Anne of Green Come-and-Get-Me

Photo: Amazon

When I first saw the new—and suddenly buzzed about —cover for the reissue of the classic series Anne of Green Gables, my mind went instantly into cynical and jaded mode with reflex speediness. I flashed to the classic (okay, well feminist classic) No Comment photos. Because, let’s face it, someone in the marketing world decided to “rebrand” Anne in ways that anyone who knows the books will find offensive.

How bad is it? It’s pretty darn terrible, that’s how bad.

The books, as described in someone’s Amazon review:

“The Anne of Green Gables Series is a wonderful collection of tales about a bright, spirited, lovely young woman.”

The reviewer offers five stars and the promise that the books are great for girls, boys and adults, too.

The Anne on the new cover is seated in a chest-first manner and appears to have had her hair not only styled, but also airbrushed. Come-hither Anne is no rugged country girl. Nor is the “real” Anne blonde.

So now we’ve got: One Green Gable? Avonlea 90210?

It’s possible that like so many inappropriate messages kids and teens get there could be some enterprising teen protesting—as happened with Seventeen Magazine last year, for example, when a plea for more realistic depictions of young women was met (after a great deal of pressure was exerted). The “No Photoshop” pledge was largely due to determined efforts by a fantastic eighth-grader named Julia Bluhm.

I hate to imagine that teenagers have to fight for every image they see—or don’t see. As much as I flipped to the No Comment photos first when Ms. Magazine arrived, the truth is that mindset—look how terrible and maybe we can shame x company to change for the better—is really an exhausting one. It’s not the way I wish for my sons and daughter to have to see the world (obviously, I am grooming them to do just that, though; advertisers and marketers and the machines of sports, Hollywood and even politics determine that they must be literate, grumpy media consumers if they are to consume at all).

The idea that if we just “sexy-up” the book’s cover it’ll become that much more appealing is so assaultive to the book’s merits, the intelligence of girl (and boy) readers and almost to the act of reading itself. It’s like saying that you can’t read a book unless you are lured into the mundane act by the promise of a little sex appeal. We—and our girls and boys—are so much better than that.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine, Huffington Post and Salon, amongst others. She keeps a personal blog, Standing in the Shadows. Follow her on twitter–@standshadows

  • http://theradicalhousewife.com Shannon Drury

    I find myself saying “that is appalling” a little too often these days, but DAMN, that new Anne cover is AP-PAL-LING. Unbelievable. Jaw-droppingly bad.

    What’s next, a tarted up version of the March sisters in a new edition of “Little Women”? Alice slinking through Wonderland in a bikini?

  • http://www.helenjonsen.com helen

    Wow, this really is over the top! I must admit, I did not read Anne as a girl. I only discovered her from the Canadian TV series I watched happily with my daughters. I think they read the first book at some point. This will appall them as well. Love Shannon’s question about Little Women. If Colleen Dewhurst were alive we would have a leader in this fight!

  • http://www.janeroper.com Jane Roper

    Totally ridiculous, but is it genuine? I’m looking on Amazon, and don’t see this cover anywhere. Can you provide a link?

  • http://dontmindthemess.com Jessica

    I’ve seen a lot of articles on this and I admit I’m annoyed that not one so far has mentioned that the publisher of this book is a self-publishing outfit, not one of the big publishing houses. I don’t know who approved this cover but it wasn’t necessarily anyone trying to sex-up the book. It’s very possible it was someone who never read it at all.

    It’s also worth noting that there if you search just the book section on Amazon there are THOUSANDS of hits for Anne of Green Gables.

    Is this appalling? Sure. But is it worth the uproar? No.

  • http://top-rated-gifts.blogspot.ca/2013/02/anne-of-green-gables-books.html Treasures By Brenda

    If it was controversy they were after, they got it but it seems more likely that it was a bad choice by someone who didn’t know what the book was all about.

Black Lives Matter Oscars Social Justice
Social Justice Warrior Battle Fatigue: When Blacksplaining is Too Much
Barbie Fashionistas, photo courtesy of Mattel
The Casual Feminist: How Do You Take Your Barbie? Curvy, Tall or Petite?
#wheresrey, rey star wars, hasbro
#WheresRey: Finally, Here’s Where You’ll Find Your Jedi Princess
400.a-gift-id-like-to-return
Let’s Make a Deal!
bernie sanders feminists, hillary clinton feminists, women voters and feminism
“Young” Feminists, Don’t Toss Out the “Old” Ones. We’re Really on Your Side
24414814619_ff75538970_z
A Hillary Smear in the Making Brought to Us By MSNBC: TRANSCRIPTS!
Black History Month, reparations
For Black History Month, Let’s Talk Reparations
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, real change in politics
Do You Really Want A Revolution, or Just Talk About One?
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, real change in politics
Do You Really Want A Revolution, or Just Talk About One?
America Ferrera at MAKERS
For America, It’s a No Brainer Between Hillary and Cruz
Hillary Clinton in Iowa, Hillary Clinton criticized for style, media criticism of Hillary Clinton style
Bernie and Donald Can Shout. Hillary, Not So Much if You Believe the Media
Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is More of the Same
Valentine's Day, chocolate
Hard Lessons, Valentine’s Day Edition
bernie sanders feminists, hillary clinton feminists, women voters and feminism
“Young” Feminists, Don’t Toss Out the “Old” Ones. We’re Really on Your Side
Barbie Fashionistas, photo courtesy of Mattel
The Casual Feminist: How Do You Take Your Barbie? Curvy, Tall or Petite?
Senate_Women_2013
Women Senators Aren’t Afraid of the Snowpocalypse, But Their Male Counterparts Are
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
First Lady Hillary Clinton in Inda in 1995
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
American tourists help Syrian refugees in Hungary
One Woman Making a Difference to Syrian Refugees
369.the-eyes-have-it1
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
breast cancer, save the boobies, save second base, why is breast cancer awareness about sex
Campaigns to Save the “Boobies” and “Tatas” Do Women No Favors

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread