On HuffPo today (where I'll soon be posting, too), Erica Jong calls for younger women writers to protest their ghettoization on the chick lit shelves:
Feminism didn't change deep-seated priorities about what -- or who -- matters. I see deeply diminished expectations in young women writers. They may grumble about the chick lit ghetto, but they dare not make a fuss for fear they won't be published at all. Their brashness is real enough, but they accept their packaging as the price of being published. My generation expected more. We did not always get it, but at least categorization outraged us. Where is the outrage now?
Feminists used to say the personal is political. I think we need to consider that message again now. We will never give peace a chance until we start paying as much attention to women as to war. Unless we value the bonds of love as much as male territoriality, we are goners.
I would like to see the talented new breed of American women writers -- my daughter's generation -- protest their ghettoization. We need a new wave of feminism to set things right. But we'd better find a new name for it because like all words evoking women, the term feminism has been debased and discarded. Let's celebrate our femaleness rather than fear it. And let's mock the old-fashioned critics who dismiss us for thinking love matters. It does.
But younger women ARE protesting, and publishing outside of chick lit too. A notable example of course is Elizabeth Merrick's anthology, This Is Not Chick Lit. And there are more like these in the works. They're coming, Erica! Keep faith.
(And check out Elizabeth's post on HuffPo back in April 2006, on her title.)