Netflix accused of hypocrisy after it says use of phrase 'chick flick' is sexist... but no one told their algorithms

Helena Horton
Netflix allows people to search for

Netflix has been accused of hypocrisy after saying that the phrase "chick flicks" is sexist, but letting people search for the category on its website.

The Netflix Film Twitter account chided those who label romantic films as such, and that it should only be used to describe films that involve chickens.

The series of tweets read: "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.

"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...simply isn’t true.

"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.

"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?"

The account also said that "there’s nothing inherently gendered about liking a light-hearted film with a strong female lead and emotional arc."

However, a quick search for "Chick Flicks" on Netflix's website brings up such films as Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia! and What To Expect When You're Expecting.

One follower wrote: " Hmm. Have you given this hot take to your algorithm?", tweeting evidence that the site lets users search for "chick flicks".

Another said: "Netflix has a content category titled 'Chick Flick.'"

Writers of work often labeled "chick lit" have said the decision is misguided.

Author Rebecca Reid, who said is "proud to have written a book which is chick lit with murder", said: "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. 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."

Another author, Lucy Vine, who writes books about sex, life and millennial women said she does not mind her work being called "chick lit".

She told The Telegraph: "I actually don't mind being referred to as chick lit. I've always loved all the books that would be put in that category, so I don't think it's a negative. It's all about context really. Obviously, if a bunch of middle-aged men are saying it sneeringly and using it as another way to dismiss female fiction, I don't love it, but I also don't really care what they think of what I do."

Netflix has been contacted for comment.