Chick Lit and Food Porn


nbruce writes "“Chick-lit and food porn� is what Susan Wise Bauer in Books and Culture calls a type of genre, read generally by women about women who are overweight, conflicted about food, and looking for the man of their dreams.

“Jemima J., a glossy trade paperback with a pair of legs on the cover, is "chick lit," part of a genre spawned by Helen Fielding's megabestseller Bridget Jones's Diary. Chick-lit heroines—urban twenty- and thirtysomethings searching for love—are sharp, independent, frustrated working women. The women who buy chick lit, according to British chick-lit author Jenny Colgan, have grown up "with financial independence; with living on our own and having far too many choices about getting married (while watching our baby boomer parents fall apart) … [with] hauling ourselves up through the glass ceiling." Chick lit readers don't want to entertain themselves with old-fashioned romances starring "women with long blonde hair [who] built up business empires from harsh beginnings using only their extraordinary beauty." They want heroines just like themselves.�

"In chick lit, a startling number of carnal liaisons actually take place in restaurants (lobbies, coatrooms, kitchens, and—in one memorable instance—under the table while the waiter is in the middle of listing the chocolate-and-cream-laden dessert specials). And Bet Me's descriptions of Minerva eating come awfully close to food porn. When Cal takes Minerva to his favorite Italian restaurant and tempts her with carbs, he "broke the bread open and the yeasty warmth rose and filled her senses. … She closed her eyes and her lips tight, which was useless. … Cal watched her tear off a piece of the bread and bite into it. 'Oh,' she breathed, and then she chewed it with her eyes shut and pleasure flooding her face. … Her face flushed." "

What is considered overweight by some of these women is size 10 or 12! Although some do have serious health concerns."


Wow. I've read scathing reviews of chick lit before but this one seemed to have a real agenda. Now that I've read (and loved, and sobbed on) Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, I want to say to Ms. Bauer, the whole point of chick lit is literature for us--not some contrived time travel bosum busting sex escape. What I enjoy about Chick Lit books is their realism. They are real books about real women. I love Sue Miller but I'm too young to be in her "generation." I love teen romances (and children's picture books) but I want some books that are written just for me. Weight is an issue that women our age grapple with. So, big surprise, women our age are writing about it. I for one, am grateful that Chick Lit came along. It reminds me of my twenties, full of mistakes and gone, to be never lived again. It also gives me role models for forging ahead as a thirty year old woman sans husband and other suburban trappings. And yes I will be looking forward to the Christian chick lit that are coming down the tube. I remember Gloria Estefan saying in an interview that she writes the kind of songs she does because they are songs about human emotions, and that includes rejection, desire, and rhythmic dancing. My evil thought for the day (do I dare reveal): When was the last time SWB checked the scale?

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