Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Coverflip
May 6, 2013 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Coverflip is a one day Twitter project created by author Maureen Johnson. There are only three rules: 1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. 3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (29 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The actual book covers are hard to find in all the hashtag cruft, but I found and enjoy this version of The Corrections.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:45 PM on May 6, 2013


My favorite so far is The Hobbit.
posted by bearwife at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2013


Now, as a mental exercise, imagine I’m Maurice Johnson. The book has the same exact topic. Does the cover look like this?

You get the point, I think.


I don't get the point. Why would the cover be different? The book is still about three sisters, and the target audience is still girls.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:48 PM on May 6, 2013


I'm finding the FTM covers (so to speak) more interesting than the MTF ones — I think because the "let's take this boyzone thing and treat it like the media treats women" thing has already gotten some play, whereas the reverse hasn't so much.

This one is such a spot-on parody of the Serious Dude Book (Sold In Airports) style of cover art that I actually fucking laughed out loud.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:49 PM on May 6, 2013


and the target audience is still girls.

Not necessarily, and that's the point.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:49 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I call it headless girl in fancy dress holding plot-relevant object."
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2013


Not necessarily, and that's the point.

But the text of the book is the same. Please don't say "that's the point" again. I really don't understand.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:53 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh god, and To the lighthouse as a long-lost Jack London novella!

But the text of the book is the same. Please don't say "that's the point" again. I really don't understand.

So, yes: Because the text, characters and target audience don't depend on whether the author's driver's license says M or F, you might expect publishers to ignore that fact when they make their marketing decisions. But in fact, here in the real world, publishers don't always ignore that fact. Books with women authors are, on the whole, marketed differently than books with male authors. This is a thing that annoys the hell out of a lot of authors and readers, and so they're making fun of it here.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


One thing I've noticed that I find interesting is that almost all contemporary literary fiction below the rungs of Superstar Novelist, whether written by men or women, tends to feature cover art distinctly hewn towards someone's idea of a feminine design aesthetic.
posted by threeants at 2:45 PM on May 6, 2013


I think her point was that the cover seems like a pretty lousy representation of the book -- a novel about a young woman who is grieving her father's death and trying to hold her family together? Sounds like serious stuff. Yet apparently the people designing the cover thought, "Okay, let's make it pink with cute designs and stick a sexy girl on there."

You wouldn't look at that cover and think it's about grief and family.

So why did they do that? To appeal to teenage girls, I suppose. (Even though you'd think anyone can relate to those topics.) Part of that image is a female author's name on the cover. The complete package signals to potential readers that it's a chick book.

Would they design the *exact same cover* but with the name "Mark Johnson" prominently displayed? Who can say... But I can't imangine that a male author's name on a book with a sexy lady on the cover would send the same message to the teenage girls looking for a light read. Or that the target audience would even still be solely teenage girls. Maybe the publisher would decide that boys can relate to grief, too, even if the protagonist is a girl. After all, a man wrote the book.

I would imangine that version of the book getting a more pensive/'serious' YA cover.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:56 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


a novel about a young woman who is grieving her father's death and trying to hold her family together? Sounds like serious stuff.

When this was written by a guy, with a guy as the protagonist - and to be fair, it was marketed as a memoir, sort of - well, the cover of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was a little different. It would have been extremely strange for it to have a cover with a half-headless young man showing a strip of skin between shirt and pants.
posted by rtha at 3:20 PM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


threeants, seriously, that's because as a rule (outside of academia), men don't read fiction.
posted by dhartung at 3:37 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dibs on Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
posted by rodii at 4:01 PM on May 6, 2013


Maybe something like this? Just gotta photoshop in "Hedwig Wittgenstein."
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 4:14 PM on May 6, 2013


I made one for Sabriel. Here's the original cover.
posted by NoraReed at 4:16 PM on May 6, 2013


Jurrasic Park: not much of a change.
posted by BeeDo at 5:42 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get the point. Why would the cover be different?

Sarah Dessen writes literary YA fiction about grief, loss and love; her market is ideally teen girls and her covers all feature pastels, cutesy girls in adorable romantic poses. John Green (whose market is ideally teenaged girls) writes books about grief, loss and healing. His covers feature elegant, typographic design that resemble the covers of adult literary novels.

These are authors at approximately the same level of fame and success, who write similar content with, in my opinion, the same level of skill. But Dessen's books are continually covered with light, fluffy covers that bely the actual content. I actually avoided her books for a long time because the covers led me to believe they would be light romances. They couldn't be further from that.

But fairly universally, women end up with pink, fluffy covers regardless of content, and men end up with bold, elegant covers, regardless of content. I won't make any conclusions. But I will say I'm glad Maureen did #coverflip and I hope that the publishers are paying attention.
posted by headspace at 6:40 PM on May 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I tried one for Lord of the Flies.
posted by chococat at 6:57 PM on May 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


God, chococat, I laughed so hard I nearly did myself an injury.

(Note to self: do not click an unknown link when you have just taken a mouthful of food. You should know better by now, n00b.)
posted by rtha at 7:15 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ha! Sorry.
posted by chococat at 7:23 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Totally worth it!
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on May 6, 2013


Wow, I guess this is an incredibly efficient dog whistle for some people because for the life of me I cannot see the point on why this is relevant or funny. Do you really believe Lord of the Flies would have a girlie cover treatment if it were written by a woman?
posted by gertzedek at 5:14 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally, no it probably wouldn't. It's not as if there are no books by women with serious/interesting covers or books by men with goofy covers that don't seem to have anything to do with the story inside.

But it's hilarious to think about how covers could be treated. Do you really not find any of these at all funny? I mean, chococat's Lord of the Flies!

To each their own, I guess.
posted by rtha at 5:46 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not every book by a woman gets the Woman Cover treatment and not every book by a man gets a Serious Masculine Cover, and maybe the specific books being used here wouldn't. But it's still an ongoing actually-in-existence cultural thing that happens even if it's not Literally Every Single Book Every Time, and this is playing with it both to show that it is a thing and to exaggerate the thing for hopefully humorous purposes. You can think it's not funny but "this one specific book wouldn't have that happen to it!" isn't really a counter to any argument that's being put forth.
posted by titus n. owl at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do you really believe Lord of the Flies would have a girlie cover treatment if it were written by a woman?

Well, no, but that was sort of the point. These kind of dopey-ass covers are everywhere, and as with most satire, you pick an extreme example and go "what if…" thereby illustrating the ridiculousness of something.
I thought it was sort of telling that when I was trying to describe my idea to my wife (who's hands are in the picture, holding the only pig-related item I could find in the house) she laughed and knew right away, and ran and found a perfect old sheet with embroidered flowers on it to wrap around herself; knew exactly how to hold her hands, etc. And when I was on the couch with my laptop, picking the font style and colour, my 13 and 15 year daughters where like, "that's PERFECT." This shit is totally pervasive.

For a counter-example, my aforementioned daughters and a lot of their friends have read all of John Green's books, and from what I've seen his covers don't stoop to this sort of thing, despite the fact that his audience contains an abundance of female teens. And Katherines, apparently.
posted by chococat at 7:20 AM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


(But John Green is male, so yeah…I don't know if that makes any kind of point or not. Nevermind.)
posted by chococat at 7:36 AM on May 7, 2013


Her hands are perfect, chococat. I hate that pose so much. So very very much.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:04 AM on May 7, 2013


For flipping through, I'm finding the tumblr tag easier to use than the twitter hashtag.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2013


Hey, I made the HuffPo.
posted by chococat at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


« Older Her encampment is 'an old patio umbrella draped in...  |  In his retirement speech, Dona... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments