By Kathryn Shaw, Manager of Collection Development Programs
I can admit that I don’t always like “chick flicks.” I’ve talked about this with female friends, family, and coworkers, most of whom share my sentiments.
By using the term “chick flicks,” I’m referring to movies that most people, regardless of gender, would (if asked) consider a little two-dimensional. But my distaste for movies fitting that description applies equally to those accepted as mainstream. In short, I’m as unlikely to watch The Fast and the Furious as I am The Runaway Bride.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good action movie, because I certainly do. Just last weekend, I watched Master and Commander. The film is well done, and I can certainly understand why a male friend of mine raves about it. Because, based on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of novels set in 19th century naval warfare, it’s an adventure story written about men, for men.
The 1950 film, All About Eve is a brilliant representation of its environment, as well. Based on a short story written by Mary Orr and published in a 1946 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, it depicts female central characters, a distinctly female sensibility, snappy wit, AND, yes, a love story. But, though it often appears on Best Movies of All Time lists, it seems that lots of people haven’t seen or even heard of it.
Likewise, Pride and Prejudice. I’ll happily watch almost any adaptation of my favorite novel, but I’ve come across people who scoff at its movie and TV versions, as well as the novel. The reason that this might have as much to do the story being, ultimately, a romance, as it does it being a 19th century novel. For some reason, love stories (which often appeal to women), have traditionally been overlooked.
That might be changing, though, because, as a book genre, romance is now one of the most popular. It’s also a $1.8 billion industry. Readers and publishers have realized that love stories can involve as much adventure, intrigue, and tension, and portray equally exciting heroes and heroines, as can more established genres. With a variety of sub-categories, including, but not limited to, contemporary romance, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, and erotic romance, there are many options for book lovers. Romance is hot, and it’s becoming mainstream!