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Monday, 7 March 2011

Chick Lit Guilt

For my final project at uni I am writing in the chick lit genre.  It's the first time I've ever written chick lit - but not because I was embarrassed to, but because I couldn't think of a new storyline.  The thing is, I read chick lit all the time.  I call it my guilty secret; although it's no longer a secret.

My point is I used to keep it a secret.  I didn't want to be judged on what I read.  Chick lit was (and still is) deemed as easy reading, unrealistic and generally a waste of time.  But I'm going to stand up and say that that is all rubbish.  Okay, so it might be 'easy reading' but sometimes that's what we need.  Fiction should be an escape from real life so who cares how realistic the story is as long as it's believable.  And I truly believe that no reading could ever be classified as a waste of time.  Despite all that, some things in chick lit have caused me to think more deeply about my life - in particular my life as a woman.

When I was younger I was under the impression that I had to have a good (high salary) job and that I had to work myself into the ground.  It is only in the past few years I have been able to shake off this idea (and honestly I have no idea where it came from as my parents are the most open people I will probably ever meet).  I have felt guilty for wanting to do housework, bake, sew and cook.  Chick lit has given me the permission I needed to find myself. 

Chick lit heroines are almost always really strong women who have reached a cross-roads in their lives.  Before, I used to consider that these women were idiots, I knew they would end up with the man and probably forsake their jobs in the process.  I think this is why chick lit has such a bad rep.  But the point is the women in these novels are strong.  I now don't think I have to follow or rebel against their example.  They have allowed me to find my own way - in love AND in life.

Okay, this post is probably coming across as long-winded and confusing.  But the general point I'm trying to make is: read want YOU want to read and don't judge anyone else.  So, what genre do you read/write? Why? Have you ever felt like it wasn't 'literary' enough?

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