Thursday, March 4th, 2010 • 5 Comments
Kristina Lloyd and Mathilde Madden, the visionaries behind Erotica Cover Watch (and talented authors, both) are closing up shop on their controversial, eye-opening website devoted to calling attention to the sexism on book covers. It’s been eighteen months (!!) since they first turned a critical eye to the practice of adorning erotic novels and anthologies with women (or women’s body parts). What’s wrong with that, you ask? Ah, then you haven’t been following the conversation. Go back to the beginning and read on for a very enlightening, and often controversial, discussion on book covers, sexism and sexuality.
The conversation originally started on Jeremy Edwards’ blog when he featured a forthcoming book cover and I posted this innocent comment:
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.
I am proud to say it was my little comment that triggered a long discussion on Jeremy’s blog. (Jeremy, ever the gracious host, let us rant in his comments. No word yet on whether he’ll be a cover model on future books, though.) Kristina responded to my comment:
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.
From there, the comments starting flying over the course of two different blog posts (poor Jeremy) and then the conversation morphed into an amazing, provocative website that criticized sexist book covers and short-sighted publishers and honored the male form in all its naked glory. (Known as Man Candy Monday!)
These two awesome women tackled a difficult subject head on, opening eyes and pushing buttons (and burning a bridge or two in the process), all in the name of equality. They asked us to think, to question, to get angry (with them, not at them). Did their blog do any good? Absolutely! Because of Kristina and Mathilde and their battle cry against sexism, XCite Books has started featuring the male body on a number of their erotica titles. (And I’m delighted to have a story in Temptations 1!)
Contemplate that for a moment. Because of Kristina and Mathilde and Erotica Cover Watch, there are book covers that go against the industry norm. Wow. I mean… just… wow. And that’s not all they accomplished in the past year and a half. I encourage you to pop over to read Kristina’s summary of their work (and take a look at those hot new covers!).
I’m thrilled that I was there at the beginning of their campaign and I’m honored that I am included in their farewell post, along with the cover of Fairy Tale Lust. I will admit, my first thought when I saw my first book cover for Cleis Press was, “I love it!” My second thought was, “Kristina Lloyd will be pleased!”
I wish Kristina and Mathilde all the best. They deserve kudos for devoting a chunk of their time and creative energy to Erotica Cover Watch. In lieu of flowers (which they have certainly earned), I offer them some farewell man candy: