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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.32 no.1 Pretoria  2011 



Gender representation in Christian book covers: A case study



Stella ViljoenI; Leandra Koenig-VisagieII

IDepartment of Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
IIDepartment of Communication Science, University of South Africa, South Africa





In this article, we described how gender is represented on two Christian book covers by popular author, John Eldredge, namely Wild at Heart. Discovering the Secret to a Man's Soul (2001) and Captivating. Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul (2005). Through semiotic visual analysis, we explored how the active male-passive female opposition functions on these covers. This opposition is constructed by visually associating the male figure on the cover of Wild at Heart with active outdoor adventurism and the female figure onCaptivating with passive situatedness in nature. The titles of the two books also contribute to positioning the male as active and the female as passive. We further investigated how certain myths are created on these covers in support of an active male-passive female opposition and its underlying ideologies. The cover of Wild at Heart creates and also taps into the colonial myth of conquest. The cover of Captivating creates and taps into the myth of the fairytale and visually represents the female figure in a whimsical manner, thus constructing her as a representation of the spiritual or divine. The article questioned the role this information design plays in prescribing the expectations of gendered identity.



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Leandra Koenig-Visagie
PO Box 392
UNISA 0003
South Africa

Received: 06 Dec. 2010
Accepted: 04 Feb. 2011
Published: 01 Apr. 2011

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