27 March 2012

This chick likes lit (but not the name of the genre)


Ask people what Chick lit is about and most will say shopping sprees, makeup, clothes, etc.. Of course some books are about these things, but many Chick lit books have so much more to offer. They are about complicated family affairs, about wonderful love stories, about finding your place in life, and so on. 

And look at what wikipedia has to say about Chick lit

Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.  
... Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine's relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships. 
...  The issues dealt with are often more serious than consumerism.

So no, it's not only about buying shoes. :) Chick lit books can actually be quite serious. But to be honest I can understand why some people would think that Chick lit is equatable with books about shopping. When I hear the word chick, I think of a certain type of woman. In German I would translate chick with "Tussi" and that's not the most positive way to describe a woman. A Tussi is someone highly superficial, someone who mainly cares about how she looks and little else. So of course some people might think the same of books that are called Chick lit. 

I have never liked the term Chick lit, because it only describes one part of what the books in the genre can be about. IMO it concentrates too much on the superficial stuff and it sells the genre short. But what other term should I use? Women's fiction? Not really, I just think it sounds a bit constrained. Maybe Women's lit? Wlit?  Or something that sounds a bit cooler? I like that the genre name gives you a first idea about what the books are going to be about, maybe that's why just using "Literature" as a label for Chick lit books isn't enough for me. 

What do you think when you hear Chick lit? Can you think of a better and nicer term for the books from this genre?

12 comments:

  1. Yeah I don't like the term "chick lit"....I always think of the German term "Tussi"...always! There really should be a better and nicer term but I couldn't come up with one yet.

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    1. Just imagine if books would be called "Tussiliteratur" in Germany, I would never by these books.

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  2. I do like the term chick lit better than woman's fiction. Chick lit is still a bit funny, even though it adresses serious issues. Woman's fiction sounds really derogatory. Is there a genre for man's fiction?

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    1. Of course not. It also annoys me sometimes that books for women need an extra label, as if men need to be warned not to read these books. I'm also not a big fan of the label Women's fiction and yes, Chick lit sounds like fun, but it also has at least for me a bad vibe.

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  3. When I think of chick lit I think of a very specific kind of women's book. I think of Meg Cabot-esque sort of novels, the kind where the woman always works in HR or fashion and then meets someone rich or rugged or both, and she's horribly awkward around him and he's smooth and then there's usually some sort of misunderstanding where somebody thinks somebody else is cheating but really they were just hanging out with their long lost cousin or something and then they live happily ever after but in an open ended way.

    Other book pertaining to women I divide into other categories, but none of them have very good names. For instance, there's the kind sort of like Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood about women in their fifties who are friends with a group of women and they are outrageous and supportive. I call it "older women friendship fiction" in my head.

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    1. I love that you divide the books in your mind into different categories, I also sometimes do this. And I also create my own names and labels when doing so.

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  4. I'm ok with the Chick Lit title. I'm not ok with the whole "women's fiction". That sounds so bad and it makes me want to smack the person telling me I'm reading "women's fiction". The minute I think about chick lit those cute cartoonish covers come into my mind. I know books from other genres have that type of cover, for some reason I always associate them with chick lit. When I think about "women's fiction" I see a bunch of middle-aged people frowning at me for reading something I enjoy, a book or a series that might be different than what they teach in school.

    Women's fiction is a label that scares people off and it is sad in my opinion.

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    1. I can understand why you don't like the label Women's fiction, it sure sounds a bit stiff and not like fun. Chick- lit sounds in my opinion as if the books are only be about fun themes, even though they aren't. That' why I'm not really happy with it.

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  5. I agree, I hate the term chick lit - and the way the genre is looked down on.

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    1. It drives me crazy when people make fun of Chick lit, especially when they are women. But on the other hand I can understand why some people don't take a genre with the name Chick lit too serious.

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  6. Hi. I really like your opinion on a 'definition on chick lit'....it's a weird term and honestly....I think there's no accurate term/definition for it....I mean you can't even say "stuff that women like to read" because I like to read fantasy, UF, detective novels and my mom loves a good thriller. I think it's all about the prejudices..you now 'shopping books with some romance thrown in'. I agree that there's so much more to it, plot, character, romance, mystery..whatever the 'chick' actually wants to read! I actually have been embarrased to say 'I read chick lit' when I was in my teens, afraid that people put me in a box..etc....Now I'd say: I'm really proud to read books that mostly women would read as they are cool, smart, sassy, funny..and so on! People need to grow up and don't use generalized terms or if they do-put a good definition of it behind that.
    My friend who is a gender studies major just said: If there's chick lit, does that mean all other literature is for men..? haha...

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    1. Exatcly! Sometimes label can be helpful but the Chick lit label is too often used to mock books and readers.

      I love that you tell people that you are proud to read these books, I do the same. I think if more people would stand to what they read and don't feel ashamed to admit that they like certain kinds of books, then there would be less mocking, especially of books that seem to be for woman (but of course books are always for everyone!).

      Thanks for this great comment!

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