Erotica Cover Watch: Gigolo by Golden
Erotica Cover Watch: Gigolo by Golden, pub. Hodder Paperbacks
Watched by Mathilde Madden
Books about hookers. Because nothing reveals more truth about female sexuality than the true confessions of women who do what men want them to do for money. But the political corkscrew of that aside for a moment (I could be here all night but feel free to kick that debate off in the comments if you are in the mood) – what does this all mean for cover watch?
Well here’s what it means. Here’s a book about a male prostitute and the cover is emblazoned with a woman in her pants. Grand. No really, doesn’t that just say it all? Oh there is a man in the picture – he’s there. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Well, no, not really.
I mean, for a start, why does she look more hooker-chic than him? And can I just say, if I were paying a male prostitute, the first thing good about that would be not having to wear dumb shoes to get him interested. And I’m sure that can’t be just me.
And he’s the one who gets to have a head. We’ve talked about the headless woman epidemic on erotica covers before, but it’s never more noticeable than when she only gets to be a body and he gets to be, well, gets to be staring at her ass.
Sorry, what is this book about again?
And just to be clear what the problem is here, I’ve dug up some examples (you probably don’t need them – you’ve probably seen a million of these things) of the kind of covers that books about female prostitutes get. (Or, well, books about prostitutes, seeing as how this is one of the rare places where women are actually the default.)
In fact I’ve added in a few strippers – it’s all the same heaving and samey bookshop shelf.
Strangely when the books are about female hookers, the covers don’t feature a woman smirking at a headless man in his pants. Nope, just lingerie and female flesh will do.
Incidentally, I wrote a Black Lace book once – Mad About the Boy – about a woman getting obsessed with a male prostitute. I’m very fond of it. But, sadly- and ironically in this context – it suffered from cover-of-death with this horror that is not only weird looking, but features two women when there is only one in the novel (and two guys, ‘cause, duh, I wrote it.)
But enough promo, back to Gigolo and why such an obvious discrepancy here with what gets offered up over and over and over on lady-prozzie books.
I think the most obvious reason for Gigolo having a woman on the cover (other than just the usual old sexist shit that a book cannot actually be about sex unless it has a woman on the cover) is that most people might assume that a book about a male prostitute would be about him servicing guys. And, really, who are the people who are going to be put off by a book being about servicing guys? Yep, straight men. So really, it is the same old shit, this woman is there just to reassure straight men that this book will not make them gay.
Yet again sexiness and products about sex have to be feminised for the straight guy appeal even when the book is actually about a man making himself a sexual product.
Oh, erotica publishing.. You guys! You kill me.