Gender Issues: The Dangers of Cover Judging
By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger and senior at Kent Place School
Don’t judge a book by its cover. We’ve heard it a million times, but when it comes to books we often do actually judge them by their covers. According to author Maureen Johnson, cover judging is a grave issue that doesn’t just cause you to miss out on good books with unfortunate covers.
She found that in general, women authors tend to end up (either willingly or not) with particularly feminine covers no matter the topic. A male and female author could write the same book, and just because the cover the book authored by the woman is girly, the book is automatically deemed “lower quality” and an easier read. These girly covers are enough to prevent boys or men from picking them up even if they really are simply excellent books meant for all readers.
To combat this issue of cover sexism, Johnson created a little experiment. Starting with the statement, “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says: ‘Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it – signed, A Guy.’” Johnson asked her 77,000 followers to create Coverflips (a term she coined). The goal was to take classic books, and switch the gender of the cover. At first I was skeptical and didn’t really think a tweak to the cover would make that much of a difference. I was dead wrong. Take a look at some of them for yourself here and see which version you would rather be holding.