Chick Lit

I. Introduction

Statement of the
Problem
• This report seeks to analyze the image of the
Filipino woman through the emerging Chick Lit
genre by comparing Tara FT Sering's two books:
"Almost Married" and "Between Dinner and the
Morning After". This report aims to analyze the
Philippine Chick lit genre as a medium that
represents the modern Filipina. By tracing the
history of Chick Lit through its foreign roots,
analyzing the books' themes, characteristics, and
archetypes, discovering how it is made to cater to
their audience, and determining the ideologies and
conventions present, this report would like to
discover if these books truly represent a progressive
and independent image of a Filipino Woman or do
they merely reinforce traditional and patriarchal
views on what a Filipino woman should be.

Statement of the Problem • B. History and Background • Conceptual Framework • III. Organization of the Study • Issues • Scope and Limitations • Definition of Terms • II. Analysis • V. Introduction • A. Context • A.Organization of Study • I. Conclusion . Comparison of Almost Married and Between Dinner and the Morning After • IV.

Issues • Patriarchal society • Man is seen as superior to woman • Woman as ‘incomplete’ • Marriage (or having a boyfriend) versus singlehood • Woman as objects • Crimes against women. jobs that make them into objects . women as something that completes men.

. urban. lower to upper middle class female readers. who are mostly comprised of young.speaking.  Analysis on the modern Filipino woman is based on the local Chick Lit genre’s target audience.Scope and Limitations This paper aims to analyze the image of the modern Filipino woman as deemed by the emerging Chick Lit genre by comparing Tara FT Sering’s two books: "Almost Married" and "Between Dinner and the Morning After". English.

obedient and submissive. (Opiniano) Modern Filipino woman. (Vitug) • Traditional woman – Often associated with the Maria Clara where the woman is virtuous. family and love. (Tara Sering) Chick literature or “chick lit” – a term commonly used to describe a subgenre of novels about women struggling to balance their careers and their personal relationships.Definition of Terms • Patriarchy – The notion that the woman should be submissive to men. 3.Young professionals in their twenties and thirties who are navigating through urban life while facing issues about relationships. career. (Ferriss and Young. Men should be the breadwinners. The woman’s role is to bear children.) .

CONTEXT .

.History and Background • Three objectives according to the thesis statement   • This report seeks to analyze the emerging Philippine Chick Lit genre as medium that represents the Modern Filipina • This report seeks to analyze the image of the Filipina represented in the emerging Philippine Chick Lit genre by comparing two of Tara FT Sering’s books: Almost Married and Between Dinner and the Morning After • This report would like to discover if these books truly represent a progressive and independent image of a Filipina or do they merely reinforce traditional and patriarchal views on what a Filipina should be.

History and Background 1. This report seeks to analyze the emerging Philippine Chick Lit genre as medium that represents the Modern Filipina .

History and Background • What is Chick Lit? • New Literary Form in Women’s Fiction   • Achieved immense popularity and commercial success .

respect (fiction that represents the modern and contemporary woman) • Anti Chick Lit • Anna Weinberg: “Inside their dust jackets covered with shopping bags. many of these titles really are trash: Trash that imitates other.History and Background • The Debate about Chick Lit • disdain (dismissal as trivial. and antifeminist) vs. shoes. better books that could have ushered a new wave of smart post feminist writing” • . or purses. martini glasses. frothy.

perhaps. if female novelists wrote books about their lives as they really saw them and not these helpless girls. They have not all been bought by lovelorn single women in London” • .History and Background • Beryl Bainbridge on Chick Lit: “Froth sort of thing that just wastes time. and worrying about their weight. drunken.” • Doris Lessing: “It would be better.” • Pro-Chick Lit • Jenny Colgan (On Bridget Jones): “It’s a terrific book and it has sold more than two million copies.

” . “ • Aleisa Holliday: “What frightens me about the slew of articles trashing the new Chick Lit genre is the subtle sexist bias in all of them. But it’s good being able to represent women as they actually are in the age they are living. we haven’t gone very far with our equality.History and Background • Helen Fielding: “Sometimes I have people getting their knickers in twist about Bridget Jones being a disgrace to feminism. If we can’t laugh at ourselves without having a panic attack over what it says about women.

