Candace Bushnell's first column since Sex And The City
In the 1990s, I used to write a column for a weekly newspaper, regaling readers with stories about my dating life and that of my friends. I was the original Carrie Bradshaw - literally. My columns served as the foundation of a show you might have heard of called Sex And The City.
I penned my last column in 1996, and while I've published a number of books since then, I haven't written another column... until now.
When the TV series Sex And The City began in 1998, it was revolutionary to see single women - single, childless women, mind you - in their 30s, making their way in the world and having active sex lives.
Nowadays we wouldn't blink, but back then in 1994, when I first started writing the column, people felt there was something wrong with these women.
There was a lot of criticism of the characters. It was the kind of criticism that comes from fear. Frankly there were a lot of guys who were really threatened by it. I had men saying, "You're ruining things! Now the women are talking. Now my girlfriend's asking me questions about this and that. Now she wants things!" Believe it or not, there were guys who were really pissed off.
The #MeToo movement has been very inspiring. It has highlighted how important it is to talk about sexual harassment and abuse, because these issues flourish in the silence of women. And it's really important to talk about all aspects of what happens - about abuse of power, about taking advantage and the effect it has on young girls and women.
In my latest book Rules For Being A Girl, which I co-wrote with Katie Cotugno, we explore what happens when a girl speaks out against someone who behaves inappropriately towards her, someone older and in a position of authority - in this case, a teacher.
We look at the societal pressures to not say anything, and how the teacher retaliates when the girl dares to speak up. We wrote this story because it is so common. It happens in the news all the time.
The rules women are told to live by are conflicting. It's "don't try too hard, but here, buy gallons of make-up". When I was younger, women were told to douche [the process of cleaning a woman's vagina with a stream of water], and those douches were really bad for you.
Rules are a way society tries to control women by giving them conflicting messages. So you can't win. And when you can't win, what do you do? You give up.
But we can't give up. You have only got to look around to see that we have not yet achieved equality and that International Women's Day is still needed. We have some countries where women are treated well, but that is not in every country so until that happens we must continue working for equality for all.
I have three friends who have teenage daughters, and they've told me their daughters have had encounters with men trying to be inappropriate with them. This is not new behaviour. In the '50s and '60s, when I was a kid, this kind of stuff went on all the time. It was standard operating procedure, but nobody talked about it. You said nothing.
For years, people have been covering up this type of behaviour. We ought to be able to do something about it. This can't keep happening. We have got to change the rules.
Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno (Macmillan Children's Books, $16.99), is out on April 14.