Books

Chick Lit- Why?


I’ve never been a feminist in the tradition of Betty Freidan, not by any stretch of the imagination. I believe in “Equal Pay for Equal Work” and things along those lines, but I am rather a traditionalist when it comes to how I view a woman’s role in a relationship. 

Sometimes I need an escape.  We all do, if that wasn’t so the television wouldn’t have been invented. 

Here’s the problem,  television portrays women in so many lights that it is sometimes difficult to see yourself.  Men have three roles, although the actor playing the role makes the role different or funny there are really only three roles:  the funny buffoon, the nice guy, and the man-slut.  Now a show like “Sex in the City” showed us three standard archetypes for women:  the good girl, the slut, and the overworked businesswoman, but what about Carrie, who is she. 

Well, some might say that she’s the everywoman.  Well, what everywoman has hundreds of thousands of dollars of shoes in her closet and writes a newspaper column about sex?  There were days when I saw myself as all three women.  And there lies the problem.  In a show that is supposed to show archetypes, women can’t see themselves in them.  Television doesn’t allow for the imaginative brainpower that women need.

That’s where books take over.  Now when most people think of books they think of the classics.  Thanks to Candice Bushnell, writer of the book “Sex and the City,” we have a wonderful section in Barnes and Noble called “Chick Lit” filled with wonderful titles like “Lipstick Jungle” and “Eat Pray Love.”  I argue that these books help women.  These books help women see themselves as the complicated creatures that they are, while also allowing the reader to live vicariously through the writer or main character of the story. 

I know that it’s crazy, that our elementary school librarian was right and that we can live vicariously through books, but it’s true.  Why do romance novels make so much money?  What Chick Lit allows for is a complete woman.  These women in these books have jobs, careers, and families. A complete life.  I see these books as a form of escapism, but haven’t men been doing this watching sports, or wrestling, or reading car magazine for many more years without feeling guilty or shameful?

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