But when it's written by a man... it's literature.
So sayeth an interesting article, Chick Lit, The Sequel: Yummy Mummy, in The New York Times.
The quote that had the biggest impact on me is "Little Children,” a novel whose themes are touchstones of mom lit — adultery, competitive parenting — was praised in reviews as a great suburban novel. Its author, Tom Perrotta, has been compared to Chekhov in reviews. “If Tom Perrotta had been Tina,” Ms. [Jennifer] Weiner asked, “would they have put a pink cover on that book?”
More than that is addressed in the article; there is also a discussion of what types of mothers are being portrayed in Mommy Lit and blogs about motherhood.
What intrigues me the most is the idea that it's not so much the book itself that is looked at but the label. Calling something "literature" elevates it; removes it from limiting publishing labels, whether the label is chick lit or young adult or horror; and, then gets the book and the author treated with more respect.