The Garden, the Serpent, and Eve: An Ecofeminist Narrative Analysis of Garden of Eden Imagery in Fashion Magazine Advertising

Title: The Garden, the Serpent, and Eve: An Ecofeminist Narrative Analysis of Garden of Eden Imagery in Fashion Magazine Advertising
Authors: Colette, Shelly Carmen
Date: 2012
Abstract: Garden of Eden imagery is ubiquitous in contemporary print advertising in North America, especially in advertisements directed at women. Three telling characteristics emerge in characterizations of Eve in these advertising reconstructions. In the first place, Eve is consistently hypersexualized and over-eroticized. Secondly, such Garden of Eden images often conflate the Eve figure with that of the Serpent. Thirdly, the highly eroticized Eve-Serpent figures also commonly suffer further conflation with the Garden of Eden itself. Like Eve, nature becomes eroticized. In the Eve-Serpent-Eden conflation, woman becomes nature, nature becomes woman, and both perform a single narrative plot function, in tandem with the Serpent. The erotic and tempting Eve-Serpent-Eden character is both protagonist and antagonist, seducer and seduced. In this dissertation, I engage in an ecofeminist narratological analysis of the Genesis/Fall myth, as it is retold in contemporary fashion magazine advertisements. My analysis examines how reconstructions of this myth in advertisements construct the reader, the narrator, and the primary characters of the story (Eve, Adam, the Serpent, and Eden). I then further explore the ways in which these characterizations inform our perceptions of woman, nature, and environmentalism. Using a narratological methodology, and through a poststructuralist ecofeminist lens, I examine which plot and character elements have been kept, which have been discarded, and how certain erasures impact the narrative characterizations of the story. In addition to what is being told, I further analyze how and where it is told. How is the basic plot being storied in these reconstructions, and what are the effects of this version on the archetypal characterizations of Eve and the Garden of Eden? What are the cultural and literary contexts of the reconstructed narrative and the characters within it? How do these contexts inform how we read the characters within the story? Finally, I examine the cultural effects of these narrative reconstructions, exploring their influence on our gendered relationships with each other and with the natural world around us.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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