What's with all the shirtless men? Not just any old, out of shape, sweaty, shirtless men, mowing the lawn in the heat of summer, but men with visible six packs and other assorted muscles. Hairless-chested men. Men with pained, longing expressions on their perfectly featured faces, the wind riffling slightly through their hair. We see them in profile, in full face, without a head and even only their, still muscular, backs. Talk about objectifying someone.
I've been looking at book covers. I've recently ventured into writing a couple of novellas in the 'sweet romance' or 'clean romance' genre. In an attempt to be a little bit entrepreneurial I decided to scope out the competition on Amazon. That's when I realized that romance involves no shirt--at least for the men, although a few of them have merely unbuttoned their shirts and flung them open to the camera.
I was going to add a few cover shots but I don't want to appear to be criticizing any particular author or book. In a way, it is poetic justice that all these hairless men with sculpted muscles occupy the same position that the Size 0, airbrushed to perfection, models on women's magazines do. Something to make the average guy feel he's just not measuring up.