The Cultural Politics of Chick Lit

Popular Fiction, Postfeminism and Representation
Author: Heike Missler
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317235312
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 232
View: 7202

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Chick lit is the marketing label attributed to a surge of books published in the wake of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) and Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City (1997). Branded by their pink or pastel-coloured book covers, chick-lit novels have been a highly successful and ubiquitous product of women's popular culture since the late 1990s. This study traces the evolution of chick lit not only as a genre of popular fiction, but as a cultural phenomenon. It complicates the genealogy of the texts by situating them firmly in the context of age-old debates about female literary creation, and by highlighting the dynamics of the popular-fiction market. Offering a convincing dissection of the formula which lies at the heart of chick lit, as well as in-depth analyses of a number of chick-lit titles ranging from classic to more recent and edgier texts, this book yields new insights into a relatively young field of academic study. Its close readings provide astute assessments of chick lit's notoriously skewed representational politics, especially with regard to sexuality and ethnicity, which feed into current discussions about postfeminism. Moreover, the study makes a unique contribution to the scholarly debate of chick lit by including an analysis of the (online) fan communities the genre has fostered. The Cultural Politics of Chick Lit weaves a sound methodological network, drawing on reader-response criticism; feminist, gender, and queer theory; affect studies; and whiteness studies. This book is an accessible and engaging study for anyone interested in postfeminism and popular culture.

Chick Lit and Postfeminism


Author: Stephanie Harzewski
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 0813930715
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 247
View: 9976

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Originally a euphemism for Princeton University’s Female Literary Tradition course in the 1980s, "chick lit" mutated from a movement in American women’s avant-garde fiction in the 1990s to become, by the turn of the century, a humorous subset of women’s literature, journalism, and advice manuals. Stephanie Harzewski examines such best sellers as Bridget Jones’s Diary The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex and the City as urban appropriations of and departures from the narrative traditions of the novel of manners, the popular romance, and the bildungsroman. Further, Harzewski uses chick lit as a lens through which to view gender relations in U.S. and British society in the 1990s. Chick Lit and Postfeminism is the first sustained historicization of this major pop-cultural phenomenon, and Harzewski successfully demonstrates how chick lit and the critical study of it yield social observations on upheavals in Anglo-American marriage and education patterns, heterosexual rituals, feminism, and postmodern values.

Yearning

Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics
Author: bell hooks
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317588150
Category: Social Science
Page: 250
View: 4482

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For bell hooks, the best cultural criticism sees no need to separate politics from the pleasure of reading. Yearning collects together some of hooks's classic and early pieces of cultural criticism from the '80s. Addressing topics like pedagogy, postmodernism, and politics, hooks examines a variety of cultural artifacts, from Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing and Wim Wenders's film Wings of Desire to the writings of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. The result is a poignant collection of essays which, like all of hooks's work, is above all else concerned with transforming oppressive structures of domination.

Cosmopolitan Culture and Consumerism in Chick Lit


Author: Caroline J. Smith
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113591057X
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 192
View: 9601

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Cosmopolitan Culture and Consumerism in Chick Lit focuses on the literary phenomenon popularly known as chick lit, and the way in which this genre interfaces with magazines, self-help books, romantic comedies, and domestic-advice publications. This recent trend in women’s popular fiction, which began in 1996 with the publication of British author Helen Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary, uses first person narration to chronicle the romantic tribulations of its young, single, white, heterosexual, urban heroines. Critics of the genre have failed to fully appreciate chick lit’s complicated representations of women as both readers and consumers. In this study, Smith argues that chick lit questions the "consume and achieve promise" offered by advice manuals marketed toward women, subverting the consumer industry to which it is so closely linked and challenging cultural expectations of women as consumers, readers, and writers, and of popular fiction itself.

Chick Lit

The Stylistics of Cappuccino Fiction
Author: Rocío Montoro
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1441187278
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 264
View: 8756

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In recent times, Chick Lit has risen to a certain level of prominence. This is the first book length study that looks into the distinctive features of this much-discussed genre. Chick Lit is examined in relation to its linguistic peculiarities and their role as far as narrative, sociological and feminist issues are concerned, amongst others. Montoro's stylistics includes a cognitive slant that highlights futher readerly aspects of the texts. The approach illuminates how the genre works, and how it is set apart from others. In this respect, the stylistics of chick lit is understood in its contect of production and reception. Montoro evaluates reading processes and investigates readers' responsive attitude to the genre. This interdisciplinary work explores the boundaries of the stylistics of chick lit and works reflectively, looking at how exploring this genre can help the twofold aim of testing existing models of linguistic and cognitive analysis. It will be essential reading for those interested in cutting-edge stylistics.

