So, on the one hand, I love this - of course I do. Maureen Johnson’s piece is excellent and the flipped book covers are a powerful visual reminder of marketing double standards and of how women are perceived and treated as a “special interests” group.
My only concern is that we’ll become so focused on making things super safe and comfortable for anyone who wants to avoid anything tinged by its association with stereotypical femininity that we’ll end up communicating that these things should indeed be avoided, not only by men but also by any smart and sophisticated women.
As someone was just saying on Twitter, we’re all conditioned to think of anything coded male as gender neutral to begin with. I don’t, by the way, believe for a second that interests, colours, aesthetic sensibilities or whatever are inherently gendered, but we do perceive them as such, and that affects how prestigious they are.
In my dream world, we’d completely dissociate all interest and subject matters from gender, and then we’d re-examine the ones that currently have low status because of their association with femininity and collectively decide that actually they’re not inherently inferior and it’s okay to like them.
I don’t have any solutions, by the way, only questions, and I do love all the conversations around #coverflip I’ve seen in the past 24 hours. But I really hope there’s some way to avoid pigeon-holing women writers without simultaneously reinforcing the notion that we should despise anything overtly coded as “girly”.
Today’s bookshelf porn