International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 243

Full Length Research Paper

Dare you rocking it: Contemporary women and the trap of the glass ceiling in chick lit

Nour Elhoda A. E. Sabra
  • Nour Elhoda A. E. Sabra
  • Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 10 July 2016
  •  Accepted: 24 August 2016
  •  Published: 31 October 2016


This paper argues that multiple truths can coexist, and beyond the romance and the pink flowery cover, Chick lit examines new areas in the modern women’s lives that feminists have not touched yet such as the impact of female in power on the advancement of female subordinate’s employees, and the reason that keeps contemporary women away from the glass ceiling. It demonstrates how Chick lit authors by bringing up these topics are allowing women’s movement to communicate with contemporary women. In doing so, the paper is going to do two related arguments: it will show, through the demonstration of Weisberger’s novels The Devil Wears Prada, Everyone Worth knowing and Revenge Wears Prada, how Chick lit has presented and discussed the systematic nature of gender discrimination and inequality that modern women face in the workplace, and post-feminist ideology as a tool to justify contemporary society anti-women hegemony. The significance of this paper comes from its attempt to open up a dialogue between Chick lit and women’s movement in order to cover some of the gaps in feminist analyses of Chick lit.

Key words: Chick lit, feminism, women’s management, contemporary literature, the glass ceiling.


The publicity of Chick lit puts the genre under the spotlight of critics. Feminists who have examined the genre can be divided into two groups: the first group sees Chick lit writers and their female readers who are identified with its protagonists as females trying to undermine the women’s movement. They argue that Chick lit, as a twenty-first century form of fairy tale (Rende, 2008), encourages modern women to junk their education, quit their careers and retain their traditional roles as homemakers. This group of feminists have suggested to make a distinction between the works “that are widely accessible and the works that are widely accessed” (Churchwell and Smith, 2012: 14), and while Chick lit is widely accessible, its simplicity and its lack of depth make it less academically respectable, or, as The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd puts it, “they’re all chick and no lit” (as cited in Davis-Kahl, 2008: 20). Despite the fact of the simplicity of Chick lit’s language, its contents is far from this simplicity. As the article is going to discuss in details, Weisberger’s novels as an example of Chick lit offer a deep insight in contemporary women dilemma at the workplace, drawing a concrete picture of the sacrifices that women should pay in order to move up in their career’s  hierarchy ladder.

Perhaps we need first to acknowledge the differences between women’s problems back to the 60s and 70s and women’s problems in the new millennia. Indeed, achieving a real form of gender equality is still a major issue. However, we need to address contemporary women’s problems within the political, economic and social context of the new millennium. In her explanation of the relationship between time and life, Grosz (2004) argues that the past provides a raw material of the present and the future but in no way contains or limits them. So comparing chick lit with older feminist fiction such as the works that were written by Fay Weldon and Erica Jong or the works that were published as a result of the second wave feminism and stating that their fiction serves the women’s movement by working on female consciousness and moving in the opposite direction of Chick lit taking its heroines out of marriage into singledom (Whelehan, 2005) is like denying the fact that we are living in a new millennium. Chick lit uses the raw material that older feminists have provided that is, equal educational opportunities, financial independence, having careers, and addresses the new parries that the society has put in front of contemporary women preventing them from getting the ultimate benefits of what older feminists have achieved such as the reasons that hinder female  advancement in managerial positions.

The second group of feminists who accepted Chick lit and gave the genre more merit, argues that Chick lit is a new form of Romance that is engaged with heterosexual relationship (Gill and Herdieckerhoff, 2006). They state that modern women read Chick lit primarily for entertainment; “Chick lit is entertainment” (Baratz-Logsted, 2013: 1). It is undeniable that humor and satire are essential elements in Chick lit’s plots. However, offering a sarcastic representation of serious issues does not belittle the seriousness of the work itself or the issues that the work offers. Chick lit authors have chosen their own way to address contemporary women’s problems and express their rebellious on new society’s rules that have limited women’s choices. Both groups analyses of Chick lit suggest some gaps in the literature and in reading the texts. This paper aims to fill those gaps by arguing that multiple truths can coexist, and beyond the romance and the pink flowery cover, Chick lit examines new areas in the modern women’s lives that feminists have not touched yet such as the impact of female in power on the advancement of female subordinate’s employees, and the reason that keeps contemporary women away from the glass ceiling. Therefore, the article through its illustration of Lauren Weisberger’s novels offers two examples of glass ceiling: glass ceiling within established organization and glass ceiling within entrepreneurial femininities. In other words, the paper aims to highlight one of the challenges that modern women face in the workplace, which is women advancement at the workplace and the relationship between the supervisors’  sex  and  female  subordinate’s prospect. 

