Diane Meier's article "Chick Lit? Women's Literature? Why Not Just...Literature?" was published today in the Huffington Post and provided an interesting first-hand account of some of the issues that come from being a woman who writes.
But my concern is larger, for the issue is insidious: the way Chick Lit has been used to denigrate a wide swath of novels about contemporary life that happen to be written by women.
If you think it's not affecting our work, not affecting what the publishers are handed, not affecting the legacy we leave for future generations, you're wrong. In The New York Times, the judges of the UK Orange Prize (for women novelists) bemoaned the grim and brutal content offered this year in the submitted manuscripts. Their conclusion: No serious woman writer wanted to be painted with the Women's Lit label, and issues contemporary and domestic, if not presented with violence, are apparently (to academics, to critics and to the general culture -- male and female, alike) seen to have less value.
Most telling, I think, are the attempted "corrections," as those who try to right the misunderstanding of Chick Lit labels on some of our books, slap on another label: "Women's Literature." As opposed to what, Literature?
Obviously this a question that probably crops up in the mind of every woman who writes.
Other intersting conversations and comments came out of my earlier post and the corresponding post on 49 Writers.