Chick flicks: Just hearing the term brings about a negative connotation, one which involves over-sensitive, shallow female characters whose only problems have to do with finding a boyfriend or finding a sale.
It’s a sad trope overplayed in many popular films and shows: Boy and girl have a date night, boy would rather die than see a romantic movie with girl. Then there’s chick-lit, presumed to be the quick reads mothers take on the beach during vacations because they allow the brain to be shut off.
Why is there such a stigma against this? On the surface, people see chick flicks and chick lit as bad quality storytelling. Because chick flicks aren’t winning Oscars and chick-lit doesn’t usually get a Pulitzer, these genres are classified as requiring less brainpower to understand. Women have also always been seen by society as overly emotional, meaning they must be irrational. These forms of storytelling are not taken seriously because they are supposedly about the “less important” things in life.
Yet, an exponential amount of chick-flicks or female oriented films are actually helpful for women, and portray them in, if not a positive light, then a real light. Sure, the actresses playing the lead roles adhere to Hollywood beauty standards, but the characters are real women going through real problems. And none of them have anything to do with not being able to find their shoe size in their favorite style at a designer shoe sale. (Not to say that that isn’t a problem. The most important part of creating a well-rounded character is realizing that she doesn’t have to be a superhero or a tragedy in order to be a good character).
There are themes in chick flicks and chick lit that support the idea of a self-sufficient woman. Andie Anderson, played by Kate Hudson, in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, has a strong career at a women’s magazine, went to Columbia for journalism, and is educated in a variety of topics, whether it be world affairs or women’s lifestyle tips. Perhaps one of the most iconic feminist chick flicks of all time, Legally Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon, is a story about a girl who uses both her book smarts and her knowledge of the things she likes to live a balanced, successful life.
A lesser known novel, How I Came To Sparkle Again, by Kaya McLaren, is about a woman who picks her life up on her own after her husband destroys their marriage, returning to her childhood home, reconnecting with old friends, and finding a career she loves, all before deciding to find love again. So if somebody comes to you with the argument that the protagonists of these stories are in need of men, let them know that several chick flicks and lit support the idea of a woman finding herself without relying on anyone else.
Several other films actually feature the main female character and her close-knit group of female friends helping each other. You don’t even have to have read the books or have seen the films to know that The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a story about a group of young girls supporting each other through thick and thin, falling out, and going through the motions of life with friends by their side. The Other Woman (2014) is about a group of woman who are all being cheated on by the same man, but instead of getting revenge on each other, form a bond and set out to get right the wrongs caused by the man who actually hurt them. These films are doing one of the most important things that women everywhere can learn to do, and that is making women work together and love each other rather than work against each other.
More people need to be bigger advocates for chick flicks and chick lit. These stories are all about lifting women up, and letting readers know that no matter what situation they are in, there is a character they can relate to who will get through the hard times. So go read chick lit. Watch a girly movie! You’ll be better off from it.