Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cover Snark: leather - the good, the bad and the unnecessarily sexy

Leather is very useful clothing. It’s tough, it’s hard-wearing, it’s very easily cleaned and it’s even a form of armour. Whether fighting badguys or riding bikes, a lair of leather can help keep your protagonist’s skin whole. So, it’s not surpise that no small number of Urban Fantasy heroines clad themselves in leather. Of course they do it to different levels of well done.  I suppose it all depends upon how much the publisher is depending on the sexay to sell the book.  

Here we have half-fae and private investigator October Daye. She’s tough, capable, crafty and clever. And here she is using leather - keeps her safe, keeps her hidden. It’s a tool, armour that may help her in her very very dangerous profession and situation.

And here we have Jane Yellowrock. Again she uses leather practically - it’s armour, it’s practical when riding a bike - let alone when hunting vampires. It’s very sensible, very practical clothing - and then the boobies escape. The breasts just had to make a showing and suddenly low cut cleavage just had to be included. It specifically does not make sense because when Jane goes vampire hunting in her human body, she makes sure that she is covered from head to toe.  What is the point of making sure that your body is covered only to have breasts hanging out for a vampire to snack on?

And then we have Merit. Sentinel, warrior, soldier, guard and all round dangerous kick arse fighter. In such a role you would expect her to wear the very practical leather so she could defend herself, her friends, her house and generally be part and parcel of being a fighter.

Except skin-tight shiny leather or possibly even vinyl? With bits missing and a plunging neckline. I’d be amazed if she could move comfortably in this, let alone fight - and, of course, it provides minimal protection. That sword she’s carrying? It’s not to fight with -it’s to slice the seams because that’s the only way she’s getting out of that outfit. Naturally when described in the book, Merit was wearing a much more practical two-piece for dress appearances rather than going into battle in a skin tight boob-tube

Naturally, the authors have little control about these covers, but again we’re shown the publishing industry’s demand to fit protagonists in the same over-sexy mold.