Monday, January 21, 2013

When Cover Art Gets Personal

Good evening constant reader.

When you browse science fiction and fantasy titles, you most likely notice the cover art portrays women in scantily clad poses or impossible battle armors. They are definitley aimed at attracting the male eye, but may not appeal to women who read science fiction and fantasy.

One fantasy author who has decided to take aim at defeating gender stereotyping is author Jim Hines.
On his blog site, Jim Hines on Livejournal, Jim can be seen straddling the remains of a fallen alien (a table), and is clasping a gun (a toy gun), triumphantly raising a robot's head (a toaster).
Hines is posing in the same ways as some of the female characters are shown on science fiction and fantasy book covers. Covers Hines say objectify women.
Hines says the way women are portrayed is so ludicrous, people are desensitized to it. He thinks his poses published on his Livejournal will make people more aware and realize how silly it all looks when he's doing it...a 38 year old author as opposed to a ravishing female.

Hines started posting his poses in January 2012. They have proved to be so popular, Hines launched a new series in December, raising funds to fight Aicardi syndrome, a genetic disorder that mostly affects girls.
The series has drawn more than 100,000 hits to Hines' website and raised $15,405.

Hines' project is one expression of a growing dialogue about the portrayal of women in science fiction and fantasy cover art.

Another project to heighten awareness where sexism in cover illustration is concerned is the Hawkeye Test.

The Hawkeye Initiative swaps out male and female characters to challenge the portrayal of women in comics.
Started in December 2012, the project has nearly 1,000 submissions from fans.
Most works cast the Avengers character Hawkeye in the same positions as the female character in the original work.
Then the Hawkeye Test is administered.
If Hawkeye can replace the female character without looking silly or stupid, then it's acceptable and probably non-sexist. If [he] can't, then it's a no go.
The Hawkeye Initiative

What will we see in future science fiction fantasy book/comic cover art in regards to the female form?
Only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Tracey! This is absolutely brilliant, and brought a dose of humor to my day :)

    A. R. Hill