Saturday, March 22, 2008

Again with the book covers

Debra Galant (and others) has noticed the prevalence of a certain body part on books meant to appeal to women:

Look at almost any representative of woman’s literature these days and you’ll see the female body beheaded and hacked into discrete parts. Sometimes the heads are hacked off at the neckline, sometimes lower. Sometimes, as with Alex Witchel’s book, you just get the legs.

In fact, you always get at least the legs. And unlike my children, who always lost the Barbie doll shoes, the art directors never lose the shoes. Oh no. High-heeled shoes are a must for this particular art form.

Here's a recent example:

In contrast, the O'Reilly line of reference books for software engineering has featured animals for many years:

Now, there is much hand-wringing about the difficulty of attracting bright young women into the field of computers and technology, and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it might have something to do with the choice of cover art that prevails. By golly, if they want legs, why on Earth don't they just go ahead and give them legs to look at? Of course, to match the existing style, we would want vintage engravings, not just any illustrations. So, I did some searching and devised this mock-up.

I even covered the bare foot with an engraving of a shoe with a bit of a heel.

Now I will be the first to admit the idea might need a bit of fine-tuning, but I maintain that the reasoning is absolutely sound.

Image credits: Bartleby, Vintage Victorian

No comments: