Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Categorical Gripe

When I think of the many genres of books out there I think of them like different flavors of ice cream. Some people like specific tastes, some only eat one certain flavor, while other like to try something new every time. There is: action/adventure, autobiography/biography, detective/spy, family drama, fan fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, historical, horror, literary, medical/forensic, mystery, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, police, romance, science fiction/speculative, sports, suspense, thriller, war, western and more. One category makes me mad though. I don’t understand why the distinction was made in the title of this genre, a division that totally alienates a specific gender from it. I hate the genre chick-lit, also known as women’s fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the stories that fit into this category, I hate the name, the need for the category itself. The name implies that men wouldn’t be interested in these stories, that only women would read them. Does a good plot and story have to be gender specific? No, of course not. People gravitate to what they like, certainly. But am I going to forgo reading a book because the MC is a certain gender? No. I should hope the struggles any gender faces in a story is pertinent to the human condition. Are they trying to say that no man enjoyed Bridget Jones's Diary? I'm sorry but that book was hilarious! Made me laugh out loud so many times my husband questioned my sanity for a while. Why is this distinction not made with men’s fiction or (dare I coin it?) dick-lit? Sorry, it does roll off the tongue better than dude-lit, guy-lit or man-lit. To coin such a term says that women wouldn’t be as interested in male MCs, or in the stories these novels have to tell. Of course this is rubbish, I don’t care what sex the MC is, just give me a good story. Stella out! P.S.- Bevis points at Stella and looks over at Butt-head. “She said dick. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.” "Oh, shut-up!" Stella says.

5 comments:

Jean Davis said...

I'm going to vote for dick-lit just because I want to see that sign above a bookshelf in B&N. ROFL!

But.. but... Chick-lit is such a catchy phrase. Okay, really I have no better reasoning than that. Hmm. I'll have to ponder a new term suggestion.

Botanist said...

I'm afraid "chick-lit" always makes me think of vapid airheads, so I tend to assume the content is equally vacuous. Wrong of me, I know, but I guess that goes to support your argument.

So are you saying Bridget Jones's Diary was chick-lit?

*shudders*

Sorry, I can't speak for the book but the movie was hilarious. I would class it as mainstream comedy.

CJ Dawson said...

hahahaha LOVE the dick-lit (laughed out loud), and I agree 100% if the story is written well it will appeal to either sex, IMHO the "chick-lit" tag seems to me like they are degrading the quality of their own work as if it wasn't written well enough to intrigue a man.

Stella Telleria said...

Lot’s of people think that chick-lit is nothing more than “trash”, “fluffy, mind-numbing garbage”, “formulaic vapid prose”, and more. The problem is that most of the people who say these things haven’t extensively read into the genre. So why all the hating? There’s good chick-lit and there’s bad chick-lit. There’s chick-lit so bad it fits the above description very well. What genre doesn’t have bad, though?

It’s easy to judge, it’s understanding that’s hard.

Chick-lit usually has a personal, light, and humorous tone. The plots usually consist of women experiencing usual life issues, such as love, marriage, dating, relationships, friendships, roommates, corporate environments, weight issues, addiction, and much more. This differs a bit from women’s fiction because chick-lit is told in a more confiding, personal tone. It’s like having a best friend give you the skinny about her life. Chick-lit is a fascinating character study.

And yes, Bridget Jones’s Diary is definitely chick-lit. It maybe considered mainstream comedy because of it’s success, but Star Wars is also considered mainstream when it’s actually sci-fi.

While the term chick-lit is catchy, it tells men they shouldn’t be interested, and has negative connotations.

I think dick-lit could go all the way. LOL!! ;)

Botanist said...

Hmmm...Star Wars certainly has mainstream appeal, but I've never heard anyone categorise it as anything other than sci-fi.

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