A while back I posted a response to author Jim C. Hines highlighting the ridiculous poses female characters have on book covers. Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so Hines is back, posing like a man.
As you can see from many of the poses, the male characters aren’t contorted as much as the men. It is interesting to see the comparison though. Female characters are usually (almost uniformly) twisted to highlight their chest and rear. As I said in my last post, this would seem to attract male readers, but I would think female readers would also love more female protagonists–yet these poses display sexuality, not strength. The male characters, on the other hand, do tend to take different poses depending on target audience. Headless and shirtless (or in a fine suit) to attract female readers–it could be any handsome man, just like the man of my dreams–and strong and aggressive to attract male readers who wish to see themselves as strong and capable. Nevertheless, regardless of how the male character poses, the female characters are usually posed in a submission fashion, just as Hines points out. I guess this could lead us into a whole big discussion of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, but I think I’ll quick while I’m ahead.
Take a look at what Hines has to say. Then roam around your nearest bookstore. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. And maybe wonder what marketing experts and jacket designers think about their readers.