Monday, December 30, 2013

No shirtless dudes here

The number two rule* of being a writer is self-promotion. Because of that, many writers (particularly self-pubbed writers) create what are called "teasers." These are advertisements for a book, usually self-made, that are designed to promote interest in said book. A photo or a graphic with text designed to hook potential readers, like a one sheet for a movie.

Now, this is a bit of a generalization, but writers of romance (and novels with a significant romantic subplot) tend to create teasers filled with objectively attractive people. And why wouldn't you? You're selling a fantasy, you might as well go full-throttle.

And yet.

I find it kind of troubling that romance writers in particular have a tendency to load up their Pinterest boards and Facebook pages with photo after photo of ripped shirtless dudes.

Now, I love a nice set of shoulders and abs as much as the next straight girl, but I must say that as a feminist, I find it kind of distasteful that as writers we're apparently pushing the "objectification of women = bad; objectification of men = totes cool" agenda.

You'll never catch me making the (fallacious) argument that men are portrayed as negatively in pop culture and media as women. They are not. By and large, our films, television shows, and books all show men in the active "doer" role, and women in the passive "supporter" position.

But just as it is gross -- and yes, I mean gross -- to write female characters who are just male wish fulfillment, it is also gross to write men who never work out but maintain a magical six-pack. Science, folks. It doesn't work that way.

So friends, countrymen, can we stop with the mini ads filled with rippling pectorals, perfect H&M model hair, and lots and lots of photoshop?


* The first rule is to write, obvi.


  1. I'm with you on this. I do think there is a *slight* difference with women posting shirtless dudes given that the women are in less of a power position in our culture (regardless of any hammy jokes like, "tell that to my wife!"). Does it make it OK? Not really. I think a line exists and for me personally, I prefer not to spam anyone with shirtless dudes on any medium.

    The other thing, is those teaser pics, whatever they are called, often look very home-sewn, if you know what I mean. Is all publicity good publicity?

    1. I totally agree. Sometimes I see a trailer or teaser that looks so unprofessional, I have to wonder how professional the book is. And while I know that isn't fair -- good writers are not especially good PR people -- I think an attention to detail and willingness to invest in quality are things that should be present in all aspects of a product.