Erotica Cover Watch: Crossdressing, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Ooh, crossdressing. Don’t mind if I do. Bit of guy-liner does tend to turn my head. This sounds like a great idea for an erotica collection.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon, and I still like the sound of it: From femmes who channel Marlene Dietrich in the sexiest of suits to men who love nothing more than the feel silky panties stretched tight against their skin, these characters boldly indulge their fantasies of being a girl — or a guy — for a night. Drag queens get dolled up for a night on the town, a dyke packs a special surprise beneath her dress, and a devoted husband puts his dress-up skills to the ultimate test in this seductive new collection.
But, it would seem this subject matter was something of a tricky problem in the sexism department at Cleis Press. Crossdressing usually makes me think of a guy looking startlingly masculine whilst surrounded by frills. Your mileage may vary, but essentially I’m thinking the default image is a guy in women’s clothing- just type it into google image search.
But, obviously, we can’t have that on the cover.
A man? On the cover of an erotica book? No freaking way.
Okay, well, how about a woman cross dressed as a man. That can be kind of hot too.
But no say the suits in the sexism department. A woman in men’s clothing sounds far too enjoyable to straight woman – they might squint and manage to mistake it for man candy. How about this? A woman in woman’s underwear. Okay we’ll make it a sort of boyish looking woman – but clearly a woman.
Which is what we get. A woman wearing women’s clothes. It’s not actually crossdressing in any way, but at least there are no men or any men’s clothing on the cover of the book.
And, god, this is an erotica collection about crossdressing and even that panders to the unreconstructed straight male buyer who would piss his pants if he saw a man on the cover of his book. Or even a woman in a pair of men’s undies – which surely wouldn’t turn off lesbian consumers so I think we have pretty hard evidence right here that this bias is for the guys.
I am thinking of making this a regular feature. Erotica book covers where the sheer effort put into the sexism just makes me *headdesk*.