Feet. Most people have two. They’re found just below your ankles and are essential in numerous everyday activities: walking, flushing public toilets, making your socks feel needed, and picking up small objects when you’re too lazy to bend over.
Feet. Ten toes and a heel. Not a big deal, right?
While searching for some holiday gifts this weekend on BarnesandNoble.com, I accidentally wandered beyond the familiar boundaries of science fiction and fantasy and became lost in strange, frightening realms known as Chick-Lit, Nonfiction, and Inspiration. Within minutes of aimless wandering, I inexplicably ran across literally dozens of novels with bare feet prominently displayed on the covers: The Boy I Loved Before by Jenny Colgan; The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn by Janis Hallowell; Tall Pine Polka/Your Oasis on Flame Lake by Lorna Landvik; Sincerely, Mayla by Virginia Smith; Sleeping Naked Is Green by Vanessa Farquharson; and Babes with a Beatitude by Linda P. Kozar and Dannelle Woody, to name just a few.
They were everywhere! Toes in the grass, toes in the air, toes on the beach, toes by the pool. In my confusion, I thought for a moment that I had accidentally clicked over to an online foot fetish site…
Feeling as though I had missed out on some kind of recent phenomenon in cover art design, I left my computer and looked through the hundreds (quite possibly thousands) of books in my collection – the majority of which are science fiction, fantasy and crime fiction. After more than an hour of searching, I had found not one book cover featuring bare feet. Not one!
I did come up with some great, foot-powered SF/fantasy titles ideas, however….
• The Lord of the Toe Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
• The Left Foot of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
• A Sockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
• That Hideous Stench by C.S. Lewis
• The Insoles of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
So I’m stumped. Why so many bare feet on book covers whose reading audience are largely female? What’s the appeal? Is it a symbol for comfort and/or familiarity? And what’s the significance of painted toenails opposed to unpainted? And is the direction of the feet indicative of something in the book?
Any advice or comments? Please help!