I rarely write about books and movies. I do that only if they raise issues in my sphere – diversity, inclusion and bias. I recently wrote about both a book and four movies. Each raised provocative issues about racial bias and privilege.
Gloria Steinem authored a piece in the New York Times (an update of an earlier article) about gender and film. She riffs on the meaning of “chick flick,” a film that has “more dialogue than car races” or is more about “relationships than chases.” She notes that three 2017 Academy Award nominees (“Hidden Figures,” “Lion,” and “Moonlight”) meet this definition.
She notes that we have a name for “chick flicks” but not one for the type of film preferred by the stereotypical guy. (She suggests a label that starts with a “p” and rhymes with “chick.”) The term “chick flick” fits the phenomenon of saying “female doctors,” “African American authors” and “gay soldiers” — but not “male,” “white” or “straight” as descriptors. Adjectives are required only for the less powerful groups. As she says, “[T]he person with the power takes the noun.”
Ms. Steinem sees the term “chick flick” as warning certain people away from a film (and, as a result, often missing powerful works). What a loss if the term is taken as a put down. Many “chick flicks”, for example the three 2017 nominees, have much to teach us all!