Welcome to Bitch Lit, the blog about one woman’s examination of all things frothy, frivolous, and feminist!
Born out of a Women’s Studies course in 2009, this blog strives to define the broad title of “chick-lit” that is bestowed upon many a candy coated book. This blog also explores the themes, meaning, and importance of “chick-lit” to those who read it, write it, and market it. Above all, this blog strives to have fun and find time to enjoy this pink-splashed and frothy group of women’s literature.
Why Chick Lit?
In my final year of undergrad, I signed up for a class called “Defining Chick Lit: What is Women’s Fiction?” At that time I assumed this class would allow me, an eager young feminist women’s studies major, to rip apart a genre of work for being patently un-feminist. The first novel on the syllabus was Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. I still remember seething with rage reading every diary entry. I scribbled in the margins. I circled every time Bridget recorded her caloric intake to be under the minimum daily 1200 calories and in bold letters explained “EATING DISORDER.” I was sure this novel existed to tell women how to live and that pissed me off. Luckily, my mind was about to change dramatically.
For twelve weeks I struggled through novels both considered classic (Pride and Prejudice, The Awakening) and contemporary (Waiting to Exhale, Good in Bed). I was vocal in class and my troubles were laid out in weekly reading responses. My own prejudice against contemporary women’s writing and reading had been challenged. How could I claim to support women’s empowerment and choices when I was personally railing against one avenue that women find these things in? Why was I feeding into a cultural narrative that claims displays of femininity are weakness and brainless? I could no longer tow the popular line that these novels lacked value.
Since that class I have dedicated much of my literary time to the discussion of chick lit as a genre, as feminist/anti-feminist/post-feminist, as entertainment, as literary, as valuable. This blog was started as an outlet and interaction with a broader community of book bloggers, new authors, and chick lit fans who I have found to be passionate about this popular, yet maligned genre.
Things have changed for me as a blogger and academic since that fateful class. After graduating in 2010, I spend a solid year blogging before deciding to apply for grad school to explore this topic in an academic setting. I completed a masters degree in English, which included a full research paper on the topic of chick lit and feminist literature. Although I am not finished with chick lit as a genre, I do wish to open myself up to additional genres and topics within literature and pop culture. Bitch Lit still stands as a space for the feminist and frothy. However, it will also be home to new literary and pop culture spaces that I wish to explore, including a speculative fiction reading list my partner created for me.
Who is this Blogger?
Bitch Lit is maintained by Christine, a thirty-something, newly minted graduate in search of what she wants to be when she “grows up.” Christine completed her Honors degree in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario in 2010. In 2013 she successfully completed her masters degree in English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University where her focus was on chick lit and women’s literature, which culminated in the completion of her major research paper, “Daughters of Ex-Prom Queens”: Consumer Culture, Femininty and Autonomous Identity in Chick Lit and (Post)Feminist Literature.
Christine resides in Waterloo, Ontario with her partner and cat.
You can contact Christine through email: blitblog at gmail dot com