Film History and Meaning : "Chick flicks"

"Chick flicks"

What are these and when did some films start to be labelled as "chick flicks"? What is their polarity? Before this phrase became common parlance, what older films would now be labelled as "chick flicks"?

I'm interested in others' view of this phrase and how it applies to films. I might add that I consider it a derogatory description and that's partly because I have never seen a phrase for what is opposite to a "chick flick".

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Re: 'Chick flicks'

I think it means the movie will mostly appeal to women's sensibilities more than men's . As for classic examples I'd say any of Kate Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn movies would qualify .

Re: "Chick flicks"


when did some films start to be labelled as "chick flicks"? What is their polarity?

The term is really fairly new. I began hearing it in the late 90s or early 00s. I don't think there is an actual term that describes a man's film in the same fashion, but they're out there. We'll circle back to this.


I might add that I consider it a derogatory

I wouldn't call it derogatory at all. There are plenty of men's films that are made strictly for men. 300 (2006) comes immediately to mind. That's the last thing most (no, not all, but most) women ever want to see.

To be honest, older films didn't really make chick-flicks like they do today. It was always about men. Think about that for a second. How many female leads were in classic films? I don't mean there weren't any, because there were but she was always foreshadowed by the man. Few films were only about women. There are a small handful but the point is most mainstream films weren't.

Also back then, most films were interested in not targeting a particular set of viewers. They wanted to draw in all audiences. Romantic comedies could possibly be called chick-flicks but think of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Men liked the dancing and beautiful Ginger while women appreciated both.

Feminism has laid the foundation for chick flicks, which is why I do not call this derogatory. It's of their own making so it couldn't possibly be derogatory. In fact, if I had to name the most influential woman, I'd say it was Sally Field (such as [title=tt0079638]), or maybe Meryl Streep (in [title=tt0079417]). Their early films made the leap toward films focused on women, hence, chick flicks.

Does this help?

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Re: "Chick flicks"

I agree it's a fairly recent term. There have always been Hollywood films aimed at women; in the studio era they were simply called "women's films" (or "pictures"). I've heard that in that era, it was thought that women tended to choose what movie the couple (or family) would see, so the studios very much wanted to please female viewers. Of course, that's not to say the female characters were strong, independent people, although sometimes they were.

As to whether the term is offensive, opinions will differ. Movie/TV produces a lot of vaguely silly nicknames, such as sci-fi, whodunit, etc. There is certainly an opposite to the "chick flick," however not one nickname that has caught on to the same degree. Movies that appeal more to men have been called guy movies, buddy movies (usually used for movies about two men), testosterone pics, etc. It's hard to beat "chick flick" for catchiness, although it does have a dismissive sound to it.

Re: "Chick flicks"


it does have a dismissive sound to it
Quite.

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Re: "Chick flicks"


I don't think there is an actual term that describes a man's film in the same fashion, but they're out there.
This goes to the heart of the feeling it is derogatory. In language there are lots of terms for women and their genitalia where there are not corresponding terms for men and theirs. I don't mean literally no words to describe either; I mean terms that are slang, which is what 'chick click is, it's not a term for a genre. Whenever that imbalance occurs in language it is usually to do with prejudice and power.

I suspect 'chick flick' was coined by men. What's worse is that many film that would be labelled 'chick flicks', rom coms mostly, I loathe. As to your example of a man's film, as a female I liked 300 ... a lot.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer
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