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12 January 2012 @ 01:22 pm
Men's Versus Women's Poses  
And here it is! The very long and image-heavy post nobody asked for, but that's what you get today. But look, it took me forever to put together and hurt my back and I did it all for you, so you should at least humour me and glance over it, right? Right.

As mentioned yesterday, I took some inspiration from Jim C Hines's Striking A Pose blog entry and figured I'd do some experimentation on my own. And hey, while I was at it, why not take things one step further and contrast the female poses with some male poses?

So I wrapped my bad knee and grabbed my husband, some props, and a camera, and we spent the evening doing a rather ridiculous photoshoot. That man has an incredible depth of patience and not only took the photos, but helped me refine my poses to make them a little more accurate. He also made the foam swords I used (although not the lightsaber).

The cat was involved, too, mostly because she wanted to be the centre of attention. Since, y'know, she's a cat.Collapse )
saskatoonauthor on January 13th, 2012 10:32 am (UTC)
Well done, Anna. Brilliant!

I don't know who comes up with the ideas for the cover art because they generally look the same to me. Anyway, between you and Jim C. Hines yesterday, I hope some people from the large publishers have checked out your blogs because what you both did is pretty damned important in my mind.
pingback_botpingback_bot on January 13th, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
Interesting Links for 13-01-2012
User andrewducker referenced to your post from Interesting Links for 13-01-2012 saying: [...] ) Men's Versus Women's Poses (both posed by the same woman, guess which looks better) [...]
QwillQQwill on January 13th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Terrific post! I've always found many of the women MC UF covers irritating because I'd certainly wear clothes with a bare midriff to fight monsters. And I'd add a little 'eviscerate me here' sign just above my belly button in case the monsters needed help!
Anne Lyleannelyle on January 13th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
Awesome post! I have my male MC on the cover of my first novel, and they managed to make him look mean and moody and at the same time really hot:


Totally natural, comfortable pose, of course, since he's a guy.

For book two I've asked for the female PoV character to be on the cover - if my editor agrees, I shall be pointing him and the artist at this post :)
ilya187 on January 13th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
"Let's never mind that in this book, the dude is supposed to be a super skinny drug addict and the chick is the tougher of the two of them."

Reminds me of Michael Whelan's "Elric of Melnibone" covers which make Elric look like a bodybuilder.

For those who do not know what I am talking about: Elric is a sick albino who can barely get out of bed without sorcery and/or drugs. His sword grants him supernatural vitality, but does not make him look any different (in fact, that's a minor plot point a couple times).
Co-Queen of Dorkinessardentdelirium on January 13th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
after looking at this post ans sharing it on FB I came back and was looking at the covers. I looked at The Neon Court and thought to myself "I want to read that, totally based on the book cover" and then continued scrolling. Got to the Mercy Thompson book cover (I adore these books!) and thought "I read these DESPITE the cover." I feel like sending a note to my favorite publishers about it!
(Anonymous) on January 13th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
nice article!
Kudos for putting yourself through all those poses! And you've got some great points about them. On a similar note, what about the clothing women are put in for both book covers and in movies and shows? Here's a hysterical video called "Female Armor Sucks." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTGh0EMmMC8&feature=share
Electric Landladyelectricland on January 13th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
These are fantastic!

Am kind of tempted to try my own experiment and see if being very long-waisted makes any difference to the pain level. (Suspect it won't though.)
Anna_ocelott_ on January 13th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
If you feel ambitious enough to try it out, please do share!
(no subject) - mizkit on January 13th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Angela Benedetti: PenguinCymbals -- orsm.netangelabenedetti on January 13th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
Great pics. :)

What I've heard from people farther inside the industry than I am (I've never worked with a NY publisher) the buyers who acquire books for the distributors, the bookstores and other retail chains and decide how many of each to buy for their employer are mostly men, and the sexay-sexay-female covers are to impress them. :/

Anna_ocelott_ on January 13th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
That does make a certain sort of sense, although it doesn't say anything good about book culture or our society.
(no subject) - angelabenedetti on January 13th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Bettybrown_betty on January 13th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
I admire your commitment to SCIENCE, and am very sad that that photobucket carcked, and I could only enjoy some of them.
Anna: nooooo_ocelott_ on January 13th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
My apologies! I had no idea this post would be so popular. Pictures are back up now!
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on January 13th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Re: At Grave's End
What jumped out at me about that cover is that it looks like someone else's leg sticking out of her back. Note that in your pose, the upright leg is tilted forward just a bit, and the knee is noticeably lower than your shoulder. On the cover, the leg is absolutely vertical, the angle you'd get if she were lying flat on her back, and the knee is higher than her shoulder. That's beyond simple sexist posing and getting into Rob-Liefeld-bad-anatomy territory.
Anna_ocelott_ on January 13th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: At Grave's End
The husband actually commented that my version of that pose looked more natural than the original, and I think you're right, I think it's the angle of the leg that makes the difference there. (Well, that and the fact that I haven't been photoshopped to death.) I suspect she might be wearing a slightly higher heel than I am, but it's most definitely not a natural pose no matter how you I to justify it. I would not be surprised if they used a model for the basis but pieced her together from several different shots; that might account for the odd leg position.
(Deleted comment)
Anna_ocelott_ on January 13th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Science must march on, back cramps or no back cramps!
Shannonaurillia on January 13th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
So much fun, Anna! And so well done, what a perfect way to highlight just how non-kick-arse the women's poses really are. I think the cover of Moon Called really spells that out - like you said: a pin-up. We really haven't changed, have we?
pingback_botpingback_bot on January 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
Computers, magical girls and anarchy
User alias_sqbr referenced to your post from Computers, magical girls and anarchy saying: [...] really aimed at people with CS majors, but what I saw looked like fun. Men's Versus Women's Poses [...]
Rachelstarbeam1 on January 14th, 2012 02:29 am (UTC)
I'm actually curious now to look up the different artists to see if there's any variation in other works that they've done. I know Chris McGrath-artist for the Dresden Files, Alloy of Law, Street Magic-is very consistent in his work, and for the most part, he uses natural poses. One thing interesting-he has one illustration of a male doing a pose similar to At Grave's End, though it's not as awkward and more natural. And Daniel Dos Santos, who does the Mercy Thompson covers, doesn't tend to do a lot of unnatural poses, either. Although there are a few on his gallery that don't look quite right.

*Side note not related but interesting to Dresden fans-if you ever wanted to know what Harry looks like without the hat, just look at the Alloy of Law cover-Chris used the same model for both. And going through his gallery, it looks like he often uses the same models.
Anna_ocelott_ on January 14th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
I'm a bit of a McGrath fangirl myself, and I'll admit to having picked up more than one novel almost entirely because of his artwork. It helps that he's better than most about leaving clothes on the women and yes, depicting them in positions that are humanly possible.