Professor Valarie Ziegler delivered a lecture at Trinity University on March 24, 2016 entitled “Submission, Sex, and Sinraptors: The Evangelical Adam as Alpha Male in American Popular Culture.” The lecture was delivered in the 2016 Lennox Series and Seminar at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).
From Kentucky’s famed Creation Museum to People Magazine’s obsession with the ever-expanding Duggar clan of 19 Kids and Counting, Christian conservative evangelical institutions are ubiquitous in American popular culture. Eager to recreate American society in the image of Eden, conservative evangelicals have given us eHarmony, princess purity balls, erotic wife spanking, militant fecundity, and a steady stream of illustrated Bibles depicting dinosaurs romping with Adam and Eve – not to mention a succession of spectacular sex scandals. Most people would be hard put to connect these colorful images to Christian devotion. But conservative evangelicals regard the subordination of women to men as central to God’s purpose in creation, and submissive wives and daughters, as well as dinosaurs in Eden, are useful signifiers of men’s primacy over women. This exaltation of male power and privilege not only gives license in the evangelical world to abusive behaviors (think Josh Duggar) but also impacts important levels of social discourse in the larger American culture, from romance to science, from procreation to presidential politics.