Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Attack of the headless women

Thanks to one of the blogs I'm following, I now have a name for why the Gossip Girl covers bother me so much. It's called headless women fatigue syndrome (HWFS). What is it with these covers? Why are the heads left out? If it's an actual photograph, are the female models ashamed to be associated with these books?

The headless woman is currently the trend in the covers of "serious" chick lit and historical romance novels. This trend is a paradox if not downright hilarious. If these novels were indeed serious, why cut the anatomical part that houses the brain? Perhaps there's an artistic school of thought regarding the non-use of heads in covers that I know nothing about.

I scoured some of my books for these headless women, and, apart from my precious collection of GG books, I wasn't able to find any. I did notice one amusing thing though. In gay-themed books, the predominant human image is, of course, the male head. Are gay-themed books more unconsciously cerebral? It depends. I noticed that when the covers are showing the man's head without much of the facial details, the more "intelligent" the books are.

Gay erotic books show you everything -- the impossibly handsome face, the ridiculously toned torso, the seemingly pregnant biceps. I believe this also applies to erotic fiction of the straight variety, with a different visual element of course. This is in your crotch face marketing. Gay campy novels, on the other hand, usually just show the face up close.

There is one way to counteract HWFS. Get the cover showing the movie poster. A good example is the cover of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. Revising the cover from the obligatory HW to the indulgent movie poster is a brilliant marketing ploy if you ask me. Women and gay guys buy it because of Eric Bana, straight guys because of Scarlett Johansson, and geeks can get a high seeing Princess Amydala.


test said...

you had me laughing my ass off! ;P