By the start of the new millennia, media and magazines often claim that feminism has only a past but not a future. They argue that in our contemporary societies there is no need for feminism anymore, feminists have achieved much of what they were originally fighting for (Harris, 2004; Ferriss and Young, 2006; Faludi, 2006; McRobbie, 2009; O’Neill, 2014). Therefore, post-feminist critics state that young women are impelled to forge their individual identity and perceive themselves as late modernity winners (Harris, 2004; Ghaill and Haywood, 2007) as “men lose out to women’s touch at work” (Ghaill and Haywood et al., 2007: 1). They go further to state that “any evidence of ongoing inequality is as a result of personal preference ‘women don’t want to be CEOs” (Bulbeck, 2011: 5), and they are tended to do insufficient effort and poor choices (Harris, 2004). Such attitude has been interpreted in the U.S “legislation. Ledbetter Act: if women still earn less than men, it is because they do not work as hard” (Ferguson, 2013: 9). 

In other words, they are offering a new “conceptualization of the world without preambles which involve explications and expositions of the problems with masculinist or patriarchal theories” (McNeil, 2010: 428). They validate their claims by introducing examples of “super woman, the woman who has it all” (Wilson, 2001: 17), the women who have reached the glass ceiling juggling all their responsibilities easily and supported by the society. Such optimistic picture makes Negra (2009) asks, why at the moment of the availability of a variety of female options and choices modern women are not celebrating? The same question was asked by Whelehan (2004), as she wonders why, despite the fact that “we have everything we ever wanted, [we] suffer even more than before” (p. 37). Another older feminist states that she assumed that by the year 2010 one third to one half of the congress, governors and mayors would be female, and one third to one half of corporate board members would be women and a high percentage of the fortunate 500 companies would be led by females (Kunin, 2012). However, what we get instead is a large number of young women who were successful in their education and entered the workforce “express regret that they have delayed marriage and parenting” (Bulbeck, 2011: 6) as they were vainly trying to have successful careers. And another group of female undergraduates at Ivy League Colleges have decided to junk their prestigious education and stay at home (Faludi, 2006).

In her interpretation of that situation, Harris (2004) states that although the society is focusing on young women in order to help them get ultimate benefit from all the choices and opportunities that are offered to them and helping them to “perform, [as] a new kind of self-made subjectivity” or as “the winners in, [the] new world”, young women’s lives are more complex than the media presents because racial and ethical issues are shaping the opportunities  that  these  young  women  are  offered (Harris, 2004: 8). Butler (2004) supports the same idea and asserts that poor and color women are still facing discrimination. Undeniable, racial and ethical issues have impact on young women benefits from these opportunities; however, Harris’s argument asserts that an entire race of women ‘white women’ have achieved equality regardless of the majority of the women within this race who have not achieved equality that is, middle and lower middle class white women. Therefore, this paper is more concerned with the way these opportunities have been used to lock young women or the beneficiaries of these opportunities within subordinate jobs. It is focused on the way post-feminist have been using these opportunities to show young women who have failed to reach the glass ceiling as lazy, inertia and unwilling to make an effort to advance themselves in workplaces. It is a young woman’s choice to stay away from the glass ceiling.


