I have a confession – up until last year, I had never so much as turned a page of a chick-lit novel and I prided myself on this fact! I would snort through my nose and roll my eyes as a display of my refusal to be sucked in by such vapid, useless books.
Chick-lit, *pft*, whatever.
Then, I took a women’s studies class about chick-lit and it dramatically changed my outlook. Admittedly, this was not an easy road. You see, I hated chick-lit. I was sure chick-lit was helping dismantle feminism one shopping obsessed, neurotically charged, singleton at a time! There reached a point where my professor, in reading my harsh preconceived notations, asked me why I decided to take the class to begin with. I have to be honest; I figured I was taking a class where once a week I would get to rip on something as clearly un-feminist as chick-lit! I mean really? What is chick-lit other than silly, unimportant stories about self-absorbed women who I could never relate to?
This blog is a result of my struggle with my notions of (un)important literature, ideas of feminist writing, and seeking the purpose of chick-lit novels and how they fit into feminism as I knew it.
Ever since this class I have been thinking about the questions that Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young ask in their book Chick-Lit: The New Woman’s Fiction: “Is chick-lit advancing the cause of feminism by appealing to female audiences and featuring empowered, professional women? Or does it rehearse the same patriarchal narrative of romance and performance of femininity that feminists once rejected?”
I am starting this blog because I want to explore these questions further. I want to understand the (de)valuing of women’s writing and reading. I want to share ideas about women’s literature and contribute to the emerging discussion surrounding chick-lit. But most of all, I desire to encourage others to find value in many of these books that some of us avoid as if our Feminist Cards will be ripped up on sight of reading them.
I think that if I can go from hating Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary to adoring Plum Sykes’s Bergdorf Blondes (arguably one of the most chicky of the lits), than anyone can learn to enjoy at least one frothy book.