- What is a chick flick?
- Is "chick flick" a demeaning term?
The first one is something people sometimes ask me, mostly when they want to know whether a particular film fits the definition of Chick Flick. My favorite discussion of this issue is the male/female dichotomy offered in the well-known philosophical treatise, "Sleepless in Seattle." At dinner, Rita Wilson starts talking about "An Affair to Remember" and begins to cry. "That's a chick's movie," Tom Hanks' character Sam Baldwin offers, dismissively. Then he adds: "Although I cried at the end of "The Dirty Dozen." He and the brother-in-law launch into a parody of their emotional recollections of the war movie. (See two clips of these scenes at the end of this post.)
It's not that simple, though. A lot of films are not so obvious. A recent poser is the film "50/50," often described as a bro-mance. Sure it focuses on men, and there's some unrepentant crudeness. (Check out the trailer scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt shaves his head with Seth Rogen's clippers.) Still, the dominant themes appear to be tenderness, love and loyalty - which might put it over into a more feminine interest category.
Not only that, but different movies appeal to different people, not to different sexes. My wife is more likely to see a violent Coen brothers film than I am while I'm the one who pushes for trips to see the romances - the schmaltzy ones, anyway.
The second question (which I asked myself) is a little more difficult for someone who came of age in the era of growing feminist awareness. Chick was a bad word, unless fluffy proto-feathers were involved. Other epithets for women were even worse, and I have argued, against one of my favorite post-feminist daughters, that "bitch" was too full of degrading meaning to be used, even ironically, to refer to her high school friends.
Grow up, Pops.
As a rule - and as a writer - I lean toward the philosophy that there is no such thing as a "bad word." There are only words used badly (inaccurately) or used to bad ends, e.g. to hurt. And I like the rhyming designation. Chick Flick. It's my shtick.
Chick lit is sometimes used dismissively for a genre of writing that is light and airy and of no interest to serious readers. Is Chick Flick the same? I am sometimes embarrassed by the pleasure I get from cinematic teen romance, so it might be fair to say yes. But I genuinely like these films. But by taking a good, hard, albeit light-hearted look at them in this blog, I hope I'm communicating that there's really nothing for anyone to be embarrassed about, nothing to look down upon.
Except maybe for "Leap Year." Its writers should be embarrassed by that one.