Yes, this will be a rant.
From Wikipedia: Women’s fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, “chick lit,”and other sub genres. It is distinct from Women’s writing, which refers to literature written by (rather than promoted to) women. There exists no comparable label in English for works of fiction that are marketed to males.
I added the emphasis to that last sentence. There’s no “Macho-Lit,” “Bulked-Up-On-Steroids-Lit.” “Big-Dick-Pissing-Contest-Lit.” But there is a “Chick-Lit” genre.
The Romance Writers of America organization defines women’s fiction as, “a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship.”
Change…personal growth? Somehow the sole domain of women? Or relegated to women as their only domain? It’s oppression in the literary world, as opposed to the world at large. Change and personal growth, the inner workings of relationships, emotions and awareness…these are the girders of a great story. Two points: ignoring their prevalence in non-women’s fiction is simply hypocritical, and making them the domain solely of women is asinine. The most interesting aspects of fiction are the characters…how they interact with one another and their environments. They drive a story.
I’m not suggesting we eliminate “Romance” as a genre (although I have gone on record as disliking genres). It is a helpful tool for readers who seek that kind of story. But all “Chick-Lit” is not about romance. If the gender of the authors of many “Chick-Lit” books remained unknown, the book would never be categorized as it does. Let’s be plain about it: the use of “Chick-Lit” as a genre is prejudicial. It implies that what is either created by, or marketed to, women, must be second-rate writing. Frankly, that is simply unacceptable.
Shame on all of us who perpetuate this practice! Speak out! Defy the roles assigned to us!
If you agree with me, please repost this blog. Thank you.