FishbowlNY FishbowlDC LostRemote InsideMobileApps InsideSocialGames 10,000 Words TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

The Never-Ending War on Chick Lit

Jennifer Weiner’s comments in yesterday’s SF Chronicle profile about critics, especially female critics, who, as reporter Jane Ganahl puts it, “hold that literature should be closer to Woolf than Bushnell in temperament” will come as little surprise to the author’s fans. “You don’t have to love the term chick lit,” she says, “but if you’re smart, you’ll realize the practical implications of that kind of labeling. Female protagonist, urban setting, smart, sarcastic voice. I don’t see why it matters if you’re thrown into this category. Unless you think you’re the next coming of Virginia Woolf, and then I guess it would be a problem for you.” (Note: Weiner has discussed this issue before, including a stint as a guest author at Beatrice last March.)

To Jessa “Bookslut” Crispin, them’s fighting words: “I didn’t realize that I was a bad feminist for pointing out that chick lit treats women like they’re stupid,” Crispin sneers back. Which leads Ed Champion to wonder what she’s on about, since Crispin never cites any actual chick lit to prove her case, and his reaction to Weiner’s latest, Goodnight Nobody, is that he “didn’t really get the sense that the female characters within its pages were stupid.” He adds, “Even when certain ‘chick lit’ novels disagreed with me, I nevertheless applauded these books for placing women’s issues to the forefront and having the courage to place these plots within popular literature.”

Of course, it’s always possible that Crispin meant that the books treat women readers like they’re stupid…but, again, Champion and others would probably find more specific criticisms useful.

Mediabistro Course

Personal Essay Writing

Personal Essay WritingStarting October 28, work with a published journalist to draft, edit, and sell your first-person essays! Jessica Olien will help you to workshop your writing so that it's ready to pitch to editors. You'll learn how to tell your personal story, self-edit you work to assess voice, style, and tone, and sell your essays for publication. Register now!