Even just typing out that term makes me cringe.
I mean, what does it really mean? This is the definition according to Wikipedia:
Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.”
Okay…that can describe most books and they are generally not considered to be “chick lit”. When you hear that definition, you think to yourself “That doesn’t sound so bad”. But then you hear this definition of chick lit, from a publisher no less, who changes your whole perception of the genre.This is a definition from the Harlequin imprint Red Dress Ink:
Red Dress Ink is a literary collection created in 2001 in the United States and published by Harlequin Editions since June 2003 in France, of which gender is the chick lit ‘: contemporary and urban comedies with unmarried heroines and thirties.”
Granted, this definition came from a Wikipedia entry and was in French but the impact of the statement is just the same: the term “chick lit” is a bit degrading.
Maybe it is the present climate with discussion topics revolving around feminism, but the so-called genre “chick lit”and the use of the term really made me think. I never gave it much thought when I read a lot of chick lit when I was in high school and college, some from the imprint mentioned. I just wanted something fun and light to read. The stories always did gravitate towards female characters finding love but in some cases that didn’t diminish the serious undertones that the book’s direction would take. However, the public’s perception of “chick lit” has been altered so much that all people take at face value is the misconceived perceptions they made up in their mind instead of actually reading the book and seeing what it truly entails.
When I hear chick lit, I feel that the books that authors put their blood and sweat into are being mocked. A woman doesn’t like being called a chick, so then why is it okay use that term to call women’s literature? Calling it “chick lit” makes society believe that the things that we care about really doesn’t matter or is considered to be “fluff”, or worse, have no knowledge or care about the world around them. It devalues whatever our interests may be but stereotypes women, believing that every woman likes the same thing.
Could this be the publishers doing? Do they believe that these tactics are good marketing strategies and this was the best way to appeal to their female audience? Take a look at these book cover designs:
The typeface and cover design are more of a feminine nature so immediately they’ll be considered “chick lit”. That is vast difference compared to these book covers:
You see the difference?
Both sets of books can be for both genders but the chances are men will gravitate more towards the bottom set of books because it looks more masculine and appear to have more depth, while the top set has the feminine look and not taken so seriously. That is what people think when they hear the term “chick lit”.
It’s time to come up with a new term. Female writers have a hard time getting recognized from the literary awards they rarely win to the way there books get to be designed. Using “chick lit” just makes what the wrote more inferior. It shows anything remotely related to women and their interests, whatever it may be, has no appreciation and not in high esteem, which is odd because I feel women read a lot more books than men do. So wouldn’t you want books described and shown in a way that shows appreciation for all of your interests, not devalues them? Maybe Penguin Classics has the right idea. Maybe designing books like this:
avoids any type of gender confusion.
Do you like the term “chick lit”?