Friday, February 8, 2013

Anne of Green Gables: Who Is This New Cover Girl?

I went to bed Wednesday night in a rage.

Well, rage might be exaggerating, but my blood was boiling and it took me longer than 2 minutes to fall asleep (nearly a record). I was offended, shocked, angry, and I was having a hard time putting it into words.  Anne Shirley, my beloved Anne girl, has a new look. Blonde, buxom, and wearing a 21st century "fake farmer" shirt, as my daughter put it.

That's the cover picture for the new publishing of the book, Anne of Green Gables.

Blonde? Hello! She was a redhead! That's a very central part of the book. And she's leaning attractively on a bale of hay, fingers combing through her hair, with a look that says, "Well, hello there!" Boiling, I tell you!

Apparently, I'm not the only one. As of this moment, there are over 350 negative reviews on Amazon for this specific edition and guess what they are upset about? The cover! There are comments ranging from the over-sexualization of girls to the mere fact that this girl on the cover doesn't look anything like Anne Shirley.

And yes, I wrote one! And no, I wasn't subtle.

In fact, I also created a facebook page for people to post their opinion that I could then pass on to the publishers in a form of a link. (AnneShirleyIsNOTBlonde) Kind of like an online suggestion box. Or online army of women. As of right now, there are 17 people who have "liked" the page and 3 comments, not counting my own. Not exactly viral, but at least I felt like I was doing something. (Does that make me a micro-activist?)

While my facebook page was far from highly populated, the buzz about this new cover was definitely heard on the internet! News articles started popping up and, according to one news source, Twitter was all chirpy. The 17 of us were not alone.

And then I couldn't believe my eyes...

After over 350 reviews, suddenly Amazon is "Temporarily out of stock!" Wait-people aren't buying these, are they?

Or maybe the fact that Amazon also took the picture off of their website means that our voices were heard, very loud and quite clear! i can't wait to hear what Amazon says tomorrow!

But in all this mess, I began to wonder, Who is this girl?

The picture is a photograph, not a drawing. This is a picture of a real girl. She'll be reading the comments about how sexy she looks, her bedroom eyes, her come hither look, and her buxom body. She'll read about how this picture looks trashy, about her looking vampy, and she will read review titles like, "It's Anne of Green Gables, not Anne DOES Green Gables." What will she be thinking?

I have to wonder if she'll think, "It's just my Senior picture, people!" because, honestly, it looks like a lot of Senior pictures I've seen.

Will she think, "What? There's not even cleavage. My picture is far less provocative than your Facebook profile picture!"

Will she feel misunderstood? Will she go to school tomorrow and be swarmed with boys? Will the girls give her dirty looks? (Assuming she's under 18.) Or maybe she'll just stay home tomorrow.

Compared to what I see many girls wearing today, she's very modestly dressed. And the way she's leaned against the hay bale, combing her fingers through her hair, and the way she is looking at the camera is hard to quantify. But somehow, when you put this picture in the context of Anne Shirley, it turns sensual.

Turns sensual or, sitting in place of Anne Shirley, does the body language become glaringly obvious that there's a lot more to sex appeal than high heels and low-cut dresses? Perhaps that's the object lesson (no pun intended) we needed to see.

Personally, I think the picture is inappropriate and the publishers are using sex appeal to get people to buy the book, which is peddled to 10 year old girls, no less. I'm really not OK with that. But I have to wonder if this girl will be turning her tears into her pillow tonight, trying to sort out all the mixed messages we send.

No comments:

Post a Comment