Thursday, September 03, 2009

Gender Wars

I can't possibly link to everything that is being said about the TNIV and the announcement about the NIV 2011. Here is Julie Clawson on this topic. I am not going to make any predictions about the NIV 2011, one way or the other. The more important question is whether this is indicative of a growing reactionary movement against women in the evangelical church. I can't say right now, but this is what it feels like.

Another issue which requires a more immediate response is the conversation on why there are so few female bibliobloggers. First, April Deconick brought up the issue here, here and here. There are several posts about this topic on the Biblioblog Top 50 here, here and here. And then we have this voice, which I find hard to believe but you need to know its there. And finally back to Julie Clawson.

Now here is where April's thoughts coincide with my own,
    I have been lamenting this for a long time, but now I am becoming angry about it. I have taught on the subject of women and the bible for fifteen years, and yet it is now as I write about the subject that the hundreds of years of suppression, the hundreds of years of divine sanction for male authority and domination, the hundreds of years of women's often willing silence is rolling over me. At times is is hard for me to write because my feelings of pain are so strong.
Now I want to address some of the nonsense that is out there. First, I understand that there are as many women bloggers as male bloggers, in general. Next, in science blogs, where there is a huge gender gap, women make up 22% of bloggers. And in biblioblogs, women are 7%. But that 7% is quite a stretch. Most of the male bloggers have their own blogs, are non-Jewish, that is Christian (or agnostic) and written in English. If you look at blogs by women, in English, and Christian (or agnostic but not Jewish) then, in the top 50, there is only one.

What I am trying to say is that in order to get the 7%l the Biblioblogs Top 50 is casting a wider net for women. I am not saying that these other blogs don't count, but it is still a wider net for the female bloggers than for male bloggers.

I am not going to complain that I am ignored - far from it. However, I don't want to read the kind of unuseful stuff going around about how women don't blog because they like to do other more important things and because they aren't as geeky and so on and so forth. Because women do blog.

The difficult part of this is that something is wrong - terribly wrong. But at the same time, we are individuals, the male bloggers are all indiviuals, and so are the female bloggers. We don't all have the same viewpoint on this. So this is going to be hard to talk about.

Without presuming to present myself as talking for other women, this is the simplest way I can explain how it feels for me.

As an ex-complementarian in the bibliosphere, I feel like an ex-slave at a gathering of people from the slave-owner class. Imagine that some of these people are slave owners, and some are abolitionists. However, imagine a third group, a group from this class that want the ex-slave to act as if bth slavery and abolition are equally valid points of view which can be legitimately derived from the Bible and therefore both deserve equal respect.

The analogy is not perfect but it is the best I can do at the moment.


Janice said...

Hello Suzanne,

Here's the thing. They're not in your shoes, have never been in your shoes and can't imagine being in your shoes. Their problem is lack of imagination and that causes lack of empathy.

But I'm a woman and I know what you're talking about. For me it's a situation of having "been there, had something similar done to me (or saw it done to other women) many times over, and know what it's like".

I'm also the mother of three sons and wife of one husband. Yeah, they all love me, but nevertheless, they find ways to put me one down so they can be one up. They think of it as teasing in a loving way. But teasing, in itself, is an attempt to be one up so the other can be one down. It's competitive.

I'm not competing with them. Why do they have to always be competing with me? I think it's so that they can assure themselves they're not women. How weak is that? I love the men in my life but I wish they could just accept me as a person with different interests rather than treating me as someone they have to be different to.

Rod said...

Hummmmmmmmm interesting analogy. I am going to have to go with being on the side of the abolitionists, literally and figuratively.

Doug said...

Hi, Suzanne.
I find those figures interesting, since that would suggest there must be subjects where there are very few men blogging to balance out the ones where women appear to be in a minority. I have no idea why Bible blogging seems to be such a male preserve. But I don't get the impression that most of the men whose blogs I read would be complementarian.
You may of course wish to discount my opinion since I'm a man. But I note it nonetheless.

Blake said...

Good analogy. Ignore my e-mail.

Mike Aubrey said...

"However, imagine a third group, a group from this class that want the ex-slave to act as if both slavery and abolition are equally valid points of view which can be legitimately derived from the Bible and therefore both deserve equal respect."

I don't know how much of this quote might refer to me. Or even if you've had me in mind for it. I don't think I've ever intentionally conveyed the impression that you should treat both views as deserving equal respect - though I'll admit that I consistently try to do so, myself. But the only reason for that fact is that there have been a few times now where I have (to continue the analogy) either convinced a man to "free his slaves" or convinced a woman that she can and should be free.

Lydia said...

Your last comment resonated with me. The fact is, how much of a pounding are we willing to take day in a out...

I have met a few women whose careers in ministry were destroyed for daring to dissent on the status quo taught on women in ministry.

Carolyn Custis James writes about Theology being important for women and how few women will take it on for many reasons. One is because it intimidates men and in turn makes the woman's life uncomfortable. So, part of it might be wanting to not rock the boat.

These are cop outs. God is just as important to KNOW for women as HE is for men. And, if women only KNOW God through men, they are stifled in their maturity. Always to be an 'ex slave' at a gathering of slave holders.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks for all the encouraging coments and posts.

Mike, No I wasn't thinking of you.


Why on earth would I discount your opinion because you are a man. It is actually not a subjective thing to talk about how many biblioblogs are complementarian vs egalitarian. It doesn't matter whether the reader is a man or a woman. LOL.

And the truth is that many complementarian blog authors are quite good friends. It isn't really about that oddly enough.

It is about being told that I can't say something anti-complementarian in mixed company. It isn't the c's themselves saying that. Many of them are quite happy to debate the topic.

Mike Aubrey said...