Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Jackets With People’s Heads Cut Off

When I was a bookstore rep a common worry I heard was about how so many YA books feature young women’s bodies… with their heads cropped out of the image. Many bookstore owners and managers found this sexist and demeaning. Personally, I don’t mind this because I hate when the cover image doesn’t match the way the characters are described. I prefer to picture them my own way, without the jacket designer’s influence (and art designers know that which is why this is such a common practice.)

Yesterday when I posted all those memoir covers, I noticed that six of them had images of people on them. Only one showed her face, which is an image of the actual author. The rest all cropped out or obscured the face (under a box, behind binoculars) and of those five, three were images of men. So I think perhaps all the alarmists who are so upset about young women’s self-esteem being affected by their heads being cut off perhaps need to realize this is an equal-opportunity art technique. (More books are written both by and for women, so I’m sure there are more covers with women’s heads cut off, but perhaps not so disproportionately as assumed.)

So I thought I’d go on a scavenger hunt for more jacket images with men’s heads cut off. After all, it’s only fair. Funny that with these I have two more covers with people wearing a box on their head.


Kristen said...

Cover trends are so interesting. In one of my old bookclubs we decided that one month people could only nominate books with legs or feet on them as that was the big trend then. I think we ended up with David Davidar's The House of Blue Mangoes as our choice.

Carin said...

I saw your name on Book Blogs (you replied to the "What did you read in 2009?" thread) and had to check out your blog because you are the first person I've seen with the same spelling of name as mine (except for some Swedish golfer)! :)

You have a great blog!

Amy said...

I'm here from Book Blogs too, just like Carin above, and from the same question too!

I never thought about that topic before, but sooo many of my books have the cut off body parts too!

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Love it!

Carin Siegfried said...

Hi Other Carin! Nice to meet you! My name is actually a nickname, short for Caroline (there was a Carrie already on my block). But I like being different. I often see this spelling in movie credits, and it can be nice to identify mail I don't want to open instantly. I hope you enjoy!