Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cover Snark: Oh The Thigh Muscles!

We are introducing a new feature on Fangs for the Fantasy - cover snark. Some of covers on even our most favourite Urban Fantasy books, just beg to be giggled at. We realise authors that don’t necessarily have a lot of power in choosing their covers nor would we judge the content of the book on this basis, unless of course the book has a protagonist of colour but the cover portrays a White person - but we will enjoy a good snark, yes yes we will.

One thing we do see a lot of is similar poses on covers - especially the ridiculous ones that make us giggle.

This one we have to call the “sexy leg cramp”. In theory, these women are aggressive and violent hunters and are ready to leap into action, probably to stake or stab something. Instead I think their legs have gone to sleep trying to hold that pose (and display said legs as much as possible). Their thigh muscles must be killing them and they’ll probably need a hand up to their feet again. Looking at them; it is impossible not to picture a massive cramp that would require hours of massage to alleviate.

These images are feminised versions of what an action image should look like. What the hell would possess someone to get into this position in the first place? I can think of no situation that would require a woman to contort her body in this fashion.  

If that were not enough, these women are often seen wearing ridiculous shoes that it would be difficult to walk in let alone attempt to chase anyone down. The heels themselves are lethal weapons. I wonder if they keep them on as an extra weapon. “Oh look he’s getting away, quick throw the shoe at him.”

Authors go through a lot of effort to sell the idea that their female protagonists are tough, in control and independent women and these covers absolutely undermine that effort.  How the hell can you take these women seriously?  If you doubt the ridiculousness of these images, close your eyes and picture a man posed like that.  Can you for one second picture Harry Dresden, Quincy Morris, Sandman Slim, or Atticus O’Sullivan, crouched near to the ground, legs splayed as wide as possible with heels that they would risk twisting their ankle wearing? Well can you?  

What is the purpose of the leg splay?  They look like they have been impaled on a sharp object. I could give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine that this position is progressive because it challenges the idea that a proper lady always keeps their legs together, but let’s be honest shall we, Urban Fantasy is not known for challenging gender norms.  Nope, these poses are exactly what they look like - you cannot be powerful unless you get your sexay on.