Chic Lit Conventions

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The literary genre, Chic-lit, originated in the mid-nineties. By the end of the decade the now well established genre followed a clear narrative style that incorporated a vast dynamic of “chic-lit attributes”. These attributes have been accredited to the success of chic-lit, through there said ‘reproduction of a young contemporary women’s life’ in the twentieth century. However, we know that there is a massive dynamic of cultures, races, religions and sexual orientations that fall within the category of ‘the young contemporary women’. Therefor through the analysis of two different chic-lit novels, Bridget Jone’s Diary and The Madams, I will attempt to answer the question of whether or not chic lit is representative of the discourse of feminism.…show more content…
Here one sees the stereotypical, archetype of the female protagonist- found within chic-lit, emerge. Hence it is easy to problematize the chic-lit genre as it follows a very formulaic plotline in which only an extremely small percentage of woman fall under. In Barbra Smith’s writing she discusses the importance of a universal feminist standpoint that does not exclude or naturalize the patriarchy. Feminism is, “The political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of colour, working class women, poor women, disabled women. Jewish women, lesbians, old women- as well as white, economically privileged, heterosexual women, anything less that this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely self-aggrandizement” (Smith 1998). With reference to both Serrano’s definition of the genre, and Smith’s definition of feminism, it can be said that though chic-lit incorporates elements of feminism, it does not fully integrate the progressive characteristics found within its post-modern context. Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jone’s Diary follows majority of the general conventions found within the…show more content…
Bridget is within her own right to choose and determine what she desires out of her life. A previously noted the need for diversity within chic-lit is vital in breaking down societies heteronormative white patriarchy. Hence Wanner’s novel, The Madams is one of the most innovative chic-lit narratives to come out of contemporary South Africa. Wanner incorporates many progressive ideas that range from class mobility, identity, feminism, sisterhood and race. Through Wanner’s use of South African colloquialisms, characters of different races and class and familiar scenes such as the Joburg CBD, she opens up chic-lit to a dynamic range of woman. Traditionally as previously stated, chic-lit follows the formula of a middle-aged, single, white female. Thandi, is neither white nor single, married with a child she struggles with her identity as a woman. Attempting to juggle the vast amount of ‘roles’ she has as a female, wife and mother. She exclaims how she is “..tired of having to be a Super slave at the office, a supermom to my son and a Superslut to my man. I am tired of the fact that if I do so much as indicate that I need ‘Me’ time, I have fallen short of the high standards set for me as

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