What comes to mind when you think of Charlotte York, one of the four heroines of the much-beloved sitcom, Sex and the City? Maybe it’s her staunch sense of tradition, her marriage to ED-riddled Trey MacDougal, or that time she acted like a lesbian to hang out with Manhattan’s cool lesbian crowd. Either way, if there was one member of the group who was passionate about her opinions, it was Charlotte.
That same passion translates into #WokeCharlotte, the new meme from the Instagram account @EveryOutfitonSATC. The meme takes some of Sex and the City’s most controversial and un-PC statements (of which there are many) and casts resident Upper East Side conservative white woman Charlotte York as the Social Justice Warrior in these scenarios.
Like that time she called out Samantha for her transphobia.
Or when she reminded her date that verbal humiliation kink should be mutually agreed upon.
Or when she told mother-in-law Bunny to “fuck off” for her anti-Asian sentiments.
And finally, that time she told Carrie not to shit on bisexual people.
In an interview with Nylon, Woke Charlotte’s creators, director Lauren Garroni and out queer designer Chelsea Fairless, said the meme began while chronicling the show’s outfits. They were “trying to think of clever ways to address the problematic dialogue in the series,” Fairless said.
“But when we write ‘that’s racist’ in response to something, it may be true, but it’s not exactly comedy gold,” she continued. “So we thought that it would be much funnier if our viewpoints came from Charlotte instead. It’s unexpected, and our audience is desperate for it.”
Of course, Charlotte wasn’t woke; none of the girls particularly were.
“Even though Charlotte is not actually ‘woke,’ she’s so passionate about her beliefs that it’s easy to imagine her as a social justice warrior,” Garroni said. “If she took all of the energy that she put into her marriage with Trey and channeled it into a more worthwhile cause, she could save the world.”
They’ve garnered the most iconic fan possible: Kristin Davis, the actress behind Charlotte. Davis wrote in an Instagram post, “I love #WokeCharlotte more than life itself.”
Both Fairless and Garroni say they want the meme to be a jumping off point to conversations about culture during Sex and the City time, but also today.
“One of the takeaways we want the audience to have is that just because you love something, you shouldn’t let it off the hook,” says Fairless. “This goes for beloved ’90s sitcoms, but could also apply to racist grandparents.”