In much the same way as a book by a male author about relationships or 'the domestic' (whatever that means) would never be given a pink cover, neither would it be described as anything other than 'contemporary fiction'. Why can't the same be true for books by women?
Literary snobs, the types that actually laugh at Shakespeare comedies, moan something chronic about the popularity of chick-lit, the fact that the genre regularly dominates book charts across the world. There's a reason why these people hate chick-lit, and it's nothing to do with declining standards.
Of course, there's a lot of badly written chick lit out there - that's true of any genre. There's also a trend towards violent misogyny in some fiction aimed at women and marketed as romance, which is far more disturbing.
Fast forward twenty years and me and the fictious Bridget Jones once again find ourselves in similar situations. We are both widows with young children. She has two, I have three. I am fascinated that Helen Fielding has followed this storyline as, since I was widowed seven years ago, I have been amazed at how little contemporary literary reference there is to us 'young widows'.
News about the forthcoming Bridget Jones was released recently. It struck me as quite strange that many called Helen Fielding's first diary the original chick-lit novel. I couldn't help think that those who did so had not actually read the book, for if they had they would have realised how much Bridget Jones's Diary owes a debt to Jane Austen.
Fiction is one of the few walks of life where gender doesn't matter. In the real world, we are judged on our looks, our voice, our stance. In board rooms we struggle to make ourselves heard. On construction sites we are ogled. Books are genderless products that can be enjoyed by men and women regardless of what chromosomes the author happens to have.
Confessions of a Fashionista, by Angela Clarke Unlike my infuriating little sister, who has ensured her role as the favourite
Almost a century later, the idea that entertainment specifically marketed at women has less inherent worth than that of men is unfortunately standing strong. It starts with the terminology. The very phrase 'chick-lit' instantly sends our minds to a place of fluffy story-lines devoid of real substance.
Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' has got a new cover for its 50th anniversary edition, which some are calling 'too chick-lit
Now, when it comes to the plot of Fifty Shades Of Grey I'm little confused. When did chick-lit get so hardcore?