Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cover Snark: Disembodied Women

Urban fantasy is one of the few genres in which not only are the authors largely women but the protagonist are as well. In many cases it is clear that the authors try to frame their characters as strong and empowered women and this why the disembodied women that is oft featured on the covers totally conflicts with the text that they are meant to describe.  Disembodied women is a method of dehumanizing women specifically encouraging society view women as a collection of parts, which are often sexualised rather than as whole beings. These images only show enough to titillate and suggest that all that is important about these women are their bodies. It is yet another example of irony that these covers were created specifically to attract the male lens when the readers of these series are largely women. 

 Neither of these images allow us to engage with the characters presented - this is Genevieve Snow, the deadly assassin?  This is Kira, the Shadow Chaser, warrior for the light? Because I don’t see them - I see bodies.

But why settle for something as simple as cutting off the eyes and face of a woman? We can reduce them much more than that! There’s still so much to humanise there - far simpler to just go for just a body part - a back for example. Or a set of artfully posed legs.

These bodies are reduced so much to objects that they’re not even bodies any more - they’re pieces, almost like a disembodied corpse or mannequin. And when I think of the characters in this book - strong, fierce Elena and rebellious, independent Paige, it’s even more ridiculous to see them reduced to a bare back and a set of legs. This is pretty much the antithesis of what these characters are - but there they are - body parts.

Looking at these characters you would think that they save the day by showing a little leg and lots of tits and ass.  It’s like their weapons are there for decoration.  Why did any them learn to fight at all when all they had to do was get some breast and butt implants. cannot defeat the booty.