Rethinking Gender in Popular Culture in the 21st Century

Marlboro Men and California Gurls
Author: Astrid M. Fellner,Marta Fernández-Morales,Martina Martausová
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN: 1527505286
Category:
Page: 255
View: 6275

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This book explores popular culture representations of gender, offering a rich and accessible discussion of masculinities and femininities in 21st-century popular media. It brings together contributors from various European countries to investigate the workings of gender in contemporary pop culture products in a brave, original, and rigorous way. This volume is both an academic proposal and an exercise of commitment to a serious analysis of some of the media that influence us most in our everyday lives. Representation matters, and the position we take as viewers or consumers during reception matters even more.

Gender and the Media


Author: Rosalind Gill
Publisher: Polity
ISBN: 0745612733
Category: Philosophy
Page: 296
View: 5956

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Written in a clear and accessible style, with lots of examples from Anglo-American media, Gender and the Media offers a critical introduction to the study of gender in the media, and an up-to-date assessment of the key issues and debates. Eschewing a straightforwardly positive or negative assessment the book explores the contradictory character of contemporary gender representations, where confident expressions of girl power sit alongside reports of epidemic levels of anorexia among young women, moral panics about the impact on men of idealized representations of the 'six-pack', but near silence about the pervasive re-sexualization of women's bodies, along with a growing use of irony and playfulness that render critique extremely difficult. The book looks in depth at five areas of media - talk shows, magazines, news, advertising, and contemporary screen and paperback romances - to examine how representations of women and men are changing in the twenty-first century, partly in response to feminist, queer and anti-racist critique. Gender and the Media is also concerned with the theoretical tools available for analysing representations. A range of approaches from semiotics to postcolonial theory are discussed, and Gill asks how useful notions such as objectification, backlash, and positive images are for making sense of gender in today's Western media. Finally, Gender and the Media also raises questions about cultural politics - namely, what forms of critique and intervention are effective at a moment when ironic quotation marks seem to protect much media content from criticism and when much media content - from Sex and the City to revenge adverts - can be labelled postfeminist. This is a book that will be of particular interest to students and scholars in gender and media studies, as well as those in sociology and cultural studies more generally.

Pop-Feminist Narratives

The Female Subject Under Neoliberalism in North America, Britain, and Germany
Author: Emily Spiers
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198820879
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 272
View: 9201

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In Pop-Feminist Narratives, Emily Spiers explores the recent phenomenon of 'pop-feminism' and pop-feminist writing across North America, Britain, and Germany. Pop-feminism is characterised by its engagement with popular culture and consumerism; its preoccupation with sexuality and transgression in relation to female agency; and its thematisation of intergenerational feminist discord, portrayed either as a damaging discursive construct or as a verifiable phenomenon requiring remediation. Central to this volume is the question of theorising the female subject in a postfeminist neoliberal climate and the role played by genre and narrative in the articulation of contemporary pop-feminist politics. The heightened visibility of mainstream feminist discourse and feminist activism in recent yearsespecially in North America, Britain, and Germanymeans that the time is ripe for a coherent comparative scholarly study of pop-feminism as a transnational phenomenon. This volume provides such an account of pop-feminism in a manner which takes into account the varied and complex narrative strategies employed in the telling of pop-feminist stories across multiple genres and platforms, including pop-literary fiction, the popular 'guide' to feminism, film, music, and the digital.

Chick Lit

The New Woman's Fiction
Author: Suzanne Ferriss,Mallory Young
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136092501
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 288
View: 3756

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From the bestselling Bridget Jones's Diary that started the trend to the television sensation Sex and the City that captured it on screen, "chick lit" has become a major pop culture phenomenon. Banking on female audiences' identification with single, urban characters who struggle with the same life challenges, publishers have earned millions and even created separate imprints dedicated to the genre. Not surprisingly, some highbrow critics have dismissed chick lit as trashy fiction, but fans have argued that it is as empowering as it is entertaining. This is the first volume of its kind to examine the chick lit phenomenon from a variety of angles, accounting for both its popularity and the intense reactions-positive and negative-it has provoked. The contributors explore the characteristics that cause readers to attach the moniker "chick" to a particular book and what, if anything, distinguishes the category of chick lit from the works of Jane Austen on one end and Harlequin romance novels on the other. They critique the genre from a range of critical perspectives, considering its conflicted relationship with feminism and postfeminism, heterosexual romance, body image, and consumerism. The fourteen original essays gathered here also explore such trends and subgenres as "Sistah Lit," "Mommy Lit," and "Chick Lit Jr.," as well as regional variations. As the first book to consider the genre seriously, Chick Lit offers real insight into a new generation of women's fiction.

Popular Postcolonialisms

Discourses of Empire and Popular Culture
Author: Nadia Atia,Kate Houlden
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1317299019
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 276
View: 2706

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Drawing together the insights of postcolonial scholarship and cultural studies, Popular Postcolonialisms questions the place of ‘the popular’ in the postcolonial paradigm. Multidisciplinary in focus, this collection explores the extent to which popular forms are infused with colonial logics, and whether they can be employed by those advocating for change. It considers a range of fiction, film, and non-hegemonic cultural forms, engaging with topics such as environmental change, language activism, and cultural imperialism alongside analysis of figures like Tarzan and Frankenstein. Building on the work of cultural theorists, it asks whether the popular is actually where elite conceptions of the world may best be challenged. It also addresses middlebrow cultural production, which has tended to be seen as antithetical to radical traditions, asking whether this might, in fact, form an unlikely realm from which to question, critique, or challenge colonial tropes. Examining the ways in which the imprint of colonial history is in evidence (interrogated, mythologized or sublimated) within popular cultural production, this book raises a series of speculative questions exploring the interrelation of the popular and the postcolonial.

Painted Hands

A Novel
Author: Jennifer Zobair
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1250027012
Category: Fiction
Page: 336
View: 1164

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Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they've thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn't count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms. When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband. Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab's job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they're willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love. Jennifer Zobair's Painted Hands is The Namesake meets Sex and the City, an engaging and provocative debut novel about friendship and the love lives of American Muslim women.

Bring on the Books for Everybody

How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture
Author: Jim Collins
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 082239197X
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 287
View: 4519

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Bring on the Books for Everybody is an engaging assessment of the robust popular literary culture that has developed in the United States during the past two decades. Jim Collins describes how a once solitary and print-based experience has become an exuberantly social activity, enjoyed as much on the screen as on the page. Fueled by Oprah’s Book Club, Miramax film adaptations, superstore bookshops, and new technologies such as the Kindle digital reader, literary fiction has been transformed into best-selling, high-concept entertainment. Collins highlights the infrastructural and cultural changes that have given rise to a flourishing reading public at a time when the future of the book has been called into question. Book reading, he claims, has not become obsolete; it has become integrated into popular visual media. Collins explores how digital technologies and the convergence of literary, visual, and consumer cultures have changed what counts as a “literary experience” in phenomena ranging from lush film adaptations such as The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love to the customer communities at Amazon. Central to Collins’s analysis and, he argues, to contemporary literary culture, is the notion that refined taste is now easily acquired; it is just a matter of knowing where to access it and whose advice to trust. Using recent novels, he shows that the redefined literary landscape has affected not just how books are being read, but also what sort of novels are being written for these passionate readers. Collins connects literary bestsellers from The Jane Austen Book Club and Literacy and Longing in L.A. to Saturday and The Line of Beauty, highlighting their depictions of fictional worlds filled with avid readers and their equations of reading with cultivated consumer taste.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat


Author: Emily Jenkins
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
ISBN: 0375987711
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Page: 40
View: 8212

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A New York Times Best Illustrated Book From highly acclaimed author Jenkins and Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator Blackall comes a fascinating picture book in which four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history. In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by an enslaved girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego. Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries. Includes a recipe for blackberry fool and notes from the author and illustrator about their research. From the Hardcover edition.

Citizen Girl


Author: Emma McLaughlin,Nicola Kraus
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781416511991
Category: Fiction
Page: 320
View: 9863

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Another biting satire from Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Nanny Diaries. Working in a world where a college degree qualifies her to make photocopies and color-coordinate file folders, twenty-four-year-old Girl is struggling to keep up with the essential trinity of food, shelter, and student loans. So when she finally lands the job of her dreams she ignores her misgivings and concentrates on getting the job done...whatever that may be. Sharply observed and devastatingly funny, Citizen Girl captures with biting accuracy what it means to be young and female in the new economy. A personal glimpse into an impersonal world, Citizen Girl is edgy and heartfelt, an entertaining read that is startlingly relevant.

The Dirty Girls Social Club

A Novel
Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781429909754
Category: Fiction
Page: 304
View: 8191

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Alisa Valdés-Rodríguez's vibrant, can't-put-it-down novel of six friends--each one an unforgettable Latina woman in her late '20s--and the complications and triumphs in their lives Inseparable since their days at Boston University almost ten years before, six friends form the Dirty Girls Social Club, a mutual support and (mostly) admiration society that no matter what happens to each of them (and a lot does), meets regularly to dish, dine and compare notes on the bumpy course of life and love. Las sucias are: --Lauren, the resident "caliente" columnist for the local paper, which advertises her work with the line "her casa is su casa, Boston," but whose own home life has recently involved hiding in her boyfriend's closet to catch him in the act --Sara, the perfect wife and mother who always knew exactly the life she wanted and got it, right down to the McMansion in the suburbs and two boisterious boys, but who is paying a hefty price --Amber, the most idealistic and artistic member of the club, who was raised a valley girl without a word of Spanish and whose increasing attachment to her Mexica roots coincides with a major record label's interest in her rock 'n' roll --Elizabeth, the stunning black Latina whose high profile job as a morning television anchor conflicts with her intensely private personal life, which would explain why the dates the other dirty girls set her up on never work out --Rebecca, intense and highly controlled, who flawlessly runs Ella, the magazine she created for Latinas, but who can't explain why she didn't understand the man she married and now doesn't even share a room with; and --Usnavys, irrepressible and larger than life, whose agenda to land the kind of man who can keep her in Manolo Blahniks and platanos almost prevents her seeing true love when it lands in her lap. There's a lot of catching up to do.

Britain since the Seventies

Politics and Society in the Consumer Age
Author: Jeremy Black
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861894457
Category: History
Page: 232
View: 4160

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In Britain since the Seventies, well-known historian Jeremy Black examines the most recent developments in British political, social, cultural and economic history. Taking the triumph of consumerism as an organizing theme, he charts the rise and fall of the Conservative Party, developments in British society, culture and politics, environmental issues, questions of identity, and changes in economic circumstance and direction. Iconic issues such as BSE, transport, asylum seekers and the NHS are viewed from both national and international perspectives. Black’s account of contemporary Britain challenges as well as entertains, seeking to engage the reader in the process of interpretation. Through the lens of the last three decades, the author unveils his image of a country in which uncertainty, contingency and change are the defining features. In charting the impact of increasing individualism, longevity and secularization, Black is drawn repeatedly to examine a fundamental paradox of modern Britain: "At the start of both century and millennium, the British were more prosperous than ever before, but . . . happiness has not risen with prosperity." Britain since the Seventies is a wide-ranging and cogent evaluation of recent British history, and as such will appeal to all those interested in the condition of modern Britain, and how it came to be so, as well as being an ideal introduction for students of the subject.

Queer Pulp

Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback
Author: Susan Stryker
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9780811830201
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 128
View: 5681

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Homosexuality attained a new level of visibility shortly after the Second World War. The rise of the queer-oriented paperback within American pop culture soon followed. Historian Susan Stryker tells the fascinating, often hidden and visually lurid, history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-themed paperbacks. Filled with campy cover art from such titles as Lesbo Lodge and Mr. Ballerina, Queer Pulp provides a glimpse into a lost chapter of publishing history. Well-known names like W. Somerset Maugham and Truman Capote are found alongside unknown and alias-laden hacks in this thrillingly diverse body of work.

The Hopefuls

A novel
Author: Jennifer Close
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 1101875623
Category: Fiction
Page: 320
View: 4899

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A brilliantly funny novel about ambition and marriage from the best-selling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Hopefuls tells the story of a young wife who follows her husband and his political dreams to Washington, D.C., a city of idealism, gossip, and complicated friendships among the young aspiring elite. When Beth arrives in D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn't work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy, and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunches, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy’s star rises higher and higher, the couples’ friendship—and Beth’s relationship with Matt—is threatened by jealousy, competition, and rumors. A glorious send-up of young D.C. and a blazingly honest portrait of a marriage, this is the finest work yet by one of our most beloved writers. From the Hardcover edition.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

A Novel
Author: Helen Fielding
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101221815
Category: Fiction
Page: 352
View: 465

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With another devastatingly hilarious, ridiculous, unnervingly accurate take on modern womanhood, Bridget Jones is back. (v.g.) Monday 27 January "7:15 a.m. Hurrah! The wilderness years are over. For four weeks and five days now have been in functional relationship with adult male, thereby proving am not love pariah as recently feared." Wednesday 5 March "7:08 p.m. Am assured, receptive, responsive woman of substance. My sense of self comes not from other people but . . .from . . .myself? That can't be right." Lurching from the cappuccino bars of Notting Hill to the blissed-out shores of Thailand, everyone's favorite Singleton Bridget Jones begins her search for The Truth in spite of pathetically unevolved men, insane dating theories, and Smug Married advice. She experiences a zeitgeist-esque Spiritual Epiphany somewhere between the pages of How to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It (can self-help books really help self?), protective custody, and a lightly chilled Chardonnay.

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination


Author: Helen Fielding
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101200919
Category: Fiction
Page: 320
View: 2126

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At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era...Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s "J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy") and she's ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination. How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination? Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.