Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tasteless Article

There is a new article up over at BookSpot Central that examines the ‘best looking women on fantasy and science fiction book covers’. I am literally at a loss of words to describe how tasteless and offensive I find this article. Doesn’t the world exploit women enough without this kind of help? Shame on BookSpot Central.

Disclosure: I am an Associate Reviewer at BookSpot Central and I know the author of this article in that capacity. We’ve had countless exchanges over about 3 years now and I generally like him.

Update: BookSpot Central has pulled the article in question.

19 comments:

Jen said...

I'm a woman and I don't mind, it's just harmless fun. I don't like the choices, though, most of them are unimpressive or downright ugly covers, and the women don't look good enough to save them.

Anonymous said...

[quote]I am literally at a loss of words to describe how tasteless and offensive I find this article. Doesn’t the world exploit women enough without this kind of help?[/quote]

Oh, come on...

Nothing really newsworthy today?

That is neither tasteless nor offensive if you ask me. Some people really got to much time on their hands...

Ask the autor to do a "best looking man...." article too.
With so many vampire books around, that may be a sure hit! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks helping me feel better about it Jen. I just want to let you know I ran it by not only my wife but also a few of the authors on the actual list and some authors not on the list, all females before I decided to ahead with the article. Also neth I sent you a PM, my bad on that, accept my apologies.

Damon

Ryan said...

Oh, come on. Holy hell. There really wasn't anything else to get on a soapbox over? Never looked at a pretty lady? I mean, it's not as if he drew or painted the covers he just scoured the Internet and put them up. They're already out there in the public domain.
I'm pretty offensive myself however and am quite literally at a loss for words to describe how tasteless I find the fact that you put out a best of list from the thousands of books out there.
Don't authors get exploited enough?
Also, who are you to put up a picture of a woman (vin) in a dress/mistcloak? Very offensive. Or a picture of an (cover your eyes) Octopuss--wow, even if it's under the code name Cthulu.
How about a book with the word Hell, as in Escape from Hell-tasteless. Or a post You Suck-oh, my god I can hardly breathe. Along with a half dressed lady on, you guessed it, a cover, of Engine's Child.
That's just a quick perusal of your last four or five posts. Course that's how it usually is with all the holier than thou types. Don't look at this or that. Whilst, at the same time they're doing it under cover of the sheets.
LOL, I guess what I'm trying to say is to each their own. Keep up the good work. :)

Larry said...

Sounds as though you got a couple of blowhards commenting here, Ken ;) I noticed something else about those illustrations that is much more insidious than what you reacted to. Might just blog about it now and be cryptic until then and all that :P

SQT said...

Aren't guys supposed to be attracted to actual flesh and blood women? Discussing the attractiveness of a picture is kind of like panting after Jessica Rabbit. **Shrug** I'm a girl though, so maybe I'm just not getting it. Or I'm too literal.

Neth said...

I certainly expected at least some reaction - but I'm a bit surprised that my opinion is so lonely at the moment. My first reaction was 'I can't believe someone actually thought this article was a good idea' - for several reason.

I'm not surprised by the 'didn't really bother me reaction' - I suspect that's how most people would see this.

-Anon

Well, our opinions on the matter obviously differ. But I do think that I'd be a lot less 'offended' if there was a companion article about best looking males on covers by Damon.

-Damon

No worries, I may resubmit it. But, I'd suggest that sensorship of comments should be a last resort for things that really don't belong rather than used against a dissenting opinions.

-Ryan

Your argument is completely flawed. Sure I post the book covers, but I'm not endorsing them - that's accepting the reality of book covers. If you had bothered to look further, you would have found that I've written quite a bit about my opinions regarding SFF book covers in the past, and I believe this rant was consistent with those writings. I haven't written about cover art in a while because I grew tired of it.

-Larry

You're observations are interesting. I think that mostly you noticed a trend in Damon's tastes. But there is definately a monochromatic trend to how these books seem to be marketed.

pabba said...

You're not alone in all of this.

The "article" is quite ridiculous, but then again, coming from where it came, it is not too surprising. A shame, sure, but that is to be expected when women are objectified as such. I'm sure others didn't even get a chance whether or not to say it was a good idea.

Neth said...

Paul, from your reaction, it's clear you read more than I did. I couldn't get past the first couple of paragraphs. It may be an even worse article than I originally thought.

SQT said...

Wow, just from reading Pabba's post it's clear that the post was a little more offensive than I originally thought. I just kind of glanced at it and thought oh, a bunch of guys who don't have girlfriends...(I'm probably wrong, but that's the impression that kind of stuff gives) and didn't really think beyond that. But the whole MILF thing... Yeah, kind of offensive. And no, I'm not jealous (as that's sure to be the accusation since I do find that offensive) I'm at least as good looking as most of those pretend women thankyouverymuch. ;)

Anonymous said...

"I just kind of glanced at it and thought oh, a bunch of guys who don't have girlfriends...(I'm probably wrong, but that's the impression that kind of stuff gives)"

Let's not fight tackiness with more tackiness. Just because a guy is single doesn't mean he's the type of caricatured dork who hopelessly drools over imaginary women on the internet or elsewhere.

- Zach

SQT said...

Let's not fight tackiness with more tackiness. Just because a guy is single doesn't mean he's the type of caricatured dork who hopelessly drools over imaginary women on the internet or elsewhere.

Ah, I knew I was going to get that reaction. The point I was trying to make is that when someone (like myself) likes sci-fi or fantasy we're characterized as Trekkies or some sort of antisocial type that has a Dungeons & Dragons set lurking in our closet. Posts that show guys drooling over drawings of women only reinforce the image of the guy who's so socially awkward that they can't get a girl. I know it's not true since most of the guys who have the blogs I read are married or have significant others. That's why I qualified the statement with I'm probably wrong.... I wasn't trying to be tacky, and certainly didn't want to insult single men out there. I was just commenting on the initial impression.

Anonymous said...

"I wasn't trying to be tacky, and certainly didn't want to insult single men out there. I was just commenting on the initial impression."

I wasn't deeply offended or anything. Just a little annoyed at the perceived insinuation that not being involved in a relationship might be the key factor why someone would write a book hottie article. To me that's kind of like saying that the formalizing of a relationship officially triggers a person's "normal" or "healthy" switch, when in reality plenty of married people are guilty of objectifying women or men or anyone.

And to clarify, I'm not suggesting that the author of the BookSpot article is some kind of woman hater. At worst, I'd probably stick to my original assessment of calling the article tacky, and not something I'd care to read on a book review site.

- Zach

SQT said...

Zach

You were right to point out my mistake. I was trying to make one point and carelessly lumped another group into the mix without really thinking about it.

I wasn't overly offended by their post but tacky is a good word for it.

Joe Sherry said...

I'm with you on it, Ken. I didn't really read the article, just scanned through, saw it was nothing I wanted to read and nothing I wanted to look at, and clicked back over to something else.

I don't think I'm exactly offended, but it seems to be worth more of an eye roll, too.

It's the sort of post you'd expect at the SFF version of Maxim, but it's nothing I'm interested in discussing or be associated with (beyond my stated disapproval / disinterest of this comment)

Ryan said...

There was an article along with the pictures? :)
Neth -- I checked out your other opinions on SFF book covers and I stand corrected. Lots of thought. My bad.
For myself, I don't see anything wrong with that sort of thing and think we make way too many stands on things that IMHO don't really need to be well, stood on, though.

Neth said...

No worries Ryan, opinions vary.


On a side-note. The article in question over at BSC was pulled.

ThRiNiDiR said...

I've only read your response Neth (the article itself was removed by the time I fired up my Google Reader and went through my daily/weekly routine) and I must say I saw it as an overreaction (to a point ofc). I read some of the following commentaries and I'm glad that a lot of people didn't see it the same way as u did.

Don't get me wrong - I'm as much a feminist as a male can be - but I firmly believe that looking at pretty women or putting them on covers doesn't mean anything bad on itself. Ideologically we could talk about male chauvinism, sexism, objectification of women bodies etc.,...but some of the feminist arguments go too far - in my opinion - just to prove their point.

As I've said, the topic of the article doesn't bother me and I agree with Jen's comment:

"I'm a woman and I don't mind, it's just harmless fun. "

Now, as I read later, the post itself is/was offensive to women,but I can't judge because I haven't read it (I believe it though).

I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say here; only that I don't mind books being judged by their covers (as long as everything remains 'in bounds' (if this term even applies here)). Men love women, women love women, some men love men, and the women love men...nothing shameful or degrading about that (or linking each others bodies). From the same perspective; some (most of them actually) urban fantasy/vampire/erotic novels have more tactless covers, than the idea of judging them are (you don't see half naked women on sff covers - not anymore at least - because that would be sexism, but half naked men; but half naked men showing their torsos?...they are on more than every second cover. I don't mind it, let women have their fantasies and let us men have ours. Sex sells, and it always will, I hope.

I hope I'm not turning out a dick here...it's hard to talk about this things in comments; I just hope my message comes through as I meant it not as some jackassery :)

Neth said...

-thrindir

Perhaps there are some cultural differences, but I think that the fact that the article was pulled is enough to say that it crossed a line.

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