Lots of this upcoming collection of my stupid-talk will possibly offend you. Tough.
I loathe that label, "Women's Fiction" because most books of this so-called genre are all the same. All about women who aren't all that young or all that old, not rich or not poor, not fat or not thin, copy-and-paste, grey-area women. They all want to shed that last five pounds and maybe step outside of their dull, housewifey/hairdresser identical existences, but suddenly, surprise, surprise (!) the husband is cheating with a thinner, blonder, younger woman, a Louboutins-and-manicure woman. The rest of the book is then devoted to the grey-area protagonist's mad attempts to heroically transform herself into something better than this woman. Then she makes some new friends, discovers an interesting hobby, and meets the love of her life. Everyone goes off and has a grand old time. The end.
These identical "chick-lit" novels, stacked side by side in the window of your local bookshop, are not just selling us single-use heart-warmers, they are selling a stereotype that women don't care about thrilling crime, gory horror, tense psychological-thrillers, imaginative fantasy, or sports, or anything else except how to lose ten pounds while watching the soap-operas. Often, these books, though some make an attempt at a glossed-over version of controversial themes, give us nothing to argue with. They don't stimulate the mind, plant a new thought, put forward an opinion that we will react to positively or negatively. They just chant the same old suburban fairy-tale behind a shiny pink cover.
"Women's Fiction" is further proof that gender is used as one big marketing scheme. I walk into my local bookshop and see the new Stephen King novel that I have been so excited for advertised as a great father's day present. I walk in near mother's day, and it's all glossy pastel covers on enchanting tales of a slightly overweight hairdresser's quest for true love in the wake of her cheating-son-of-a-B husband. Volumes of short stories advertise "Enchanting Stories For Girls," or "Scary/Mystery Stories For Boys."
In conclusion, I don't want to paint with a broad brush, but I think that any self-respecting, original author should fight to change this. Give us something different. Give us something shocking. Shatter the stereotype beyond all repair.