Theology and Religion

Sweet Love? Teen Girls’ Bibles, Sexual Purity and Rape Culture


Caroline Blyth
Faculty of Arts
Project code: ART003

This project takes a close look at the growing market of Bibles aimed at teen girls and ask how these might perpetuate rape myths and rape culture. In particular, it will consider the devotionals, commentaries, and advice sections placed throughout these Bibles, which offer young female 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 chastity, modesty, and purity as markers of young women’s ‘godliness’. Yet, as this project will argue, these gendered ideals echo discourses of sexual violence that lie at the heart of rape culture. Moreover, their placement within the pages of sacred scripture gives them considerable power to reinforce deeply harmful ideologies about gender, sexuality, and sexual violence. Given the growing market for these Bibles, and their seeming popularity among Christian teen girls, the need to dismantle their damaging rhetoric is particularly urgent.