Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The dreaded "headless bodice"

Looking at the list of my "book" pet peeves I see that I've left off the biggest one of all, the one that I really hate with all the heat of a thousand white hot suns but which seems to be ubiquitous. It's what I am told is called the "headless bodice," where a picture (photo, illustration, whatever) of (virtually always) a woman is put on the cover of a book but she is only shown up to the chin or maybe just under the nose. It's as if only the outfit matters, not the person, and, while I suspect that there are quite a few different reasons (easier for the artist if it's an illustration, focus on the historical period if the book is set in the past), it just seems to me like a complete objectification, and I don't even consider myself a raging feminist. Not only do I find them offensive, but, while they may once have been different and eye-catching, by now they've been done to death. Not that the publishers probably care, but while I may get them from the library, I refuse to buy them.

Note: Interestingly enough, the portrait on the cover of Jane Boleyn is actually of Jane Seymour, the woman who replaced Jane B.'s sister-in-law Anne Boleyn on the throne. I guess they just wanted a portrait of a woman from the right period and I think they credit it correctly, but that's just weird.


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