In their search for the definition of the ideal worker, who is valued and promoted by employers, Leskinen and Cortina (2013) state that the ideal worker is someone “who works full time and consistently over his or her lifetime and who takes no leaves for pregnancy, child care or other caregiving responsibilities”(p. 4). Such definition expresses the undeclared conditions and the terms that modern women accept when they sign their work contracts. In other words, women are considered incompetent workers because of their biological ability to bear children. Grosz (2004) in her exploration of the space between the natural and the cultural argues that the biological nature of a person does not limit the role that a person can play culturally; on the contrary, it offers the person a variety of life. She also affirms that the transformed and the indeterminate nature of the biology ensure no boundaries and limits to social, political and personal life. While the first part of Grosz’s argument minimizes the importance of the role that the biological nature can play to determine a person life’s achievements, her affirmation that nature is transformed and indeterminate provides the society with unclear measures of evaluating women’s work. Consequently “the very terms that confer humanness [and smartness] on some individuals are those that deprive certain other individuals of the possibility of achieving that status” (Butler, 2004: 2). Put it precisely, Grosz (2004) states that she does not focus on the “body but [on] that which [the body] makes it possible and which limits its action” (p.2), by stating that the body have the power to make things possible or impossible we put the ability of female body under a debate, limiting female options and ensuring that the barrier between any female worker and the glass ceiling are the sacrifices that this female worker is willing to do to conceal the vulnerability of  her  biological  nature.

In other words, the biological related bias that society uses in evaluating workers forces contemporary women who want to move up in their career’s ladder to sacrifice and put their biological nature on the hold for the sake of career development, or as Weisberger (2003) puts it, “Tell me, how many CEOs or managing partners or movie directors have to be tough [we have] to sacrifice a lot to get there, the same [could] be said of super successful people in every industry”(p. 227).

In The Devil Wears Prada (2003), Weisberger introduces her heroine Miranda Priestly as the perfect example of these powerful women that the society highlights to validate their claims that modern women not only have easily reached the glass ceiling but they can easily as well juggle their full time unpaid works at home and full time paid works in the workplace. It is a matter of choice, if a woman is ambitious and willing to rock the glass ceiling and be A Chief Executive Officer (CEO), wife and mother, she can do it. In Runway magazine’s society, Miranda, the head of the “family” (Weisberger, 2003: 115), is a perfect example of a woman who has it all; she is a wife, a mother, and an independent, successful, fashionable and powerful woman. She presented an ideal example of a society that believes in gender equality, like our post-feminists society in which equality is sine quenon (Essential and undeniable) (Esping-Andersen, 2009). She is “the most important woman at the most profitable magazine” (Weisberger et al., 2003: 81) and at the same time, she is a mother of twins and a self-made woman; she refused to be a blue-collar employee like her siblings (Weisberger et al., 2003). Miranda makes her choice and chooses to be a CEO, and successful she is. Only lazy women or those women who are unwilling to work hard cannot do it.

Weisberger (2003) addresses this issue and presents the army who stands behind these women’s success. Miranda has a cook, a housekeeper, a nanny, a driver, a private jet and two assistants picking up her meals and coffee, and sort her sweat and food stained clothes each morning and arrange to have the laundry cleaned (Weisberger et al., 2003). They also arrange her meetings, parties and cat shows. They do all the work for her. They are Miranda’s slaves (Weisberger et al., 2003). Weisberger asserts her desperate female readers that it is not a matter of choice; it is not their weak skills, laziness or unwillingness to work hard. They are all victims of the society’s unrealistic demands. They are the victims of the unreal gender equality that post-feminist media promotes and causes the feelings of alienation and loneliness among modern women. Each woman assumes that it is her own fault that she cannot create a balance between financial independence, successful career and happiness in the domestic sphere or as Weisberger’s middle-class heroine ‘Andrea’ puts it when she could not balance between her demanding job and her relationship with her best friend Lily and her boyfriend Alex: It is my life, my career, my future. What the  hell am I supposed to do? Treat it like a joke? I was already screaming back- I couldn’t help myself. First Lily and now Alex? Both on top of Miranda, all day every day? It was too much, and I wanted to cry, but all I could do was yell. A big fucking joke, huh? That’s what my job is to both of you! Oh, Andy, you work in fashion, how hard can it be? I mimicked, hating myself more with every passing second. (Weisberger, 2003: 203).

