“Chick Lit and the Emergence of Postfeminism.” Gale Literature Criticism. University of Virginia Press. 2022.
Fem icons like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw aren’t just beloved main characters – they’re symbols of a cultural movement.
Originally a euphemism for Princeton University’s Female Literary Tradition course in the 1980s, "chick lit" mutated from a movement in American women’s avant-garde fiction in the 1990s to become, by the turn of the century, a humorous subset of women’s literature, journalism, and advice manuals. Stephanie Harzewski examines such best sellers as Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex and the City as urban appropriations of and departures from the narrative traditions of the novel of manners, the popular romance, and the bildungsroman. Further, Harzewski uses chick lit as a lens through which to view gender relations in U.S. and British society in the 1990s. Chick Lit and Postfeminism is the first sustained historicization of this major pop-cultural phenomenon, and Harzewski successfully demonstrates how chick lit and the critical study of it yield social observations on upheavals in Anglo-American marriage and education patterns, heterosexual rituals, feminism, and postmodern values.