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What is a Chick Flick?

A chick flick is a film genre that primarily appeals to women, often focusing on romance, relationships, and emotional journeys. These movies resonate with viewers through heartfelt storytelling and relatable characters. They're a cozy escape into narratives of love and friendship. Ever wondered how these films reflect societal changes? Join us as we explore their impact on modern culture.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

The term chick flick is slang used to describe a movie that primarily appeals to teenage girls and young women. The term was first used in the late 1980s and early 1990s to describe movies such as Ghost , Dirty Dancing , Beaches , and Pretty Woman . While earlier films such as An Affair to Remember , Funny Girl , and Casablanca also have a strong appeal among female audiences, their structure is significantly different from the movies of today.

Chick flicks are typically perky, upbeat, modern, and post-feminist in tone, although some movies do have sad and dramatic elements as well. The setting can vary. Movies such as Never Been Kissed transport viewers back to the torment of high school, while Notting Hill takes place in a book store.

The term "chick flick" describes a movie that appeals mostly to females.
The term "chick flick" describes a movie that appeals mostly to females.

The female characters in a chick flick are usually strong women who overcome adversity to reach their goals. The key to a successful movie is a message of female empowerment, although a snappy soundtrack and closets full of designer clothes will also help boost ratings.

Since many of these movies are also classified as romantic comedies, they often feature a female lead character struggling with a humorous romantic predicament. They may be loosely based upon Cinderella and other similar fairy tales. Recent examples include The Princess Diaries , Ever After , and A Cinderella Story . However, 10 Things I Hate About You and other movies based on modern interpretations of classic Shakespeare plays have also done quite well at the box office.

Another popular theme for the chick flicks is the bonds between friends. Thelma & Louise , Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion , Mona Lisa Smile , and The Sweetest Thing are examples of popular movies that place friendship above romance.

The phrase "chick flick" was first coined in the late 1980s.
The phrase "chick flick" was first coined in the late 1980s.

Many films classified as chick flick movies are based on books from the chick lit genre. The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries are two recent movies based on extremely successful chick lit novels. Movie executives love this approach since it virtually guarantees a sizable audience for the movie version.

Frequently Asked Questions

What defines a movie as a "chick flick"?

Romantic relationships are often at the center of a chick flick.
Romantic relationships are often at the center of a chick flick.

A "chick flick" is typically characterized by its focus on romance, relationships, and emotional journeys, often from a female perspective. These films usually target a female audience and often feature a woman's personal growth, romantic endeavors, or familial bonds. They can range from light-hearted romantic comedies to more dramatic tales of love and life. The term itself can be seen as pejorative, but many embrace it for celebrating genres that resonate with women.

Why are chick flicks so popular among audiences?

Chick flicks are popular because they tap into universal emotions and experiences, such as love, friendship, and personal growth. They often provide an emotional catharsis, a sense of escapism, and the pleasure of a predictable happy ending. According to a study by the University of Michigan, watching romantic movies can boost pro-social behavior and make people more caring, which might explain their appeal (University of Michigan, 2012).

Can men enjoy chick flicks as well?

Absolutely, men can and do enjoy chick flicks. While these films are marketed primarily towards women, the themes of love, relationships, and personal challenges are not exclusive to any gender. Men may find these stories just as engaging and emotionally resonant. The enjoyment of a film is subjective and transcends gender stereotypes, allowing anyone to appreciate a well-told story regardless of its genre classification.

How have chick flicks evolved over the years?

Chick flicks have evolved significantly over the years, reflecting changes in society's attitudes towards gender roles and relationships. Earlier chick flicks often focused on the pursuit of romance as a woman's ultimate goal. However, contemporary chick flicks are more likely to feature independent heroines who balance romance with personal ambitions and complex life choices. They also increasingly explore diverse narratives and characters, challenging traditional norms and broadening representation.

What impact do chick flicks have on culture and society?

Chick flicks have a notable impact on culture and society by shaping perceptions of romance, femininity, and relationships. They can reinforce or challenge societal norms, offering commentary on the roles and expectations of women. These films also contribute to the dialogue on important issues such as gender equality and empowerment. By presenting stories that resonate with many viewers, chick flicks can influence attitudes, inspire conversations, and even promote social change.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the WiseTour team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the WiseTour team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

animegal

Would anyone like to share his or her top ten list of best chick flicks?

I would have to say for myself that my favorite chick flick of all time is Ever After. I love its unique twist on Cinderella, the humor, and of course, Drew Barrymore.

