Caroline Blyth, Rape Culture, Purity Culture, and Coercive Control in Teen Girl Bibles, Routledge, 2021
In this fascinating book, Caroline Blyth takes a close look at Bibles marketed to teen girls and asks how these might perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes that lie at the heart of rape culture.
The author considers the devotionals, commentaries, and advice sections placed throughout these Bibles, which offer teen girl readers life advice on topics such as friendships, body image, and how to navigate romantic relationships. Within these discussions, there is a strong emphasis on modesty, purity, and sexual passivity as markers of young women’s ‘godliness’. Yet, as the author argues, these gendered ideals are prescribed to readers using rape-supportive discourses and the tactics of coercive control. Moreover, the placement of these various editorial inserts within the pages of sacred scripture gives them considerable power to reinforce deeply harmful ideologies about gender, sexuality, and sexual violence. Given the seeming popularity of these Bibles among Christian teen girls, the need to dismantle their damaging rhetoric is especially urgent.
This book will be of particular interest to those studying the Bible, religion, gender, and theology, as well as the general reader.