Weisberger argues that “the new brand of competitive individualism, whereby people are expected to create their own chances and make the best of their lives” (Harris, 2004: 3). Along with post-feminists’ critics and media insisting on the unnecessary female sisterhood have moved young women’s war with the society to a war with one another, which help in reemerging The Queen Bees Syndrome in our contemporary society, or as Andrea puts it: I realized then for the first time what different year it would have been if Emily and I could have  been truly friends, if we could have covered and protected and trusted each other enough to face Miranda as a united front. (Weisberger, 2003: 300). The competitive individualization that post-feminists adopted and fostered by the society left modern women vulnerable. Each one has to fight alone against the workplace injustice policy of evaluating the ideal worker. Andrea and her colleague Emily  both can achieve their dreams and advance their workplace positions if they both stand together against Miranda, but they could not trust one another, they have been told by the society that every woman should create her own chance by herself and never trust anyone. Post-feminist critics instead of high lightening the unfair biological standers of evaluating workers’ achievements have successfully created a war between women; make them believe that the barrier between any woman and her glass ceiling position is not a man, but it is another woman.  

From 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce and from Cohen and Huffman (2007) analogy of female bosses’ characterization, Maume (2011) argues that female supervisors fall into two categories: female superiors as ‘Change Agent’ and female superiors as ‘Cogs in the Machine’. The first category ‘Change Agent’ prefer to hire female subordinates and more likely to befriend, mentor and favorably evaluate their female subordinates helping them to pursue their positions in the workplace and climb the hierarchical managerial ladder. The second category, ‘Cogs in the Machine’ are those who have been selected for their leadership position because of their identification with powerful men at the expense of female subordinates (Maume, 2011), or those who believe that they have moved up in a male-dominated career, because they were able to convince the society that they are not like other women who usually humiliate and belittle their female workers. The phenomenon of ‘Cogs in the Machine’ is best known as ‘The Queen Bee Syndrome’ and it was first used in 1973 to   describe  a   woman   who   was   able   to   climb  the hierarchal career ladder in a male-dominated environment. These Queen Bees are usually not supportive to their female subordinates, because the success of other women may challenge their own position of power in organizations (Buchanan et al., 2012). Therefore, these Queen Bees usually associate themselves with males in order to feel worthy, and alienate themselves from the lower status group members (that is, Female) and at the same time, they do their best to put female subordinates under pressure, not allowing them to show their talents. 

