Yesterday author Maureen Johnson, fed up with sexist responses to the perceived gender appeal of her books covers, issued a challenge to her followers. She writes:
You are informed about a book’s perceived quality through a number of ways. Probably the biggest is the cover….
And the simple fact of the matter is, if you are a female author, you are much more likely to get the package that suggests the book is of a lower perceived quality. Because it’s “girly,” which is somehow inherently different and easier on the palate. A man and a woman can write books about the same subject matter, at the same level of quality, and that woman is simple more likely to get the soft-sell cover with the warm glow and the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off of it.
Thus Coverflip was born. The idea is that you take a well-known book, then re-imagine the book “reclassified as by and for women”. The contest rules were pretty loose, but I take this to mean a number of multi-gender alternative scenarios: imagining the author of the book is of a different gender than they are, or is genderqueer, or imagining that a book’s marketing strategy would be targeted to a different gender. Whatever floats your boat. Perhaps the flexibility is part of the reason Maureen says she received hundreds of replies within 24 hours. I love Hannah’s interpretation of J. Kerouac’s On The Road, pictured, above, but HuffPo has a full slideshow of responses to the contest along with an interview with Maureen. Check it out!