Chick-Lit: Are the feel-good books wrecking havoc on women’s body images?

Chick-lit. Innocent, fun covers. Generally eye-catching, bright colors. Stories about a woman in need of something: a man, a new lease on life, maybe a better job. Stories that most women can relate to becasue they are things we’re looking for. There may be several variations on this “chick-lit” theme (for example: the woman may have a man- but he isn’t the right man and she won’t know till she meets another man or the the main character may be married; but an old boyfriend causes doubts).

Take Sophie Kinsella- her rise to fame in the chick-lit world began with Becky Bloomwood- a likeable, mid-20’s character who has a problem with shopping. Becky makes mistakes; but she’s still a likeable character- so the reader roots for her. Becky is obsessed with clothes- and resentful of another characters long-legs.

Take Emily Giffin- one might argue she is the queen of chick-lit- the 2 characters she’s known best for are Rachel and Darcy. Rachel is the plain, studious, lawerly character; while Darcy is the tall, thin, partying character. While Rachel is not “fat”, she does compare herself to Darcy in ways- and feels she can’t compete with her. In Something Blue– Darcy makes a comment about Dex loving her “long, strong back” and that she does not have any back-fat- while Rachel def has “back fat”.

In Lauren Weiseberger’s Chasing Harry Winston– the reader learns much about Adrianna- she’s fantastic looking, wildly sexy, and adventurous. Her other friends are “cute”; but blessed in other ways- not really their body.

In the Huffington Post article today, the subject is Body Image Affected by Chick Lit, Study Says– but is it? When you read a chick-lit book do you feel good about yourself? Or does the character’s flaws OR strengths make you wish you hadn’t eaten ice-cream while reading the book? Does reading chick-lit make you want to run to the gym and stay there till you look like Darcy?

Personally, I think it’s an interesting article. Maybe not completely a valid point- but interesting. If reading chick-lit is your thing- and you don’t feel bad about yourself after reading about the main characters- then I say go for it. Read till the cows come home. However, if you do feel bad about your body image while reading- I suggest putting the books down for a bit. Take some time to assess things- do you have unrealistic expectations of what your body should look like? Because let’s face it- no matter how many hours spent at the gym; there are just some things that can’t be changed. No matter how badly you wish they could. And remember- take the whole “chick-lit” thing with a large grain of salt. Chick-lit is to be enjoyed, such as romantic-comedies are to also be enjoyed- life is not like either situation so you have to make the most of what you have, and not wish that things would be better if you were in a chick-lit book or rom-com movie.