Perhaps, we need first to highlight the differences between Queen Bees existence in the 70s and now, as in the 70s, the number of qualified women were few, they were not considered threat for the male dominated positions. The successes of a woman threaten only the other woman who is in charge of this position. On the contrary, the numbers of qualified contemporary women are much higher and their success in reaching managerial positions threatens the male hegemony or the male domination of these positions. The remerging of Queen Bee’s syndrome in the new millennium services the society in two directions: First. is ensuring that managerial positions will continue to be a male dominated sphere. Second, it is promoting the illusion that contemporary women have achieved equality and the glass ceiling is accessible to them easily. Therefore, we cannot accept Fest’s (2009) attacks on the representation of Miranda Priestley in the Devil Wears Prada and her argument that the way Miranda is presented conveys the message that “it does not do for a nice girl to have ambitions” (p. 60). Fest (2009) states that the author tries to reinforce feminists’ achievement and presents Miranda, the ambitious self-made woman, as a devil. What Fest has ignored is that Miranda, is the most powerful woman in the fashion field, and does not help her female subordinates to advance their careers; on the contrary, she humiliates and belittles them. Miranda Priestley is not helping other women to be CEOs. She is a devil, because she does not help her own sex to improve. Weisberger presents Miranda as an example of the Cogs in the Machine powerful woman. In her novel Weisberger argues that Post-feminist society uses these Queen Bees to meet the external legal pressures to diversify the ranks of management and support the illusion that the female subordinates can likewise advance themselves to the supervisory position (Maume, 2011). Miranda is such a wonderful woman, editor, person, that she really takes care of her own girls. You’ll skip years and years of working your way up the ladder by working just one year for her; if you’re talented, she’ll send you straight to the top. (Weisberger, 2003:19). Weisberger (2013) asserts this illusion as Emily, the most devoted employee to Miranda, the girl who had worked for her for three years and gave a million of excuses for her arrogant behavior, was fired . Weisberger argues that Miranda   emphasizes   what   Seligson   calls   the  Tiara Syndrome. It is a definition of modern women’s behaviors at the workplace as they expect that if they devotedly keep doing their job well, someone will notice their devotion and place a tiara on their head (Seligson, 2011; Maume, 2011). Promoting such behavior hinders women’s advancement. It encourages women to take the back seat waiting to be noticed for their devotions and sacrifices at work and blame themselves if they failed to be noticed and rewarded for their hard work, assuming that they have done something wrong, “I’d be willing to bet anything that you still blame yourself for getting fired, you still think Miranda was in some way justified for throwing you out like last week’s garbage” (Weisberger, 2013: 205). Tiara Syndrome works on female lack of self-confidence and encourages younger women not to advance themselves or stand for their rights, because asking for their rights makes them look nagging and demanding, as typical female characteristics. In post-feminist society, the glass ceiling is protected by two factors: the definition of the good worker and the competitive individual unequal war that is asserted by the U.S legislation Ledbetter Act as aforementioned. However, post-feminist critics proudly announce that young female have a chance to create their own glass ceiling or what is known as “entrepreneurial femininities” (Lewis, 2014: 1856). They see entrepreneurial femininity as a reason for female celebration. It is a new form of female empowerment, women are no longer oppressed. Rather, they hit the glass ceiling as active and dynamic individuals (Lewis, 2014).


Lewis (2014) states that in our contemporary society we have two sorts of entrepreneurial femininities: individualized entrepreneurial and relational or maternal entrepreneurial.  Individual entrepreneurial is highly acceptable and celebrated by the society; because the woman who chooses this category does not only incorporate feminine and masculine traits in the workplace, but she also asserts the notion that those masculine management traits are the only valid examples of management. On the other hand, women who choose relational or maternal entrepreneurial usually face challenges and their business is unlikely to continue, not because of their poor management skills but because they present a threat to the masculine conventional definition of management. Butler (1988), in her definition of gender, states that gender is not a fact, but it is the regularity of various acts of gender that creates the idea of gender. And those who fail to behave according to these acts should be punished. In other words, those who choose relational or maternal entrepreneurial have shown their unwillingness to behave according to the set of norms that the society has drawn for their gender, and by achieving   success,  they   are  violating  the  hegemonic norms that have associated successful management with masculine traits (Lewis, 2014). Therefore, they should be punished and their punishment comes in a form of treating their business as an illegitimate form of entrepreneurial, and their projects are less likely to continue for a long time (Lewis, 2014). Weisberger, in her novels, addresses this issue and offers two examples of entrepreneurial femininity. She raises a number of important questions: what is the definition of feminine management traits? Because these feminine traits that affect the success of any entrepreneurial “are not well articulated” by the society (Lewis, 2014: 1856)). Also, who shapes the limits of these feminine traits? And, who evaluates or judges the success of relational or maternal entrepreneurial?

In Everyone Worth Knowing (2005), Weisberger presents Kelly the ambitious woman who creates her PR company and within a few years her company has been one of the most well-known companies. Kelly’s company is an example of individualized entrepreneurial in which the female manger is successfully combining feminine and masculine traits. Kelly’s feminine traits represent in her overly obsession of her and her girls’ weight and appearance. They live on diet coke, coffee, chardonnay and perhaps a salad and at the parties they “show off, [their] ultra-tight, ultra short, barely opaque wrap dresses” (Weisberger, 2005: 345). Her masculine traits appear in the way she controls her company and her employees, the way she is toeing the line between professional and personal life at the workplace. She does not mind to whore her girls and congratulate them on being scandalized on the magazines and papers because then they “are , star[s]” (Weisberger, 2005: 280) she also does not show any hesitation to sell them in order to have a new client as she did when she sends her staff on a work trip to Turkey: Party as often and as much as you can manage ring in the New Year together. And, of course, entertain your guests. Guests? The nightclub owners, you mean? I am not fucking whoring myself out to some Turkish club owners, Kelly! ... Kelly grinned that’s funny. She paused for emphasis. But fear not, young Elisa. The guests to which I’m referring are a carefully selected group (Weisberger, 2005: 261).

For Kelly’s company “The single most crucial tool for ensuring a firm’s success” (Weisberger, 2005, p.106) is the people she knows and can invite to the parties she arranges. She knows she is “nothing without the people, [she] can provide for  [her] client” (Weisberger, 2005: 106) therefore, her masculine traits that is, determination, strong decision making and no hesitation, allow her to do whatever it takes to achieve successes. She knows not only that her stuff are taking drugs in order to survive their job demands but her guests as well, but Kelly’s masculine traits of taking responsibility for her successful company arouse in such situations “the usual nice boss lady was gone and she was been replaced by a demonic monster: Are you aware that  we have  kids  here  getting arrested on drug charges? People do not get ARRESTED at our parties, do you hear me?” (Weisberger, 2005: 357). Contrary to what post-feminists declares that modern women successfully are allowed to celebrate their femininity as a source of empowerment rather than subordination. (McRobbie, 2009), Weisberger asserts that in our contemporary society female agency is constituted by a number of unchosen social rules (Butler, 2004). Kelly is not allowed to control her business through her female agency, the lady boss does not exist anymore, and the person in charge at this moment is a traditional masculine “demonic monster” boss. Kelly should be deprived of her femininity before allowing her to associate with masculine traits such as domination. 

Contrary to Kelly and her individual entrepreneurial in Revenge Wears Prada, we have Andrea and her relational or maternal entrepreneurial. Andrea aspires to be a CEO and successfully she becomes and has her own magazine The Plunge. Butler (2004) asserts that in our contemporary society female agency should be open up to the fact that it is constituted by a number of unchosen social rules; however, Andrea, in her entrepreneurial example, is adopting a drastic way of achieving recognition although, she is a founder of fashion magazine, she does not mind to hire a talented fashion disaster as her part-managing director; Carmella is “slightly overweight with unruly brown hair and inch-thick gray roots. She favored shapeless pantsuits paired with Merrell clogs at winter and FitFlops in summer” (Weisberger, 2013: 177). Andrea hires female employees for their qualifications and their works rather than their appearance. She appreciates her female subordinates’ work, praise them and respect their opinion.

She does not enslave her female employees or toeing the line between their personal and professional lives; on the contrary, she tries to let them leave at 5:30 and have their own lives and apologies if they have to work extra time (Weisberger, 2013). Moreover, she as a mother and CEO at the same time encourages her female employees to have “‘flexible work schedule’ [and] ‘working remotely” (Weisberger, 2013: 340). Butler (2004) argues that any woman has no desire to be recognized within the certain set of norms that ascribed by the society has to deal with impaired social belonging. Weisberger (2013) asserts the same idea as Andrea loses the support of her husband, friends and partner. Despite the success of her entrepreneurial company, her excess feminine management traits threat the association of successful management’s traits with masculinity. Therefore, the anti-female glass ceiling society “is dying to buy The Plunge” (Weisberger, 2013: 244), and is eager to have a control on that successful relational or maternal entrepreneurial and its Change Agent CEO. The post-feminist society does not want Andrea to be an ideal model for young women and help other women to rock the glass ceiling.

The post-feminist society with its legislation Ledbetter Act would not allow full time working  women  with  caring responsibility to have a flexible timetable or working from home. The post-feminist society offers modern women one way deal to burn themselves out at work or get back to their traditional role as homemaker. Weisberger ends her novel with the unfortunately the ugly truth, as the society deceiving Andrea, having control over her magazine, and modern women not only lose another Change Agent powerful female CEO but also the hope of reaching the glass ceiling. Andrea loses her battle with the society because she sought recognition not within the society limits, she failed to behave according to these acts that create her gender; therefore, she should be punished (Butler, 1988).

