Different strokes and all that

The Thrill of the Chaste, Chinese edition

Dawn Eden’s book The Thrill of the Chaste has now been published in Chinese, and it might be instructive to compare the cover art, above, with the cover of the English-language version, which you can see here. Now there’s nothing unusual about changing cover art for specific markets, but this particular example, at first glance, might seem a little sexier than the book’s premise might suggest. (The Spanish-language version, on the other hand, uses the original cover.)

Dawn herself, however, thinks it’s okay:

I do like the chic, Mod stylings of the cover model. The angle is provocative, to be sure, but the opaque tights and medium-height heels (as opposed to stilettos) make it modest by Sex and the City standards. Ultimately, it looks like what is being sold is not so much sex as mystery. It’s perfect for enticing young hipsters to pick up a book that invites them to rethink their idea of what a love relationship should look like.

Given her own previous history as a Mod-come-lately, I had to look at that photo two or three times (at least) to be sure Dawn herself hadn’t posed for that cover. Then again, if she had, I’m reasonably certain she would have said so.

And besides, it’s not like anyone’s asking you to dress like an extra from Little House on the Prairie or anything.

Disclosure: This item is referenced in said book.


  1. Tatyana »

    3 August 2008 · 9:25 am

    Oh I sure hope it’s not Dawn on the picture. The model’s short legs are made even shorter (and plumper) by the ugly black hose; the shoe doesn’t fit the arch of the left foot; the “negative” (to classic: black shoes/black skirt) color scheme testify to its owner sadly pedestrian fashion sense.

    Whatever this cover sells doesn’t look attractive.

    Which I’m sure is not the goal of the author and the publishers.

  2. CGHill »

    3 August 2008 · 9:55 am

    Well, the height is about right, but the gait is all wrong, so I’m quite sure it’s not her.

    I did actually like the outfit, though that ill-fitting shoe is rather blatant, and there’s always the question of how much digital alteration is in play.

  3. Dawn Eden »

    3 August 2008 · 1:24 pm

    The model’s short legs are made even shorter (and plumper) by the ugly black hose

    Tatyana, assuming you are a woman, as your commenting name suggests, I would invite you to think about how your words reinforce a culture that encourages women to be fearful of and competitive with other women–and to hate their own bodies. The statement that women dress more for other women than for men is true. When they do, it is often because they fear being judged by other women for being unfashionable or “pedestrian.”

    My legs make the Chinese cover gal look like Twiggy. To apply the word “plump” to the model implies that women are somehow bound to follow an outside standard of beauty that, even if it were legitimate (and I don’t believe any such standards are), would exclude the overwhelming majority of women.

    Granted, as our blogmaster notes, different strokes and all that. Your “plump” may well be my “thin,” and that’s OK. I am not asking you to refrain from holding public views, only to think about how publicly disparaging others’ bodies–particularly other women’s–may reinforce a culture of self-hatred and fear of being judged. That can impede our sisterhood, be it sisterhood in Christ or in the secular feminist sense.

  4. Fetiche Nouvelle »

    3 August 2008 · 3:36 pm

    I do not approve of those shoes!

  5. Tatyana »

    3 August 2008 · 4:22 pm

    Dawn, thank you for your invitation. I have resolved these issues with myself long, very long time ago – at about, roughly, the time I was in 9th grade.

    Women, as well as men, most assuredly, are being judged by others of both sexes – and that’s a given for anybody who lives in society. Here and now, black stockings on short legs, paired with white skirt (that, accidentally, reveals less than perfectly shaped knees and the fact that the stocking on the right foot is not pulled tight – I forgot to mention it in my original comment) signify not only poor taste, but poor self-judgement. I’m sure, a member of, say, rural Polynesian tribe would find our custom of NOT tatooing and piercing our entire bodies totally repellent (although some members of the Goth/Wiccan community will probably earn their recognition for trying). But, by and large, it’s not our custom.
    What is our custom, after about 6000 years of civilization (Jewish self-awarness precede Christian for about 5000 years) – is using means of altering our clothing/footwear/make-up to complement and enhance our bodies. In tasteful and reasonable manner, of course.

    Do you have a problem with sex appeal, Dawn? Don’t you want to look pleasant to your prospective partner? Don’t you want him/her to appear caring for your approval, including approval of their looks? Don’t you evaluate people, from the first instinctive glance, on their appearances? Don’t you enjoy a beautifully crafted shoe or the way well-tailored dress frames you in the mirror?

    Are you a woman?

  6. Nevicata »

    3 August 2008 · 4:39 pm

    Then there’s the fact that this model has chosen an eye-catching outfit, and that she appears on the cover of a book. She’s not only giving us permission to judge what we see; she’s actually asking us to.

    And the fact that we reinforce our own cultural ties by gossiping here about other people’s fashion sense.

    (Might the model have borrowed those shoes from Marge Simpson…?)

  7. Tatyana »

    3 August 2008 · 5:25 pm

    I thought gossiping is possible only if the object of gossip is known personally to the gossipers.
    Otherwise it’s just public expression of opinion.

    A few more notes on topic. “Sisterhood”, in Christ or otherwise, is absent from my vocabulary. Instead there live plenty of terms associated with aesthetics. Beauty. Style. Comfort through better design. Form that flatters, not only follows, function.
    The woman whose plump (I think I’m being sufficiently tactful here – I didn’t use “fat”, “ugly” or “crooked”) legs are portrayed on the book cover would be justified in her feeling hatred towards herself. And this feeling, absolutely, should be reinforced. Then, maybe, just maybe, this woman will learn to look at herself critically and think – how can I improve what I see there? Let’s buy gorgeous patent red shoes on a wedge platform. Perfectly transparent or ever-so-slightly vertically-patterned nude-colored pantyhose. A charcoal-gray skirt that just covers my knees. And if I work on my posture and force myself to walk not like a sergeant on parade, but like a woman who values her spine, the heads will be following my passing. Which does wonders to self-esteem.

  8. McGehee »

    3 August 2008 · 5:49 pm

    On the internet, evaluations are based on how one expresses oneself, Tatyana.

    I like Dawn.

  9. McGehee »

    3 August 2008 · 5:50 pm

    The woman whose plump (I think I’m being sufficiently tactful here – I didn’t use “fat”, “ugly” or “crooked”) legs are portrayed on the book cover would be justified in her feeling hatred towards herself.

    Yeah, that’s what I call endearing expression.

  10. Tatyana »

    3 August 2008 · 5:57 pm

    McG – what is that supposed to mean? You don’t like the way I express myself? Don’t like women who dress well and wear beautiful shoes? Or you don’t like women who like male attention? What your liking Dawn has to do with what I said?
    And is there a requirement (I’m not aware of) to use only “endearing expressions” when describing a model for a book cover?

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