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.: August 2010 --> Why are books by women about contemporary life automatically classified as Chick-lit? Also: feminism

Why are books by women about contemporary life automatically classified as Chick-lit? Also: feminism

» Chick Lit? Women's Literature? Why Not Just ... Literature? Why not indeed?

[I]f Tom Wolfe had written "The Recessionistas," he would have noted the brands of shoes, the Birkin bags and the personal trainers. And he would have been praised for his attention to detail. [...] But my concern is larger, for the issue is insidious: the way Chick Lit has been used to denigrate a wide swath of novels about contemporary life that happen to be written by women.
[...] No serious woman writer want[s] to be painted with the Women's Lit label, and issues contemporary and domestic, if not presented with violence, are apparently (to academics, to critics and to the general culture -- male and female, alike) seen to have less value.

Feminism failed, really. Originally the movement was about equality for men and women. This was often framed as the freedom for women to enter the workplace as equals and for men to commit themselves to the domestic sphere if that was their calling in life. Of course the subtext to that is the reinstatement of the domestic sphere to a place of respect (the rise of factories having transformed the home from an important and necessary production facility - food, cloth, medicine, and the like - to the Victorian ideal of a haven from the working world).

Instead, women entered the workplace and the tasks necessary to survival - cooking, cleaning, and childcare - were purchased (and usually at low cost), or done as an afterthought to their "real work". Instead of shifting male attitudes about the importance of the work women have traditionally done, women's attitudes realigned to the prevailing male notion that the amount one is paid is the strongest indicator of one's worth.

Anyway, those attitudes extend to literature, apparently.

 [ 08.19.10 ]



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