‘Attractive Grace’: The Role of Appearance in the Evangelical Ideology of Femininity

Agnolutto, Corrie L (2015) ‘Attractive Grace’: The Role of Appearance in the Evangelical Ideology of Femininity. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

This thesis, ‘Attractive Grace’: The Role of Appearance in the Evangelical Ideology of Femininity, will offer an original contribution to research in so far as it focuses on the specific and, to date, under-researched experiences of young women in evangelical churches. It will argue that the way young women attempt to conform to the ideology of evangelical Christian femininity promotes not so much young women’s faith in the kerygma of the Gospel, but in the rewards of attaining an appearance in compliance with a specific body-aesthetic. Yet, Lisa Isherwood's theology, articulated in her recent book The Fat Jesus (2007) and other texts, offers hope that the evangelical Christian woman can embrace both her body and her sexuality, despite the social, cultural, and spiritual pressure on women produced by the beauty and diet industries, as exposed by Natasha Walter and Naomi Wolf in their studies of those closely-related industries. The thesis seeks, then, to explore what it means for the evangelical Christian woman to feel acceptable before God and other Christians when her body, diet, beauty, and sexuality as a whole are seen as a visual indicator of her Christian self-discipline, virtue, and faith, and how Christian evangelical feminist theology can help us address and revisit this oppressive ideology. It also must be considered how the evangelical Christian church can better support women who are struggling with a degree of low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. For these latter might, in fact, be exacerbated by evangelical missions such as Gwen Shamblin’s Weigh Down Diet (2002) and Christian dating sites such as Christian Mingle, rather than finding emotional healing and freedom through the salvific works of Christ. It is not that enhancement of female appearance should not be a source of pleasure and confidence, but rather that Christian feminist theology can be read as suggesting how an aesthetically enhanced female appearance need not be the precondition of acceptance before God, self, and other Christians.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Raphael, Melissamraphael@glos.ac.ukhttp://www.glos.ac.uk/faculties-and-schools/humanities/staff-profiles/pages/s2100575-melissa-raphael.aspx
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evangelical Ideology of Femininity, Evangelical Christian woman, Physical appearance, Sexuality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Religious, Philosophical and Historical Studies
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 09:39
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 15:39
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/4137

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