Are you woke? Do you feel the unbearable heaviness of microaggressions weighing upon your chest as you move throughout your day? Do terms such as “girls’ room,” “man up” and “sold down the river” work you up into a froth of anger? Do you know how the phrase “no can do” is actually racist because its origins came from the mockery of Chinese-Americans?
Netflix feels you. Netflix is woke. Netflix gets that we live in a new world where we should call out people who use the phrase “chick flick.”
Shamefully, the company’s own algorithms don’t share the wokeness.
This was what the streaming giant posted earlier this week as the prelude to a tweetstorm:
Quick PSA: Can we stop calling films “chick flicks” unless the films are literally about small baby chickens? Here’s why this phrase should absolutely be retired (thread):
— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) April 15, 2019
According to Netflix’s official account, the term doesn’t just demean women but the work that went into these films.
“For starters, ‘chick flicks’ are traditionally synonymous with romantic comedies. This suggests that women are the only people interested in 1. Romance 2. Comedy. Which I can promise from the men I’ve come across in my life – simply isn’t true,” the tweets read.
“There aren’t sweeping categories specific to men. You don’t hear people asking to watch ‘man movies’ – instead, pretty much every intersection of genre is on the table and seen as for men, except of course, the aforementioned rom-coms.
“The term also cheapens the work that goes into making these types of films. Romantic comedies and/or films centered around female leads go through just as much editing, consideration, and rewriting as any other film,” they continued. “And nicknaming films ‘chick flicks’ drives home that there’s something trivial about watching them. But what’s trivial about watching a film that makes you feel 1,000 emotions in ~90 minutes?
“Overall, there’s nothing inherently gendered about liking a light-hearted film with a strong female lead and emotional arc. So next time you call something a ‘chick flick,’ you better be referring to Chicken Run.”
Yes, “you better,” America. Netflix is watching your language — and if you don’t comply, you don’t get to watch any more of “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.” And, by the way, does anyone actually still use the term “chick flick?” I haven’t actually heard it in years, which was an incongruity commenters noted:
Lol I was just gonna say, does anyone even use the term “chick flick” anymore???
— Lauren Chen (@TheLaurenChen) April 16, 2019
In terms of there being no such thing as “man movies,” meanwhile, I humbly submit “Road House” and ask for summary judgment. And while I grant that “chick flicks” have their audience, I’ve watched several films that fit under that umbrella and felt only two emotions during those 90 minutes: contempt and despair.
However, there are still streaming services so retrograde that they’ve refused to follow Netflix’s diktat and continue to utilize the phrase “chick flick” in their algorithms.
For instance, Netflix:
when your wokeness only extends to your social media division pic.twitter.com/ASqISV6JDz
— friendly neighborhood blupman (@blippoblappo) April 16, 2019
Maybe we will take the rant more seriously when a Netflix search for “chick flick” doesn’t look like this… pic.twitter.com/irK3yaB70G
— Kurt, Esq. (@KBanowsky) April 17, 2019
Yes, if you search Netflix for “chick flick,” you’ll come up with plenty of movies that — quelle surprise! — aren’t “Chicken Run.” (By the way, if it matters: The tagline for “Chicken Run” was “This Ain’t No Chick Flick,” so the creators of the 2000 stop-motion children’s film — or the marketing department behind it, at the very least — might actually beg to differ with Netflix there.)
And, as the U.K. Telegraph noted, some creators embrace terms like “chick flick” or “chick lit.”
Rebecca Reid has authored a novel she describes as “chick lit with murder.” She says embracing the label is actually the feminist way about this.
“Perhaps Netflix think that scrapping the label ‘chick flick’ will change public perception, but honestly there’s a wider problem at play here. Films about the female experience, especially romantic ones, are regarded as less valid or serious than any other, in line with the way that we as a society generally regard anything for or by women,” she wrote.
“Chick flicks are some of the most popular and high grossing films around, and many of them (like [‘Pretty Woman’] or [‘How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days’] are absolute classics. We should be owning the label, not shying away from it.”
Or maybe we can settle for just accepting that it exists.
The genesis of the phrase is hardly derogatory. Yes, one gets that as much celluloid, sweat and tears goes into “chick flicks” as does any other film. However, one can quickly tell from the tenor (and the marketing) of a movie who it’s being pitched at. “Legally Blonde” isn’t aiming for a male audience. Furthermore, the idea that “chick flicks” are the only films being pitched at a certain gender is patently absurd; I wasn’t around the studios when these films came out, but I’m pretty sure Hollywood wasn’t counting on a major first-weekend turnout among women when it came to “Terminator 2,” “Bullitt” or “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.”
If Netflix wants to come up with a more 2019-friendly version of the term “chick flick,” they’re more than welcome to propose it and see whether it catches on. For the moment, the two-word construction seems to work nicely. So nicely, in fact, that Netflix seems perfectly content to use it with their own algorithms.
I guess Netflix isn’t quite as woke as you are. Sorry for the microaggression.
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