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The meaning and origin of the expression: Chick flick

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Chick flick

Meaning

A film with characterization and storylines that appeal especially to women.

Origin

The use of 'chick flick' to describe the films with appeal to women began in the early 1990s. For a few years prior to that 'chick flicks' were the sexually exploitative films, like those made by directors like Russ Meyers, which were designed to appeal to male sexual fantasy.

The Bergen County Record, October 1988 included this comment:

"Films like Russ Meyers' 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' (1970) and 'Twilight People' (1972) ... Corman's 'Black Mama, White Mama' (1972), another chick-flick set in a slammer in the Phillipines. [sic]"

chick flickThe transition in the commonly understood meaning of the term came with a spate of films that had particular appeal to women. Foremost amongst these was the 1991 film 'Thelma & Louise', starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. This had the promotional tagline 'Somebody said get a life... so they did'. The film, which had a women writer, was extremely successful and led to film studios becoming aware of a potential new audience.

Prior to settling on 'chick flick' as the standard term for this genre of film, several alternatives were used. Firstly, 'chick film':

'Sassy', August 1991 "Now even the most unlikely movies go to the violent place, like the chick film Thelma and Louise."

Then 'chick's flick':

Washington Times, December 1993 "What with 'Sleepless in Seattle' updating the concept of the chick's flick in the national consciousness..."

By 1995, 'chick flick' was well established. In December that year The Syracuse Herald Journal ran a review piece in which they invited a group of young women to review two recent films by Demi Moore. That included comments on the film Now and Then, starring Demi Moore and Melanie Griffith, reviewed by Katie Racculia:

"For guys, it's just another mind numbing 'chick flick.' But for us, the members of the fine female sex, 'Now and Then' is a funny, touching story where we can see a bit of ourselves and our friends in the characters."

See other reduplicated phrases.

See other phrases that were coined in the USA.