Butler (2004) argues that everybody has inborn truth of sex that professionals can bring to the light, thus, gender ought to be established through choice. The dangerous of Butler’s argument is that it opens up the possibility to the society to set its own norms for the ideal worker who should reach the glass ceiling positions. It supports the society definition of the ideal worker and its sexual bias, and the association of managerial successful with masculine traits.  Looking at Weisberger’s novels The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing, where she allows only Miranda and Kelly to reach the glass ceiling. Both characters have brought their inborn sex and associated themselves with the male gender, and although, Miranda has two children she does not show any motherly feelings towards them. The same goes for Kelly who does not have children and does not mind if under-aged youth have drugs and alcoholic beverages in her parties. Although, they dress according to their biological sex, they have chosen to associate with the male gender. Therefore, they are successfully celebrating their glass ceiling positions and their agency reflects the norms that society sets, and the association of successful managerial characteristics with masculine traits. On the contrary, Andrea who refuses to accept the norm and shows her motherly feeling towards her new baby, the society does not allow her to keep her glass ceiling position. Weisberger asserts that only those women who are willing to give up their female gender are allowed to rock the glass ceiling.

Butler (2004) argues that “we make a mistake if we take the definitions of who we are, legally, to be adequate description of what we are about” (p.20). But she does not explain that a woman does not gain recognition for her legal definition but for what she pretends she is. Weisberger asserts that a woman gets her recognition for what she pretends she is, as Miranda and Kelly gain their successful careers and recognition for the masculine gender they pretend. She reasserts this idea as Andrea fails to gain recognition despite her success because she insists on creating her success as female. The society does not allow Andrea to gain recognition as female because then she will present a threat to the norms and the association of successful managerial traits with masculine   traits.  The  implication   of   such  situation  is promoting a false claim of achieving gender equality, while what female gender have really achieved is the assertion of the superiority of male gender and the association of male gender with achieving success or glass ceiling position. The publicity of Weisberger’s novels and modern women’s identification with its plots suggests that Chick lit is engaging in a dialogue with women’s movement conveying a message of the importance of sisterhood, as it argues that the small number of women in leadership position goes back to the lack of female oneness, or as the Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, once said “there’ is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” (Sandberg, 2013: 94).


Throughout the illustration of Lauren Weisberger’s novels The Devil Wears Prada, Everyone Worth Knowing and Revenge Wears Prada as examples of Chick lit, the article offers new angles of reading Chick lit as a new genre carries within its sarcastic and humorous plots serious issues burden contemporary women’s lives. Such as the challenges that modern women face in workplace, and emphasizes that modern women’s lives are more complex than media presents.

It also asserts that the opportunities that the societies offer have been used to lock contemporary women within subordinate jobs rather than helping them to pursue their positions in the workplace, and climb the hierarchal managerial ladder. As aforementioned, in post-feminist society, the glass ceiling is protected by three main factors: the definition of the good worker, the masculine conventional definition of management, and the competitive individual unequal war that is asserted by the U.S legislation Ledbetter Act. Women who want to move up in their career’s ladder, rocking the glass ceiling have to conceal the vulnerability of their biological nature, sacrifice their social life , and put their biological nature on hold.

On the contrary, to what post-feminists claim that in our modern societies there is no need for feminism anymore, feminist have achieved much of what they were fighting for. We can state that in our modern societies, feminism and female sisterhood are more needed, even more than before.   Contemporary women are victims of the unreal gender equality that post-feminist media promotes, and causes the feeling of alienation and loneliness among them. Each woman assumes that it is her fault that she cannot create a balance between financial independence, successful career and happiness in the domestic sphere. Indeed, more researches are needed to be conducted on the challenges women face in workplace, as well as a deep and serious reading of Chick lit as a new genre is widely readied, admired and accepted by contemporary women.


The author has not declared any conflict of interests.


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