The post in which I rant about book covers, again
Time and time again, we read about the white washing of book covers. And all those pretty book covers with model like beauties with long, flowing hair wearing long, flowing dresses – usually seen gracing the covers of paranormal romance. (See: Body Image and YA Book Covers) But today THEY HAVE GONE TO FAR.
Gone is the fiery trademark red hair, often used as an explanation for her equally fiery personality. Suddenly, she is sexy, model blonde, full of confidence and oozing raw sexuality – and apparently not in the right historical time period. In fact, this cover immediately brought to mind a blonde version of Footloose, which is the 80s for the record. It’s like the cover artist didn’t even read the book and had no intention of helping to connect reader to book, but wanted to sell books based on what it perceived would sell.
Why? More importantly: what kind of a message does this send to readers?
Actually, if you look at all the covers, the message is very clear, what with all the make-up and pretty, pretty girls. Why, I wonder, is this the message we want to keep sending to women everywhere? You are more than just an outside shell. In fact, it is what’s on the inside that matters. Which, by the way, is one of the glorious messages found within every wonderful page of Anne of Green Gables, the story of a fiery RED HEADED orphan who comes into her own as she finds love with a family and confidence in herself. That confidence comes not because she is beautiful on the outside, but because she comes to understand that she is beautiful on the inside and has so much positive to bring to this world.
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Here are the real issues with the covers, in a nutshell:
They misrepresent what it inside the pages of the book and break trust with the reader
They reinforce cultural feminim stereotypes
They sexualize and objectify girls on covers of books, which, for example, in the case of Anne of Green Gables is really all about the exact opposite of its actual message
They do a disservice to readers of all ages and genders by doing all of the above
These covers are an outrage. That is all. Go to the Jezebel link to view them all. I don’t actually mind The Breakfast at Tiffany’s one to be honest. Please tell me what you think in the comments. P.S.: This weekend I shall snuggle up with the Tween and watch the entire Anne of Green Gables series with Megan Follows because it is awesome.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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