My other top favorites include Stardust, The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Enchanted, Ella Enchanted, Maid in Manhattan, The Prince & Me, The Princess Diaries, Sydney White, and Enchanted.

As you can probably see, my chick flicks run on a lot of fairytale and fantasy themes. I love stories where the leading lady overcomes obstacles to get her prince. They are all sappy and cheesy, but they are so much fun to watch.

Sara007

If you love chick flicks I would recommend having a movie night with your friends and going with a general theme.

For example, if you wanted to have a fun night you could do a New York theme and watch chick flicks set in the big apple. It would give you a great base for what snacks to provide, as well as what drinks would fit in.

Newer movies like 27 Dresses, The Devil Wears Prada were both set in New York, as well as the classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. There are numerous other titles to choose from as well.

miriam98

Theme music from chick flicks stay with you forever. I have a CD in my personal music collection of chick flick songs, love music sung by everyone from from Elton John to Bette Midler to Michael Buble and many other artists.

I don’t know if all of these chick flick songs are from movies, but some of them are and I love playing the music from time to time when I’m in a romantic mood.

NathanG

@cafe41 - Speaking as a guy, the only times I will watch a chick-flick is if there is some deeper plot element besides just the romance. For example, some of the best chick flicks of 2010 included the Twilight Saga and Eat, Pray, Love. I liked both of these films.

The Twilight Saga played to the whole Dracula theme, and of course that has cross-generational and cross-gender appeal, as it is an ageless tale. The movie Eat, Pray, Love tells of one woman’s desire to use her misfortune to travel the world in search of deeper meaning to her life; this transcends romance, although romance is certainly in the film.

Going further back, to 2001, I really liked the film Kate and Leopold. I liked it for one reason alone-it involved time travel. I usually like movies with a science fiction twist, even if they are chick flicks.

cafe41

@Latte31 - I could watch those movies a million times and never get sick of them. They are timeless movies because their themes are so universal. That is what top chick flicks offer the audience. Real characters with a romantic story woven into it are all elements of a great chick flick.

I think that that is the marker of a chick flick. There has to be a love story in the movie for it to be considered an official chick flick.

I personally love, “You Got Mail.” I can totally relate to looking for love and finding it in someone you never thought would be for you. I think you tend to find the love of your life when you least expect it. That is what happened to me so I could totally relate to this movie.

latte31

@Mutsy - I saw that movie a few times and you are right it is so sad at the end. I wanted to say that for me some of the top ten chick flicks of all time are “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Grease”. I love both movies because they remind me of friendships that I have had and I can relate to a lot of the characters.

For “My Best Friend’s Wedding” we understand the envy that Julia Robert’s feels when Cameron Diaz is getting married to someone that she would have wanted to marry. Everyone can relate to this scenario because we all have someone in our past that just sort of got away and was not meant to be with us.

I also love “Grease” because not only does it bring me back to my high school days, but the struggles that the characters were going through were so spot on that I actually felt that I knew the characters personally. I also love the love story between Sandy and Danny because I think that everyone could relate to difficulties in courting someone and all of the insecurities that develop as a result.

mutsy

@Sunshine31 -I agree that movie was great. I have to say that in my opinion one of the top ten chick flicks of all time has to be, ” Titanic.” This story although extremely tragic, has the classic love story elements of loving someone so much that you risk your life for them.

My daughter loves this movie, but it is so heart wrenching and intense that I have to limit the amount of times that I watch it because can’t stop crying when I do.

I know it is a movie but I start to think about the people that really perished in this event and I feel bad for them.

sunshine31

I think that the best chick flicks offer a romantic element to them. I love when there is a romantic interest in the film because it makes me want the characters in the film to develop a romantic relationship.

I think that this is what makes good chick flicks memorable. For example, in the movie, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” the main character was a compulsive shopper that developed financial problems, but ironically ended up getting a job as a financial writer offering money saving advice to those that read her column.

This was really funny, but I think what really hooked me about this movie was the underline romantic storyline that was developing between the main character and her boss. It was such a great movie and I would consider it a top ten chick flick.

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    • The term "chick flick" describes a movie that appeals mostly to females.
      By: Innovated Captures
      The term "chick flick" describes a movie that appeals mostly to females.
    • The phrase "chick flick" was first coined in the late 1980s.
      By: Ljupco Smokovski
      The phrase "chick flick" was first coined in the late 1980s.
    • Romantic relationships are often at the center of a chick flick.
      By: Hunor Kristo
      Romantic relationships are often at the center of a chick flick.