One trend that particularly irks me is white girls in frou-frou dresses:
Granted, one of these books actually has a formal dance as its central plot point but as for the others…
I don’t get it. How in the heck can these characters crush dystopian overlords, navigate social minefields, battle supernatural creatures or come into their witchy/wolfy/vampiric powers buried in four tons of chiffon and lace? It’s as if they think slipping into a poufy gown and staring pensively into space is every girl’s fantasy.
How about this: if the book contains a powerful girl-child on the brink of womanhood show that not some overstyled, princessy glamazon who reflects nothing in the story but everything that publishers, advertisers, producers et al. believe sells products these days: young, white women. That is really the larger issue here.
Publishers are content to keep young adult covers in a Jim Crow state, pandering to the ridiculous notion that no one wants to read or purchase books that don’t have pretty white girls on the covers. My issue isn’t with white protagonists, it’s with misrepresentation, thinly veiled racism and lack of imagination. This ceaseless parade of same-old, same-old imagery has to end. I’m sick of being cover-bamboozled!
I realize very few authors have control over their covers so I can imagine how frustrating it would be to have your publishing dreams come true and get saddled with a fugly cover, one that whitewashes your characters, or even worse, one that looks like everyone else’s. But authors, I beg you to keep fighting for those choices any way you can. Your public opposition, and that of your readers, can make a difference.
There’s a lot at stake here. Besides the insidious perpetuation of antiquated racial myths, people (like me) are actually passing over books due to cover fatigue and potentially missing out on great reads.