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By Whitney Borup | February 14, 2009

Since we’re on the subject and all, let’s go ahead and talk about the term “chick flick,” shall we?

What an awful term. Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that referring to a woman as a baby chicken is a little strange – and vaguely offensive – and focus on the idea that a film is made for women and therefore is generally bad. Because no matter if you’re a man or a woman, the phrase is a negativism. Women who like these romantic (comedies) will embarrassingly or defiantly (depending on the woman) admit it. Women who don’t like the films classified as such will remove themselves from the entire gender by way of denial. And lest we make this an entirely feminist issue: men don’t bode well either. A man who admits to liking “Love Actually” stands the chance of being called all sorts of things related to the female genitalia, and those who don’t have to hyper-masculinize themselves and stick to regimen. It’s a disaster.

Why must we divide movies already categorized beyond recognition. Not only does “Revolutionary Road” have to be an Oscar-bound (it wishes), Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, historical melodrama…now it has to be a “chick flick,” too? How the s**t are we supposed to keep track of all that?

Using the ever-reliable Wikipedia, I found out that the term “chick-flick” emerged in the 80s (a decade I have always had a problem with, unrelated to the fact/primarily because I was born in the midst of it) when movies like “Beaches” (pile of s**t that it is) were making the ladies flock to the threatres (then trudge out, crying).

What really bothers me about the term is the general acceptance it has evoked among writers, critics, viewers, and generally smart people. Scholars like Molly Haskell has seemingly embraced the term in her work with “women’s pictures,” and uses it in her discussions of post-feminism. Why hasn’t the term “guy-cry” been similarly integrated into intelligent discussions? Perhaps it is because guy-cry films like “Good Will Hunting,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “Remember the Titans” are considered by the general populace to be “good” and therefore unworthy of a derogatory genre-descriptive.

Perhaps women are more inclined to see films with romantic/emotional content. That isn’t necessarily a negative or positive. The problem arises when we lump an entire group of people together and judge them based on one descriptive. Obviously.

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