Like a music video, album covers are a form of advertising for musicians. They aim to be attention grabbing and in certain cases can become legendary artwork in their own right- think The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or the iconic banana Andy Warhol designed for The Velvet Underground. However just like music videos, sometimes the album covers objectify women, and promote misogynist ideals. It’s well understood that sex sells; it’s a fine line, and even female artists sexually objectify themselves to sell their music. However we’re looking at misogyny, and therefore let’s take a look at some album covers by male artists created over the last few decades. These albums are from musicians in all kinds of genres, including rock, indie, and classic pop. They make comparisons between woman and animals, show women simply as body parts, and some even advocate sexual assault.
Warning: Some images may offend.
By placing a naked woman on the piano looking adoringly at the male singer it makes it apparent that music marketing execs knew that sex sells in the 1950’s. It’s the submissive way the woman is situated that makes this cover sexist.
The title of this 1959 album says it all. This album cover screams sexual assault and murder. The implications of placing females heads mounted on the wall like they’re animals to be snared is frightening. This is along with the way the couple is positioned, as if the woman is looking to escape; it’s alarming by even today’s standards.
Like the last image the sexual assault undertones of this album cover are apparent. The man’s body language paired with odd trapping gum and the woman’s stony facial expressions make this, in my eyes, a sexist cover.
Like the last two the sexualised woman with a sheer top paired with the ‘rapey’ title Take What You Want make it clear that sexist album covers are (sadly) alive and well in the 1980’s.
Another album cover by Scorpion makes the list, this one titled Animal Magnetism was released only a year after Lovedrive. The comparisons between the woman’s submissive expression and the way it mirrors the dogs has clear sexist undertones. In this cover women are just something to be controlled, and more on par with animals than equal to men.
This cover showing a woman’s wet torso shows that in music women are just body parts used to sell music. I also find the title of this album as something to be examined, as if a woman uses sex as a way of being ‘slippery’ and manipulative.
In this album cover, admittedly odd in it’s title and busy foreground, a women is seen as just a piece of meat. She is simply seen as a body part, just a leg, and again comparisons are made between females and animals.
Admittedly rock singer Ted Nugent saw enough sense to change this pre-release album cover before it’s actual release in 2007. However this cover depicting a tied up naked women as a piece of meat on a platter is incredibly misogynist. The grenade in her mouth and her expression also have violent undertones.
This album art missed the ‘artistic’ mark when they attempted to pay homage to a French photographer. Objectifying and de-humanizing, it shows a woman with a glowing light between her legs as if females are sirens, only there for sex. By not showing her face and showing her in a powerless position it again depicts her as just body parts to submit to males sexual gazes.
So what do you think of these album covers?
Do you have any more to add to the list?