Shirtless men, hot men barely dressed flexing muscles… when I see them on book covers I get a small amount of titillation – but also get turned off…
Romance, erotica, and contemporary novels have become inundated with pictures of buff young guys in various states of undress (or completely starkers.) And while I appreciate the male form and get some A-grade eye-candy, or some fun from an occasional oggle. It puts an ironic smile on my face to see them adorn my favourite things.
While sometimes the attractiveness of the cover model will entice me to peek between the covers. (What am I looking for – a naughty look under his clothes? Saucy firsthand knowledge of his lovemaking skills?) Most of the time it’s when I’m browsing online. I’d never pick it up in a book store! That’s way too embarrassing. It might label me as the needy girl who only reads erotica… how dumb is that?
Another aspect to the scantily clad musculature of the male figure decorating literature is the fact that it practically yells “BUY ME!” Like a desperate attempt to get you to reach into your purse and fork over the money. Like you bought the guy all for yourself. There’s a word for that…
So now, after such over-exposed collection of title after title, I get turned off pretty man covers. Maybe I’ve been desensitized?
It’s a little embarrassing, and a lot insulting being barraged by so much skin as a selling point. This objectification is mostly romance, erotica, contemporary and some YA. Ultimately, if the cover art has become the most unimaginative way to market a book. And this girl ain’t buying.
Can’t we find some more artistic photography? Or symbolism? Or Typography? I don’t want to sound like a snob, but this types of cover art feels a bit low-brow and does little to convey the concept of the plot within its pages, other than one of the protagonists (or the love interest) is a hunky guy. I want more than that from my reading material.
I’m not having a rant, rather just observing trends in the market. I’ve seen other covers that are stunning which do not have a parts of the male form, airbrushed, adorning the dustjacket. Usually they depict something intrinsic to the plot, something that makes me pick up the book for a closer look. Books that are character driven and not a collection of scenes of intimate encounters. I like a ‘hot-damn’ moment as much as the next girl, but I want a build up of ambience, some tension, angst, wooing. As well as an interesting storyline.
Naked man covers, while sexy and alluring, don’t scream “intelligent plot and interesting characters” to me. Oh my gosh – am I becoming an elitist! Shoot me now!
What’s your take on overt sexuality on book covers – is it getting too much or can’t you get enough?
It might be great with the objectification of men rather than women for once, and I do enjoy a hottie now and then, but shouldn’t we mix it up?
Food for thought – something to think about when you purchase your next novel – what part does the cover play in adding it to your shopping cart…
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