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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:58 AM

Striking A Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers)

Striking A Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers)

A while back, we had a discussion on the blog about the cover art for my princess novels. For the most part, I really like these covers, but they’re not perfect.

Now I could talk about the way women are posed in cover art … or I could show you. I opted for the latter, in part because it helped me to understand it better. I expected posing like Danielle to feel a little weird and unnatural. I did not expect immediate, physical pain from trying (rather unsuccessfully) to do the hip thing she’s got going on.

I recruited my wife to take the pictures, which she kindly did with a minimum of laughter.

My sense is that most of these covers are supposed to convey strong, sexy heroines, but these are not poses that suggest strength. You can’t fight from these stances. I could barely even walk.

Guys, you should try it sometime. Get someone who won’t laugh at you too much to try to help you match these poses. The physical challenge is far more enlightening than anything I could say. (Wardrobe changes are optional.)

More here: Striking A Pose

And the follow up where he tries men's poses is here: Posing Like A Man

Posing Like A Man

I’m certainly not the only one to talk about these issues. Tor.com did a post just last week: Hey Everyone - Stop Taking This Picture. As usually happens in these discussions, some people responded with, “What about romance covers?” and “Men are objectified too, you know!”

Well, sure. Men can absolutely be objectified too. But is it the same kind of objectification? Are we contorted into similarly painful, impractical, and improbable positions? Is the posing of men in book covers really equivalent to the posing of women?

There was, of course, only one way to find out…

In Conclusion

1. Men on book covers are indeed posed shirtless in ways that show off their musculature. However…
2. Male poses do not generally emphasize sexuality at the expense of all other considerations.
3. Male poses do emphasize the character’s power and strength in a way many (most?) female cover poses don’t.
4. When posed with a woman, the man will usually be in the dominant, more powerful posture.
5. Male poses do not generally require a visit to the chiropractor afterward.
6. See also ocelott’s post comparing male and female poses. She comes to pretty much the same conclusions as I did.

So are men objectified and sexualized on book covers? Sometimes, sure … but not in the same way, and not, I think, to the same extent. I’ll admit that going through these poses made me feel like I should spend the rest of the day doing push-ups and sit-ups. But overall, to suggest that the posing of men on covers is anywhere near as problematic as the posing of women seems, well, ignorant and wrong.

More at: Posing Like A Man

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Reply Striking A Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers) (Original post)
MadrasT Apr 2012 OP
seabeyond Apr 2012 #1
MadrasT Apr 2012 #2
redqueen Apr 2012 #3
MadrasT Apr 2012 #4
redqueen Apr 2012 #5
CrispyQ Apr 2012 #6
Scout Apr 2012 #7

Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:02 PM

1. i have to get to work, quickly, now.... right now, lol


i read half of this. it looks fun. i will finish reading alter today. thanks

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:05 PM

2. They are fun to read, and enlightening

I've tried to mimic book cover poses myself once in a while, just messing around, and came to the same conclusion.

I loved reading these. He had fun with it and makes a real point at the same time.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:11 PM

3. I love how matter-of-fact he is...

he mentions the far more common excuse making, rationalizing, whataboutery we're all way too entirely familiar with.

So nice to see something to counter that kind of defensive reaction.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:20 PM

4. Love it.

He responds to some more "whataboutery" here:

I did my best to keep up with comments, e-mail, Twitter, etc. I failed. At this point, I figured it would be easier to respond to some of the more frequent comments here, and also share some of the great links people have posted.

Those poses would be easier if you were more flexible/a martial artist/a dancer.

I am not a dancer, but I’ve seen dancers do amazing things with their bodies, and I have no doubt that training would make it easier to match the poses.

That said, I earned a black belt in one martial art when I was younger, and last year received my promotion form for black belt in a second style. I also consider myself fairly flexible. So to the commenter who said the pics are meaningless because obviously an unfit older guy couldn’t do this stuff, I bite my thumb at thee.

Those poses would be easier if you were a woman.

I have no way of testing/verifying this directly, but I suspect there might be some truth here. Some of this might be due to anatomical differences; some is likely due to the fact that males and females are taught/encouraged to stand and move differently. That said, “easier” is not the same as “easy,” and judging from the comments, many (but not all) of the women who tried to mimic the poses found them difficult or unachievable.

Linky to whole post is here: Follow up to the fantasy poses

Edit to add: I love the term "whataboutery" I never heard it before and I am going to adopt it now.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:42 PM

5. It's great isn't it?

It so perfectly captures the spirit of all the whataboutthemen type attempts to dismiss or distract from women's issues.

IMO it should simply not be tolerated in feminist spaces.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:03 PM

6. Bravo to Jim C. HInes!

Both great articles, but the 'Posing Like a Man' was especially excellent with the comparisons of male vs female poses & dress/non-dress.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:19 PM

7. reminds me of some of the comedy of Elayne Boosler

"yes, i always stop to remove my pants and my underwear, before i turn around to lean back into the car to get the CDs off the passenger seat" or similar remark about the ridiculousness of the "men's magazine" images of women.

also the Live, Nude Girls and the whole XXX rating business ... at least the "girls" are Live nude ones, not dead nude ones. and the whole x vs. xxx rating ... what, how much more naked can they get, do they remove their skin too?

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