The Battle for ‘Chick Lit’: Jennifer Weiner and Exposure Equality

Photo taken by Rodrigo Fernández.

Jennifer Weiner at Miami Book Fair International.
Photo taken by Rodrigo Fernández.

A New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner has been battling big names for quite a while now. You may know her from her books Good in Bed and In Her Shoes — as well as from many other books, short stories, and articles. She is successful and knows the industry, which is why she is speaking out.

So what is her mission? From my understanding, it is to have establishments like the New York Times Book Review consider more “chick lit” and to speak out against sexism in the industry. She’s spoken out against these inequalities with her friend Jodi Picoult, recently posting a scathing critique of the illustration of her friend that ran in the New York Times.



Picoult and Weiner also came up with the term #franzenfreude, which was broadcasted on Twitter and suggested the New York Times Book Review was elevating books written by men and not doing the same for women. It also suggested romance and “chick lit” was not taken seriously like other genres of writing.

There is a history here and many have chimed in. For those trying to make sense of it all, I suggest a bit of research. Understand, respected people on either side of the issue have shot some poisoned arrows at their opponents. Twitter is where most of Picoult and Weiner’s commentary can be found, although they have given important interviews as well. I have compiled a small list of sources below, but I suggest further research for a better understanding.

Articles in Slate:
“Why Jennifer Weiner Is Wrong About the Times Book Review” (originally featured on Christopher Beha’s blog)
“Fact-Checking the Franzenfreude”

Article in The New Yorker:
“Written Off”

Articles in Salon:
“Jennifer Weiner gets her moment in big New Yorker profile”
“A brief history of Jennifer Weiner’s literary fights”
“Jeffrey Eugenides: I don’t know why Jodi Picoult is belly-aching”

Article on NPR Books:
“Feminist ‘Franzenfreude’ Over Raves For ‘Freedom'”

Article on Huff Post Books:
“Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner Speak Out On Franzen Feud: HuffPost Exclusive”

Article in The Atlantic:
“‘Freedom’ and the Future of Literary Fiction”


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