LOST IN THE “POST”: RAPE CULTURE AND POSTFEMINISM IN ADMEN AND EVE
In her book, Admen and Eve: The Bible in Contemporary Advertising, Katie Edwards explores in depth the biblical tradition of Genesis 2–3, a text she suggests is “arguably the most influential cultural document for gender relations in Western society” (2012, 9). In particular, she focuses on the ways that the character of Eve is portrayed, both in the narrative of Genesis 2–3 and in contemporary postfeminist advertising, as a dangerously alluring seductress—a femme fatale—whose sexuality is a source of both her power and her danger. Edwards argues that such studies of biblical themes in advertising can offer “surprising sites” for the exposure and critique of dominant ideations of sexuality and gender that are given voice both in contemporary culture and in the biblical text itself (2012, viii). In this essay, I want to respond to one of these “sites” that, although not the central focus of the book, Edwards does engage with to some extent—the unsettling intersection of certain forms of postfeminist rhetoric and advertising imagery with the perpetuation of rape myths and rape culture. Taking my lead from Edwards’ exploration of this issue, I will first review some of the commonly-noted problematics of popular postfeminism before considering how postfeminist advertising images of women (including Eve images) relate to the pervasive myths and misperceptions about gender violence that are so fundamental to contemporary rape culture. I will also suggest that some elements of these myths and misperceptions can be discerned, at least implicitly, within the text of Genesis 2–3, particularly through its articulation of female sexuality and gender power dynamics.
Katie Edwards; Admen and Eve; rape culture