…There is Jeffrey Eugenides in a bowler hat doing his best Henry James. There is a bow-tied Junot Diaz as Wharton’s (unrequited) love interest, diplomat Walter Berry. There is Jonathan Safran Foer, hair severely parted down the middle, posing as Wharton’s collaborator, the architect Ogden Codman, Jr.
Robinson and I shook our heads in that incredulous way one does when confronted with something so obviously wrong (as if women writers aren’t underrepresented enough as is!) and yet so seemingly inconsequential (oh who cares—it’s just a photo shoot) and yet so obviously wrong (as if women writers aren’t underrepresented enough as is!)…that…well, what to do? As Robinson put it, “The message of the shoot seems to be that a man can become an appropriate subject for the camera by being a professional writer. But a woman can only be an appropriate subject for the camera if she is a professional beauty. Yet any complaint sounds like whining, so it’s hard to know how to frame the discussion.”