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C’est chick.

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"Listen, sister, when are you going to get wise to yourself?"Between Carina Chocano‘s recent LA Times piece fighting for chick flicks and Rebecca Traister‘s article in Salon a little further back on the worthiness of chick lit, we now feel weak and chastised for ever apologizing for writing every other post about Jane Austen. We can’t help but feel that Traister’s article is a backhanded complement in the "across the face, resulting in a black eye" sense of the work "backhanded" (a sort of, yes, chick lit often may not be well-written, but hey, it’s about women!), but then we’d pick watching "A League of Their Own" or something on cable over reading "The Nanny Diaries" any day (someday we won’t have to choose).

Chocano’s point is actually well-made — "chick flick" has become a kind of "know it when you see it" term that doesn’t actually mean anything.

And it’s a blanket category at that, the smothering kind. It has made it so that a movie like "Wedding Crashers" is simply considered a comedy, whereas movies like "Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion" (a satire with female characters) or "The Sweetest Thing" (a raunchy comedy) are considered chick flicks — even when they share more in common with contemporary mainstream comedies than with the "women’s pictures" of the 1930s and ’40s from which, Athena-like, they are supposed to have sprung.

Chocano also delves into the fact that, in male-heavy Hollywood, for a female director making films about women, to be labeled as someone who makes "chick flicks" is to be ghettoized into a category that is written off as uninteresting and irrelevant to half the population.

In a recent interview in Slate magazine, writer Pamela Paul posed this question to director Niki Caro, whose movie "North Country" tells the story of the first class-action sexual harassment suit: "Both ‘Whale Rider’ and ‘North Country’ are stories about female empowerment. Do you worry about being marginalized as a woman director of films for women?"

"Yeah, I do," Caro replies, "because that’s not what I do. I don’t see myself as a crusading feminist filmmaker. Not at all…. Personally, I have nothing to prove. But I’m tremendously curious about human nature. Female life is so incredibly under-explored in cinema, so these stories feel very exotic."

And on. Caro’s an interesting case, because, well, she is a crusading feminist filmmaker, or at least that’s how we see her, in the best way. Her films are so much about righteous anger or quiet strength and martyrdom, and are so shameless in tugging heartstrings, they’re almost utilitarian. Anyway, enough — to top off her excellent piece, Chocano adds a sidebar of 54 "movies that speak to real women."

+ Fettered by a faux stereotype (LA Times)
+ Women’s studies (Salon)
+ 54 that get it right (LA Times)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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