Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Look of '09

My 2009 fever is in high gear today, thanks to the undressing—oops, I mean unveiling of this forthcoming cover art!


Kristina Wright said...

Thanks for sharing the cover. I need to get that hotter than summer picture up on my blog! :)

But, seriously, when are they going to put a hunky dude on the cover? Jeremy, you really need to volunteer to correct the gender discrimination.

kristina lloyd said...

Kristina, I couldn't agree more!

I am so tired of seeing covers which completely ignore a readership of straight women. Erotica still seems to be stuck in the 70s, its target being primarily het men. And the argument used to defend this goes round in self-fulfilling circles - straight men are (always have been) the main audience, therefore we must market to them if we're to make any money ... therefore men are (still) the main audience.

I really wish there was an erotica publisher willing to move forward from this.

This is my 2nd Jakubowski anthology and I'm not sure if I'll sub to any more. There are other editors whose anthos I never sub to because their covers offend me. I want to write erotica but I don't want to be part of a system which is still modelled on that old chestnut of men being given a sneaky privileged insight into the 'truth' of female sexuality (see Fanny Hill onwards).

Plus, I want to see some hard dirty muscle.

Sorry Jeremy! I hope I can say all this without pissing on your bonfire. Wonderful, as ever, to share a TOC with you.

Um ... pissing on ... do you have that phrase in the US?

Heidi Champa said...

While the cover is hot, I agree a hot man might just make it even better. Good thinking KW.

Kristina Wright said...

Kristina, I haven't seen demographics on erotica readers, but I'm willing to bet the current numbers skew toward the women these days. After all, there is a reason there are so many "women's erotica" anthologies being published-- not to mention the popularity of erotic romance!

I'd be willing to compromise: give me a sexy couple... or threesome...

Don't mean to hijack your blog post, J! :)

kristina lloyd said...

Kristina, you’re right. Women are increasingly buying (and writing) erotica. They may even be the majority consumers in some areas (though I’m willing to bet a significant number of men are highly interested in ‘women’s anthologies’). So hurrah for the interweb! It allows women to explore and purchase in comfort, and we don’t have to brave the dirty mac section of bookshops anymore.

Similarly, women are increasingly drinking beer, learning how to use powerdrills and riding motorbikes (no, not at the same time!). None of these are ever marketed at women because to do so would be to ‘feminize’ the product and risk putting men off. It seems erotica works on similar lines ie don’t put the blokes off. The only ‘safe’ place for beefcake to appear is on the covers of gay fiction or erotic romance – two areas where straight men don’t stray. Occasionally, a couple will feature on an erotica cover (usually with most space given to the woman) but the default is a sexualised female body.

Women are used to being excluded and ignored, and we’re very good at finding our way to – or creating – the stuff we want, irrespective of the marketeers, the politicians, the subtle forces that keep the dominant ideology as is. If woman are – or are becoming – the lead consumers of erotica then isn’t it time publishers latched on to this? Isn’t it time they risked losing a few fragile male readers in order to reach even more women? Isn’t it time they stopped presenting women as objects of desire and were able to represent a) the objects of *our* desire whose big, grimy muscles we would dearly like to lick and b) women as desiring creatures with sexual agency and autonomy?

In short, more clinches! More het couples on het erotica. That really ought to be the default.

(Again, sorry Jeremy! This is turning into the Kristina and Kristina show. We should name it – Kristinas for Clinches – or something much filthier.)

Craig Sorensen said...

Jeremy, thanks for posting the cover. I clicked the link and was pleased to find that your name was first of the list of stories to be included in the book.

To the Kristina Tag Team, I agree. It is peculiar that the TOCs of most erotica anthos are predominantly women, and yet the covers are clearly meant to appeal to men.

But I don't think that erotica in general is stuck in the seventies. Erotica is much, much more mature now, and that is largely due to the fact that many of the movers and shakers in erotica are women.

Perhaps the covers reflect a seventies ideal, but in defense of Maxim, this is not just true of his anthologies.

It is indeed time to mature the approach to Erotica covers, and the idea of couples is an outstanding one. Erotica is about contact and action; covers should reflect this.

Mathilde Madden said...

What they said. The list of places I don't sub to is so long. I ignore them because they ignore me. I gave a talk recently at the South bank centre and demonstrated the point that mainstream erotica covers ignore straight women by showing the Yes Ma'am and Yes Sir covers. People actually *gasped*.

I suggest to Maxim et al, something more like this

Kristina Wright said...

Mathilde, I LOVE it! :)

Kristina, I completely agree with you. This part particularly struck me:

Women are used to being excluded and ignored, and we’re very good at finding our way to – or creating – the stuff we want, irrespective of the marketeers, the politicians, the subtle forces that keep the dominant ideology as is.

You nailed it. Women learn as girls that they will be excluded and it continues on into adulthood. We find ways around it, but the patriarchy rules. And there will always be plenty of women who believe if you can't beat the patriarchy, you might as well join it-- which makes it that much more of a challenge for the rest of us.

I worked in the children's department of the public library for over four years. One thing I learned very quickly: boys won't read a book with a female protagonist, but girls will gladly embrace a book or series featuring a boy protagonist. Does anyone think Hermione Granger and the Sorcerer's Stone would have attracted the same readership and attention as Harry Potter? Not that a female author can't or shouldn't write children's books about boys, but how many male authors are writing children's books with female protagonists?

Is it any wonder that we grow up to think it's perfectly normal that you can't tell the difference between a lesbian erotica anthology and a heterosexual erotica anthology unless you read the titles? As Craig said, it's not just Maxim's covers. We're inundated with the female form on all kinds of books and magazines.

Poor Jeremy. :)

Mathilde Madden said...

If you enjoyed this debate you might want to know we are continuing it over on Erotica Cover Watch