.History and Background Why is this there a debate? (A Short History of Chick Lit) • Chick Lit adapted many literary traditions. Chick Lit’s connection to these traditions will help clarify its place in literary history and the reaction in provokes.

courtly love.History and Background • Prose Romance • Romance: term that has been used at different times to refer to a variety of Fictional works involving some combination of the following: high adventure. and chivalric ideals . thwarted love. mysterious circumstance and improbable triumphs • First exclusively used to refer to medieval romances (or chivalric romances) written in French and composed in verse • These narratives were often concerned with knightly adventure.

History and
Background
• Prose Romance spurned debate among
its contemporaries over the woman
writer’s moral and financial status as
well as the genre’s readers
• Richard Cumberland (1785, Dramatist)
• John Trumbull (1773, The Progress of
Dullness)
• Clara Reeves (1785, Progress of Romance)
refuted Trumbull.

History and
Background
• Novel
• Displacement of the Prose Romance (30, Harzweksi)
• Origins are in anxiety over the nexus of female
sexuality, authorship and audience (30, Harzweksi)
• Gender Stereotypes in novels
• English Novel (Masculine) vs. Prose Romance with
French affiliations (Feminine)
• Realistic/serious (Male craftsmanship ) vs. Amorous
intrigue, sentimental, dreamy, artificial (Female
craftsmanship)

chick lit continues this gendered debate on
the novel’s value. As a result it calls
attention to the tensions between high and
popular culture (33, Harzweksi)

History and
Background
• Popular Romance
• Chick Lit is also linked to the popular romance
because of Chick Lit's roots in commodity
• Paul Grescoe (217, Merchants of Venus)
examined Harlequin publishing and implied
that “does not so much creates novels but to
sell them”
• Popular romance is usually characterized by
• Love story as the central focus
• End= emotionally satisfying climax that
resolves the loves story
• Traditional romance narrative:

Modern or Subversive .History and Background QUESTION OF CHICK LIT Traditional or Ideal vs.

sentimental. it is gendered as well and subjected to traditional views.History and Background • Chick Lit’s value is under debate. • given Chick Lit’s connections with the Prose Romance. frothy. commercial. and the Popular Romance. the Novel (feminine one). • Associated with Women: frivolous.Harzweski) • degree of sexual autonomy and professional choices (brought about by the women liberation movement) . and satire” (37. farce. Traditional Romance: • “responds to the upheavals in dating and mating order through a mix strategy of dramatization. artificial .silly Chick Lit vs.

Right (romance) vs. Now the problem is too many choices (ex. Wrong or Mr. balancing of work and social interaction is given PRIORITY or equal attention with the relationship conflict • Even if usually the books culminate in marriage. Maybe • Priority: self definition. dissolution of romantic ideals . exploring. Carrie Bradshaw’s dilemma in one episode of Sex and the City) • Mr. Mr. Right. dating.History and Background • unlike earlier generations. and self sufficiency) • More realistic portrayal of single life. openness. women protagonists have the right to choose. Mr. Singularity is given a more positive context (before: incompleteness/barrenness  after: readiness.

This report seeks to analyze the image of the Filipina represented in the emerging Philippine Chick Lit genre by comparing two of Tara FT Sering’s books: Almost Married and Between Dinner and the Morning After .History and Background • 2.

she adapted the genre for the Philippine audience • The book supposedly set the tone for the kind of writing that would come to be known as Philippine Chick Lit (Santiago) • .History and Background • Bringing the Chick Lit genre in a local context • Who is Tara Sering? • Using the conventions of Chick Lit.

History and Background •  Different Market/ Audience • Different market from the Philippine popular romance such as Valentine Romance or Precious Petal Romance • Targeted for the middle class Filipina • Sering set the standard for a realist reckoning of how middle class Pinays live and are merry. and how they go through a process of finding themselves given those limitations (Santiago) • . how they struggle with society and learn to deal with it. how they may become miserable and inconsolable.

with her own money. It almost seems as if the man is secondary (Santiago) . for the first time. within her own spaces. is owning the chick label and living it out on her own terms.History and Background • Philippine Chick Lit is characterized as • Pinay who.

.History and Background • 3. This report would like to discover if these books truly represent a progressive and independent image of a Filipina or do they merely reinforce traditional and patriarchal views on what a Filipina should be.

supreme Woman= inessential. complete.Theoretical Framework • Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex • The Woman is always the Other in opposition to Man’s Self. incomplete. subordinate • Myth of the “Eternal Feminine” • Woman’s essence = her ability to give birth • Deny woman’s individuality . • Man = essential.

she is given roles to fulfill. resourceful • Subversive Woman . • Ideal Woman • Sweetheart. obedient.Rebellious. Femme Fatale . Mother.Archetypes of Women • In order to reduce the value of the Woman. Destroyer . excessive. Prostitute. Housewife • Passive.Mistress. Other Woman. Wife.

sexually liberated. the Woman SEEMS to subvert the image of the Ideal Woman • Independent. assertive.Archetypes of Women in Chick Lit • In chick lit. has a successful career • But is this true? • Her success is still judged by what Man dictates • MALE GAZE .

she is still a product of a male dominated society • Woman is still the Other .Archetypes of Women – Chick Lit • Her contentment still lies in the Man • She still ends up married in the end • Even if she is more liberated.

