Genre Mashups and a Revelation

OK, so maybe "revelation" is a bit of a strong word. More of a "huh" would probably be accurate.

Anyway, I was looking at the Publisher's Weekly blog post that Marcher Lord Press shared, where PW gave a little press to Kerry Nietz's new release Amish Vampires in Space. Now, I'm glad for any press Kerry is getting--it can only help his visibility, and even if people are mocking (which PW wasn't) it generates traffic. Good for him!

The PW article was talking about genre mashups and how authors seem to be unabashedly having fun with them. I can support writing for fun. It's generally what I do. The other three books in the PW article included romance as one of their genres pulled into the mix, and in the midst of my moment of mirth over the ridiculousness of making a character a werecuttlefish (like werewolf, but yes, shapeshifting to a fish) I had that "huh" moment.

The three covers in the article (yeah, you should probably go look at it if you haven't yet) that weren't Kerry's book featured bare-chested men, as is to be expected with romance. But on two of the covers, the models were positioned in such a way as to cut their faces out of the composition. Women whine constantly about being objectified in video and still photography. Um--hello? Not just naked men, but faceless naked men splashed on the covers of the only genre I think a person can write in and make a steady living--how is this not objectifying men? At least women in photography tend to retain their "come hither" smolder, where as guys...no, they're just a set of highly-waxed-and-greased pecs and abs. More and more, it seems the reduction of people to body parts goes both ways.

Thank goodness Kerry's girl in the bonnet gets to be compelling for reasons other than the shedding of clothing. Campy is one thing. Trashy is another. And for the record, I understand Kerry's book is neither. I look forward to a chance to check it out.

Comments

  1. Haha, yeah, I've noticed that about romance covers. I find it slightly frightening that a girl would want to be with a guy who could crush her with his stomach.

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    1. Ha! How embarrassing, to pinch your love interest between flexed ab muscles.

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    2. Have you ever seen the video of the guy with the chiseled ab muscles making them dance to stupid music? I think that turned me off chiseled abs for all time.

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    3. Ack, no! That would have freak-factor, for sure. And the worst part--I bet the stupid music was the kind that sticks in your head. Like the "So many dumb ways to die" song my kids insist on singing. I've never heard it any way but how they sing it, and STILL it sticks in my head.

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  2. I have noticed this double-standard for a while. And it's not limited to romance. I think it's hilarious that women gripe about Black Widow only being in The Avengers to be the bombshell. Um, she wasn't the one in Thor walking around shirtless for no apparent reason. (Not that I'm complaining. I happen to like chiseled abs, although I don't read romance and the covers of romance novels usually just make me laugh.)

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    1. Yeah, Thor with the super low-slung jeans. Captain America after the VitaRays procedure, I'm sure there are more examples. It's no secret geekdom is working hard to grab the female viewer.

      I was actually commenting to my husband recently how strategic the casting (not just the trotting out of naked men) of The Avengers was to pull in female audiences. I mean really. You have the rugged-but-somehow civilized Thor, the bad boy Tony Stark, the clean cut Steve Rogers, the brainy Bruce Banner, and the deadly lone wolf Hawkeye (he has a "person' name too--Clint Barton, but I had to look it up, that's how hollow his writing was)--my point being, they made sure to cast and write "something for every gal." And I thing they were largely successful, even for those of us who won't admit it. Heck, I think there's even a little bit of chick magnet built into Agent Colson.

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    2. How very true! I hadn't thought of it that way--a guy for every girl. And the guys all get just the one :P. (Well, no, I guess they get Pepper...)

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    3. Ha! I find Pepper kind of annoying, to be honest. Apparently Robert Downey Jr had some say in not wanting Tony Stark to be "crazy alone guy," hence her continued inclusion in the Iron Man stories. But true...they certainly didn't work too hard at offering varying personality types in female characters. Some of that probably has to do with the established content of Marvel's universe, I suppose.

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  3. "I find it slightly frightening that a girl would want to be with a guy who could crush her with his stomach."

    Too funny... :)

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