Emily in Paris (2020): “Sexy or Sexist?”

Emily in Paris is the newest Netflix release starring Lily Collins as Emily Cooper, a marketing executive/influencer who loves all things, French. While the American comedy series relies on fashion, it fails to deliver in several ways. The series does have actual French actors playing the roles, which is unlikely in American productions. However, that does not take away from the painful stereotyping of French culture. Emily in Paris might look like a fashionable chick flick but it is, in one word, Problematic at best. Here are some of the most problematic scenes from the series.

1. The workplace harassment

Lily Collins in Emily in Paris
Source: Netflix

A client gifts their marketing strategist lingerie as a gift to increase her confidence. This particular scenario would have been considered workplace harassment in the real world. However, it in the series, it is not brought up as harassment, except for Emily who pushes it aside after talking to Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) for less than a minute. In her words, it is “messy” since she likes to keep everything in place. The third episode of the series, “Sexy or Sexist” did try to make a statement about a woman’s worth in the eyes of men. However, the series does not do much to avoid emily becoming the same, a woman whose worth is only dependent on the eyes of men.

Bruno Gouery and Samuel Arnold in Emily in Paris(2020)
Source: Netflix

However, that isn’t the only instance where Emily has to endure workplace harassment. In another episode, Luc (Bruno Gouery) and Julein (Samuel Arnold) describe a sex-position called “The Eiffel Tower”. Much like the other problematic moments, this too is brushed off as random goof. Emily in Paris does not live up to its potential nor is it politically correct.

2. Emily in Paris’ most problematic moment

Victor Meutelet and Lily Collins in Emily in Paris
Source: Netflix

Most of the series avoids the problematic moments by brushing it off as a part of the French culture. Episode 8 “Family Affair” is one such uncomfortable watch. Emily meets Camille’s (Camille Razat) family including her 17-year-old brother Timothée (Victor Meutelet). Emily sleeps with Timothée without knowing his age, confusing him with Camille’s older brother. Understandably, it was not her fault but after his age is revealed, his own family members, they joke about it. Netflix already received immense backlash due to its controversial poster of “Cuties”. And yet the streaming website does not seem to understand the problem with underage sex. It is not just the scene itself but how it was handled. Emily in Paris seems to make a joke out of every uncomfortable situation including Gabriel cheating on Camille with Emily.

3. The Awkward love triangles

Lily Collins, Camille Raza and Lucas Bravo in Emily in Paris
Source: Netflix

Netflix series would not be complete without complex love triangles and cheating. Emily in Paris does just that but with extra love triangles. Emily being a bad friend constantly, actually sums up the series. The first kiss with Gabriel might have been a mistake since Emily did not know Gabriel was in a relationship. But, even after knowing that he was with Camille, who is a very good friend, Emily still kissed him. There is nothing wrong with pursuing your heart but not at the stake of your friend’s relationship. Gabriel is just as bad, never understanding his own feelings at moments and stringing along two separate girls at once. It is perhaps a running trope of chick flicks to depict extremely bad relationships while never showing why it is wrong.

4. The French Culture of Emily in Paris

Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Sylvie Grateau in Emily in Paris
Source: Netflix

“You come here, make no effort to learn the language, try to shove your American habits down our throat then wonder why none of us want to be around you”

Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Sylvie Grateau might just be the most grey character of the series, yet she is the most relatable of all. Emily is the epitome of white privilege, an American woman goes to Paris, has zero knowledge of the language and culture but tries to have everything her way. Sylvie’s disgust with the American 20 something is quite understandable. Emily is the epitome of the upper-middle-class American white woman with her “let me teach you the right way” attitude. Its time for Netflix to do better, especially when Emily in Paris just looks like the worst parts of Sex and the City mixed with Gossip Girl.

While any entertainment based media does come with its share of problems, some are too big to overlook. Emily in Paris has the potential to be a very well liked series. However, some things have to be politically correct, specially in a day and age where it is very important and needed.