most sexually free of her group of friends, and she boasts about her bevy of beaus. However, in the finale Jessa surprised us all by -- SPOILER ALERT -- marrying someone! Jessa was a babysitter for a while, until romantic entanglements with the father of the family got in the way. Also loyal, she comforts Marnie after her breakup with Charlie, even though she and Marnie don't get along. Jessa and Samantha show that it's okay for a woman to take charge of her own romantic and sex life, and not wait around for a man to make everything perfect. They also show how important it is to take care of your friends and always have their back -- aw! Some things never go out of style.
Photo: Celeb Addicts/HBO
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Charlotte York Goldenblatt vs. Marnie Michaels

Charlotte was the conservative, ladylike one. She believed in "The Rules" of love and dating, like men making the first move and the three-date rule. Even when she was at her most traditionalist, we couldn't help but love this "Park Avenue Pollyanna." Marnie's conservative like Charlotte, throwing dinner parties and working at an upscale gallery, but she doesn't believe in "The Rules" like Charlotte does. Marnie breaks up with Charlie, her boyfriend of three years, for being "too perfect" and "smothering her with love." Charlotte would be appalled by Marnie ending things with Charlie (even though she doesn't end up with the man she thought she would!). Marnie represents how restless twentysomething young women have become, always looking for a better romantic relationship. Charlotte shows Generation Y’s struggle to find a great guy and settle down, something we don’t see as much in 2012.
Photo: Rag Styles/HBO
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Miranda Hobbes vs. Shoshanna Shapiro

Miranda is the career-minded, cynical rock of the group. She focuses on her career first, not trusting men until her on-and-off boyfriend (and eventual husband) Steve, enters her life. Miranda is the first one of the group to really "grow up" by buying her own apartment. Shoshanna could not be more different! She's young and naive, and goes along with what the other girls want. Her "biggest baggage" is her status as a virgin, which she constantly tries to change and --SPOILER ALERT -- does in the finale. Generation Y women, like Miranda, allowed themselves to be cynical about love and focus entirely on their careers. Generation Z, in an attempt to be different, decided that they were going to be hopeful and naïve, like Shoshanna. It’s traditional to try and differentiate yourself from the generation before you, and girls like Shoshanna are that difference.
Photo: HBO
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SATC vs. Girls

Both SATC and Girls represent young women and what was important to them at the time of their premieres. For Carrie and company, it was living a fabulous life, finding true love and other big dreams. For the lovely ladies of Girls, they just need enough money to live, an "okay for now" guy and to focus on the here and now. In 1998, people could focus on those loftier dreams, because they thought the party would never end. In 2012, we know what the party looks like the morning after. The bottom line? Both shows are pop culture icons, and we love seeing women represent us on the small (and big!) screens.