As if! In a recent New York Times review of Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, Douglas Brinkley cattily referred to the book as “chick nonfiction.”
“This book,” Brinley wrote, “is not about politics, it’s about marriage.”
Brinkley’s use of the term “chick nonfiction” touched a nerve as many writers considered it a sexist slight to Kantor. “That alleged lack of respect—and to call a book ‘chick nonfiction’ is to call it unserious—extends not only to the woman who is the author, but also to the woman who is the subject,” noted The Scroll’s Marc Tracy.
“My suspicion is that if a male reporter had written a detailed, well-researched, revealing book about the First Marriage, it would have been praised as a serious work of journalism,” Jennifer Weiner told Tracy. “However, when the old, pernicious double standards still apply, if it’s a lady doing the investigation, the personal can never be political … it can only be gossip, and the writer, however skilled a reporter, is still merely a chick.”
Former Mediaite editor Rachel Sklar lambasted Brinkley in an enraged series of tweets:
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein also shot back at Brinkley, saying “Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas is among the very best books on this White House. It’s a serious, thoughtful book on the modern presidency in general. So no, I’m not going to call it ‘chick nonfiction.'”
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