Last week at work, I posted a nice little behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of some of our book covers, along with our lineup of fall books.
One woman on Facebook shared it with her friends, which you’d think would be great.
Except this was the caption she put on it: ““If only I were as beautiful as the women on covers of Christian novels. Perfect skin. Perfect eye brows. Perfect shape. Beautiful clothes. What is the perfect outside of the women on the covers saying to the women who buy these books?”
Now, when something like this happens you can either A. ignore it or B. launch an ethical investigation.
(If you didn’t instantly know which option I chose, we need to be better friends. Because it matters, guys. What you believe about stuff—the whys and what ifs and rights and wrongs of daily life—they are significant.)
Is Bethany House doing a terrible thing by portraying attractive people on our covers? My instinct was “no,” but I wasn’t sure why. After all, the issue didn’t seem that different from Barbie dolls and fashion magazines that have chipped away at women’s sense of self-worth and beauty.
Recently, I was reading a book where, after citing an unofficial survey that found that only 10% of women on Christian book covers came close to being average, the author said, “Glaringly obvious is that Christian culture…has chosen to present some of the same values as secular culture with just a little alteration. For sure, youth and looks matter, at least by implication. And they seem at times to matter more than what is in the heart and soul.”
So, are Christian novel covers undoing all the hard work we do to teach young girls about inward beauty and such? (more…)