Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pink Books Are For Girls.

INQUIRER COLUMNIST Karen Heller tackled feminine stereotypes in her column yesterday. Specifically, she said that the lame book designs on books by female authors were insulting to the entire gender.

"Women's literature has moved beyond the pale - all matter of pinks from pale to insistent - to dismemberment," she wrote. "These days, publishers are partial to flashing body parts, specifically women's body parts, often legs and exquisitely shod feet, on book jackets."

She points to books by popular writers like Jodi Picoult, Julia Fox, Jennifer Weiner and Alice Munro.

She continues:

These covers scream to men "Please don't read me!" while to women they coo "Here's more of the same!"

The thinking, or so I imagine, is that readers will look at these women's body parts or backs and identify. "Why that's me!" or "That looks just like my old friend Susie!" In other words, they think we're stupid.

Is she just being cranky or does she have a point? Have women been demeaned by this marketing scheme?


Jeff Frandsen said...

They always say, don't judge a book by it's cover. But I think we are all at fault with that. Ever since I started to read, I can honestly admit I've judged almost every book by it's cover, even text books. As for a pink book cover, I would probably figure it wasn't for me, and I wouldn't even bother reading the synopsis on the back.

But, I have seen a lot of this targeting recently. Although I disagree that it's insulting, I can see where it may raise a question of whether or not women should be targeted as what we may call "girly girls."

But think about what these books are about. What else should go on the cover? Next they'll be complaining about light blue, then purple.

I do agree that they say "here's more of the same!" to women, as I look at it and think of the same possible love story.

In conclusion, I still think we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Read the back of the book, then decide to read it. Who cares what the front looks like. I'd like to see the columnist create a better cover.

I've rambled way too far. I don't even think it made any sense either.

Rachel Wolkiewicz said...

I agree and disagree with Karen.

While I wouldn't find it "demeaning" to market books that way, I do think that they are all starting to look the same. As a woman, I don't necessarily want to read girly books all the time, but when I do read one, I don't really want it to scream what i'm reading about with tell-tale cover images.

I think marketing should be relative to the's easy to lump things together into a category. Who wants to read the same thing all of the time though? Personally, I start to get turned away from books that all have the same design. Didn't I already read it?

So... no to the demeaning quality, because we've all seen those body parts before, so whats new?

And I think the marketers could be a little more creative and personal to each book. If what's inside is different than all other books, so should the outside be different from all other books. Makes sense, right?

Jen Klimowicz said...

I'll admit, like Jeff, I am also guilty of choosing what I read based on the picture on the front, but alot of the time the pictue conincides with the content of the book. A cover is a good way to reveal a little bit about the story to those who just take a quick glance at it. Our minds process pictures much faster than words anyway. If a book has a cover that interests you, you will pick it up and read some more.

With this book, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the cover. Look at the title of the is about girls! so a picture of a girl is rather fitting.

Karen says men wont pick up the book because the cover, but these books are written for women! I don't know any man in his right mind that would want to read something called "certain girls" whether the cover was hot pink or brown.

I am not a bigot or anti feminist.
I am simply using common sense here.