Analysis Why Chick lit appeals to Filipino women .

Karen. Bert Reyno. She felt that it was “too good to be true”. this didn’t do any good.sweet. Their year old relationship was going great until Bert finally proposed to Karen. funny and does everything to please her. has once again found bliss in the arms of her new boyfriend. . which made her decide to go on a soul-searching trip to Boracay. a 28 year old copywriter.Almost Married (Synopsis) • After having experienced a failed engagement. However. she had doubts that this relationship might end up the way it did before with her previous engagement. Many questions came into Karen’s mind: Was Bert really sincere with his proposal? Is Bert really the love of her life? This soulsearching trip is her path into trying to look for answers to her questions. However. • With Bert’s proposal. memories of Karen’s past relationship with Miko (her old boyfriend) all come back to her. He is the perfect guy for her .

she finds herself back in Manila and in the company of Bert. Based on what she has experienced. she then realizes how much love she has for Bert and that he really is the perfect guy for her. Karen and Bert eventually decide to get married. . After the long wait.• Days after Karen’s trip.

and take a chance to meet (and possibly get together) with him in San Francisco. her banker boyfriend of two years whom she no longer feels in love with. One day. • Prior to the aforementioned events. an architect based in San Francisco whom Abi met (and fell in love with) in Dumaguete eight years before. Abi was in a relationship with Cris. she receives an email from Juno.Between Dinner and the Morning After (Synopsis) • Abigail Cortes (Abi) was about to leave for San Francisco when five random strangers convince her to travel with them to the same destination the next day instead of traveling that night. His succeeding e-mails rekindle feelings she once had for him-which lead her to break up with Cris (despite her family's and friends' expectations). She then spends the rest of the night sharing personal stories with each other while gimmicking in Malate. . resign from her job.

” . Juno mentions that a girl he had been seeing casually got pregnant (and that he will be a father. she and Juno catch up on what had happened in the eight years they had not met. Within the conversation.• When Abi arrives in San Francisco. thinking that “All those strangers she met took risks much bigger than abandoning a job..and flying halfway around the world just to know if she was meant to be with someone. Abi and Juno never get together. but Abi takes it with stride.) • In the end..

leaves him for a chance . Abi rejects Cris’ marriage proposal.Themes and Analyses • Love and relationships Almost Married: Between Dinner: no stay and marriage. eventually get independence married Being the other. Karen eventually marries Bert at the end of the novel. a woman completes a man while she herself is incomplete (Simone de Beauvoir).

• Abi. though she later on chooses to leave Cris. . although she is in a monogamous relationship with Bert. still thinks of other men. attempted to save her relationship by going on a vacation with Cris in Dumaguete.Dualities • Love and Relationships • Karen.

chance to be with Juno. .• Career Almost Married: Loss of career as a result of the drowning of selfhood (de Beauvoir) Between Dinner: as assertion of independence Karen and Janice are Abi resigns from “a…job fired from their jobs she hates anyway” for a because of relationships.

Had she attained what she wanted. • Abi passes up the opportunity to pursue her dream in order to pursue someone she wants to be with. she still shows her independence by saying to her boss that she will become an entrepreneur. . though her being fired from her job makes her return to the traditional roles of the woman.• Career • Karen. she would’ve reinforced the ideal role of woman as sweetheart.

monogamy Between Dinner: sex as pastime (or no sex at all) Sex for procreation. Rosa’s ‘friends with benefits’ relationship.• Sex Life: Almost Married: sex with purpose. sex between lovers Abi fails to have sex with Cris (twice) due to his work. .

Back when Abi was with Juno.• Sex Life • Though Karen and Bert practice monogamy when it comes to sex. Bert varying his ‘style’ to match Karen’s mood. there were times wherein sex wasn’t so traditional—’super PDA’. thinking of other men. . they only engages in it with one person. she never had sex with anyone else. she never had sex with him—she made out with him instead. • Although the sex in Rosa’s and Abi’s relationship is casual. When she was with Cris.

• Development as a person Almost Married: other Between Dinner: ideal to ideal to other Karen gets married in the end. Abi has a boyfriend and yet she chooses to break up with him and follow her own path .

It is through them that they would embody one side. .• Development of the person • The protagonists and the process they go through in finding themselves both have ideal and subversive manifestations.

• Friendship • Almost Married: listening to friends Between Dinner: not listening to friends Karen goes on a soulAbi asserts what she searching trip = ends up wants instead of doing with Bert what friends are advising her to do. .

it is the five strangers (four are of a different generation than her) she meets who encourage her to pursue what she wants. • In “Between Dinner”.• Friendship • The protagonists’ friends—presumably of their age range—uphold the views of the patriarchy. .

Archetypes • Almost Married • • • • ‘Other Becoming the Ideal’ (Karen) Wife (Tonette) Mother (Tita Myrna) Femme Fatale (Angelina Jolly) .

• Between Dinner • ‘The Ideal Becoming The Other’ (Abi) • Sweetheart (Tuesday) • Prostitute (Rosa) .

Use of English and Filipino expressions (Santiago) . women carrying shopping bags. cosmetics. Market: middle-class women working women in their 20’s to 30’s (Ferris & Young 25) (Santiago). b.I. Chick lit is presented to women in certain ways a. women shopping (Ferris & Young 152). c. high heels. Cover art: Women in designer fashion.

Formulaic characteristics (Ferris & Young 49) 2. Man in relation to the outside world. ii. Not “complex and heavy handed” (Ferris & Young 145) i. Women in relation to Man.I. Formulaic elements (Ferris & Young 49) 1. (Ferris & Young 145) 3. Perceptions of the genre (Ferris & Young 48) 2. Chick lit is presented to women in certain ways d. Criticisms e. Static & predictable. Features elements from women’s daily lives (Ferris & Young 142) 1. Leisure: Women do not have to think too much while reading Chick lit (Ferris & Young 68 & 142) .

perform sexual intercourse regularly. Chick lit female characters freely talk about sex iv. iii.II. Abi attempted to have sexual intercourse with her steady boyfriend to spice up their relationship. Bert. ii. Sex Scenes v. Sexual fantasies i. Rejection of the Ideal . Karen and her boyfriend. Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal society a.

ii. Attractive enough to be admired but not too beautiful to be resented (Ferris & Young 59).II. Abi and Karen were both described as young and attractive women but not drop-dead gorgeous. Beauty & Flaws i. iii. . Endearing faults (Ferris & Young 52). Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal society b.

The careers of the protagonists are not central to the story. Illustrations ii. “Labor power became entirely male-oriented. Women who are career-oriented are regarded as anomalies (San Juan 160) v. Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal c.” (San Juan 156) .II. Career society i. The protagonists’ relationship problems often interfere with their performances at work. Illustrations iv. 1. (Ferris & Young 55) iii.

Acts of reflection and discernment are usually held in their apartments. ii. Luxury society i.II. Key scenes that change the course of the plot usually take place in bars. Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal d. . hotels. café’s and restaurants usually with their friends.

The protagonists in Almost Married & Between Dinner and the Morning After (Karen and Abi. These peer groups provide independence from their parents (Ferris & Young 151). ii.II. Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal e. Friends society i. . both have an eccentric group of friends whom they draw their strength from. respectively).

II. The security of marriage 1. Women as active characters in love and relationships (Ferris & Young 49). Illustrations iii. Love society i. 1. Woman’s contentment still lies in man . Chick-lit allows Filipino Women to express their hidden needs within a Patriarchal f. Illustrations ii.

b. Illustrations. . The female strives to achieve transcendence. Value & success are still looked at in terms of what man dictates c. that art functions through irony. Are women’s desires subversive or progressive? a. i. and that all the sincerity in the world doesn’t make bad art good” (Ferris & Young 19).III. “They had forgotten that literature is an art.

V. Conclusion Pinoy Chick Lit as a medium of reality represents the idea of a "Modern Filipino Woman". The complexity of women shows a duality and diversity. It reinforces traditional and patriarchal views of women in society and at the same time. shows the progression of an independent image of the Filipino woman. .

Patriarchal Progressive .

Chick Lit is slowly providing spheres of expression for women’s growth and experiences that allow them to step.Chick Lit can be considered as conservative since it still shows images of women having traditional roles in a male. However. .out of conventional expectations and transcend into the contemporary women’s writing.dominated society.