If you’re anything like me, you stalk comments and reviews on books you already love. I almost never consult Goodreads before having read a book, but I always do after. I love reading comments about my favorite books. I love to see how a novel that changed my life changed someone else’s as well. I love to see why some people didn’t connect with it, and think to myself about how wrong they are (kidding. Kind of. 30% kidding). I genuinely believe that even the snarkiest of reviews can be beautiful, because here is a person who really wanted to love a book. Yet, in my shameless stalking of some of my favorites, I see a genre that people do not want to love. People write this genre off as trivial and often impractical, even when they end up enjoying one of its books. This genre is chick lit.
“But it’s silly.”
The word thrown around most often is silly. Chick lit is silly. You see it with the people who hated the book: “I could never get into a plot so silly.” And, unfortunately, with the people who liked the book: “I didn’t know I could get into something so silly!” So, why? Where did this idea come from, that chick lit is frivolous nonsense? I believe it’s the same stigma surrounding romantic comedy movies, bt dubs. It’s a rare man willing to say he likes romantic comedies, and I think it’s the same thing. That’s girl stuff. Girl stuff is silly, and the girls who like it are silly.
“I’m not one of those girls.”
I get this from another line I saw a lot. Also, sadly, used by both haters and lovers of the book. “I’m not the kind of girl who likes this stuff.” I will skip over talking about how annoying it is that so many people say girls when they mean women. That’s not a rant for this post. What bothers me most is that there seems to be a common consensus that you have to be a certain kind of woman to enjoy a certain kind of story. Specifically, a love story.
And who is it? This despicable character we refer to as that kind of girl. Does she drive a Jetta and drink Starbucks? Is she a flighty, gossip-y bitch? I bet she is. She’s just one step up from the magazine readers, right? Right. She’s silly.
Where did this sense of superiority come from? Shouldn’t we just be happy that people are reading, regardless of content? Why do you, holding your non-fiction book about feline aids get to stick your nose up at the silly girl reading chick lit? You don’t. Not everyone is interested in the same shit.
I hate to say that I see this a lot among women, but I do. In person and on the internet. Especially academic and/or professional women who have worked very hard and earned the right to take themselves very seriously. I feel you. I respect you. I am you. We have to stop judging other women for their choices, because that’s really what this is about. We cannot continue to laugh haughtily at the silly girls who haven’t done the same things we have with our lives.
“Don’t be so dramatic.”
Last thing. Not on the word silly, but the word dramatic. “I don’t like these books because there’s too much drama.” Stop using drama as an insult. A story best have drama, or you don’t have a story. Whether the drama is that she can’t get her partner to call her back or that a serial killer wants to unzip her skin and wear her like a little coat, it’s important. And more importantly, it’s valid. Your love for either is valid.