Okay, let's set one thing straight: the word "chick" needs to stop being used in reference to women. We're not at a sock hop dance in 1959, here. In particular, the word seems to get thrown around in a way that denigrates whatever it's describing. Whenever I hear that a movie is a chick flick, for example, I automatically hear that it's a movie by and for women, which is also severely lacking in substance because of those facts. And that stigma is beyond insulting. Thankfully, many of the best chick flicks of all time prove how ludicrous an idea that truly is. As it turns out, women can make, star in and enjoy movies that hold just as much depth and substance as those primarily by and for men. Shocking, I know.
When movies that are dismissed as "just" chick flicks prove themselves to actually be amazing, it just goes to show how petty and outdated the term is. The following list of films is a celebration of that fact. Not only are the majority of these movies worthy of being respected as some of the best movies of their kind of all time, but they also go above and beyond whatever the basic formula of a stigmatized chick flick entails. These are movies that prove that women are hilarious, intelligent, informed, and strong and that they most definitely represent anything but a "chick."
1. Romy & Michele's High School Reunion
Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino are absolute comedic bosses in this film. And though it makes for fun, light viewing, the plot line is totally universal. Who doesn't want to stick it to the people who bullied them in high school?
2. When Harry Met Sally
Nora Ephron's iconic romantic comedy has too much depth to ever be dismissed as simply being a chick flick. Full of a sharp, unparalleled wit and some truly heartfelt observations on gender dynamics and the nature of love, When Harry Met Sally is nothing short of a comedy masterpiece.
Despite featuring running themes that focus on superficiality and self-obsession, Clueless is easily one of the most intelligent (and funniest) comedies of the '90s.
4. Mean Girls
Like Clueless, Mean Girls is another supremely smart comedy that all too often gets dismissed for focusing on the shallow dramas of teenage girls. But not only are these dramas portrayed in complex ways, but the movie is also full of a delicious dark humor.
5. The Princess Bride
Stick the words "princess" and "bride" in a movie title and people will forever make the assumption that it's solely about frilly, sparkly things. Which The Princess Bride definitely isn't. Instead, the movie features the perfect blend of action, adventure, comedy, and romance.
6. Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde, much like lead character Elle Woods, is not a movie that should be judged solely on appearances. Beneath that pink veneer is an intelligent and hugely impressive comedy that turns femininity into the strength that it is.
7. Set It Off
The amount of times I've heard people misjudge Set It Off as being a chick flick isn't just irritating, but also greatly baffling. Yes, it features four women in the lead roles, but why on earth would that undermine a story that is full of action, showing complex friendships under strain as these women become bank robbers?
8. Dirty Dancing
For years, I myself dismissed Dirty Dancing as being little else but a vapid romance not worth watching. Thankfully, I finally gave the movie a chance and was deeply embarrassed to discover just how incredible it is on just about every level a movie possibly can be.
9. Crazy, Stupid, Love
From the writer of This Is Us, this spectacular romantic comedy movie is full of pleasant surprises. Yes, Ryan Gosling is in it, and, wow, does he look good, but that doesn't automatically make the movie just for Gosling fans. It has a seriously broad appeal worth checking out.
10. The Devil Wears Prada
I mean, everyone should see this movie at least once in their lives, if just for Meryl Streep's phenomenal performance as an absolutely monstrous editor-in-chief. But beyond that, the movie is also essential viewing for anyone struggling to assert themselves in their career.
11. Pretty In Pink
The movie has little to do with being pretty or wearing pink (despite that big prom finale) and more to do with class disparity and teenage rites of passage.
12. Josie And The Pussycats
Sure, it might look light and fluffy on the outside, but this pussycat has claws, ladies and gentleman. Not only is Josie And The Pussycats downright hilarious, but it's also an incredibly fun satire on the intersections between pop culture and capitalism.
13. Love & Basketball
It's as simple as this — Love & Basketball is an absolute classic. The central love story is complex, as are the two lead characters who struggle with the nature of their relationship alongside their burgeoning careers. It deserves far more respect than it sometimes garners.
Just because it's about a pack of women enjoying a bachelorette party shouldn't diminish it's worth: Bachelorette is just as crude, silly, and hilarious as its male-led counterparts such as The Hangover or Old School.
So next time you hear anyone dismissing these films as being "chick flicks", be sure to send this article over to them and put them in their place.