Book Covers: A Symptom of Sexism

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For Lit Hub, book designer Jennifer Heuer reflects on sexism in publishing and analyzes “chick-lit” book covers that rely on gender stereotypes to target female readers:

The bigger discussion is the genre itself: light-weight novels aimed at a female audience is a symptom of sexism in publishing. Whether high or lowbrow, the marketing of many female authors ends up with commercial, chick-lit style covers. Emily Harnett’s Atlantic article cuts to this point and centers on the acclaimed Italian author Elena Ferrante’s despised book covers. But within the genre, I want to look at why these covers are primarily created by women designers.


Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →