The Commodification of Biblical Texts in Advertising and Contemporary Capitalism

Robert J. Myles

Abstract


Katie Edwards’ Admen and Eve (2012) explores the question of how the use of the Bible in contemporary advertising has aided the perpetuation of a whole assortment of gendered and sexual ideologies. Indeed, the mythical and prototypical function of Gen. 2-3 undergirds a certain gendered and sexual epistemology. Popular cultural recycling of Adam and Eve has obviously had a significant impact in promulgating ideologies including but not limited to the binary construction of gender, the social and economic subordination of women, and the “appropriate” gendered performance according to Western cultural norms.

This article takes as its point of departure Edwards’ discussion of the postfeminist cultural milieu as it applies to Gen. 2-3 to explore some of the broader implications of the commodification of biblical texts under contemporary capitalism. While acknowledging the importance of critical analysis of gender and (hetero)sexual ideologies codified within Eve advertising, I want to focus on intersections with class and capitalism that function within and beneath the layers of gendered ideology. This is, after all, the bottom line of advertising: to sell products according to the imperatives of capital accumulation. The manner in which people engage advertising in modern Western society is hugely influenced by the mediating institution of the market. My intention is not, as such, to diminish the importance of Edwards’ focus on feminist and gender concerns, but rather to develop her argumentation through a consideration of where Marxist and feminist ideas might converge but also possibly diverge.


Keywords


Katie Edwards; Admen and Eve; commodification; capitalism

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391