Let Him Romance You: Rape Culture and Gender Violence in Evangelical Christian Self-Help Literature

  • Emily Colgan
Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)


Since its publication in 2005, Stasi and John Eldredge’s book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul has dominated the Christian literature markets, selling millions of copies worldwide and rating highly on numerous bestseller charts. It offers Christian female readers guidance and advice about what it means to live as a fully alive and feminine woman: a woman who is truly “captivating.” In this chapter, Emily Colgan explores the imagery and ideologies surrounding the depiction of women within this book. Drawing on a feminist epistemology, she contends that the gendered classifications at the heart of Captivating encode a sexual logic based on heterosexual binary ideals, which contribute to an underlying rhetoric of gender violence and rape. Particularly, she suggests that the language used throughout this book reinforces particular ideologies of gender and sexuality that are patriarchal and rape-supportive. Through a close investigation of this text, Colgan’s rhetorical analysis lays bare the symbolic reality found in Captivating, and considers the impact of these symbols upon readers. She contends that the symbolic world of Captivating will have a qualitative impact on the social reality of those who participate in its rhetorical vision regarding gender roles and relationships.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Colgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity Methodist Theological CollegeAucklandNew Zealand

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