Monday, September 07, 2009

Women's voices

I used to think that because April DeConick was an academic that she would be accepted as one of the guys. However, it turns out I was quite wrong. I won't link to all the crap posted on this topic, but I have seen the posts, and am aware that female bibliobloggers have been derided as "bible chicks" and dominatrixes. The accompanying cartoons are not affectionate by any stretch of the imagination so you can discount the myth that this is affectionate teasing.

April DeConick writes,
    I have to say that it is striking how immediately aggressive and sexualized some of the male reaction to my gender blogging has been, and how the humor used (including the cartoons and some of my colleagues reactions to those cartoons and circulation of them) turned women like me into either bitches, madams, or dominatrixes. Much of the male interpretation of my words has literalized them and exaggerated them, so that my words have been turned into the sexist words of a "man-hater" as one blogger put it. I wonder if he would say this to my husband?

    I wonder if anyone else has wondered what the purpose of this kind of sexually aggressive rhetoric is? What is it trying to accomplish?
Curiously men want to maintain that if there are few women blogging about the bible, in general and acceptable ways, it is their own fault.The truth is that there are many women blogging about the bible and many of them are asking the simple question - how did it all go so wrong? Many men are not that interested in that question, since afterall, for whom did it all go wrong?

Rather than assert that women have the worst of all worlds, let me simply say that the bible is often used to deprive women of authority, in the home and in the church. This is what many women bloggers are trying to address before they move into the luxury of dabbling in speculation on archaeological contributions to the academy.

Here is a good example of a biblioblog focused on this single issue. Who knows what women might write about if they were freed from the tyranny of the teaching of submission?


Katherine said...

The irony of this whole thing just eats me up. A woman biblioblogger points out that women's voices are marginalized and ignored, and then a chorus of male voices then proceeds to belittle, mock, and dismiss her and what she's pointed out, and continues to not take the criticism seriously; that is, they marginalize and ignore. Wow. Way to go on so energetically displaying the exact mindset/attitude/behaviors she points out that you are so insistent on denying. Hrumph.

Pat McCullough said...

"Curiously men want to maintain . . ."

All men? Isn't that a little sweeping?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Too right, Pat! SOME men.

Forgive me but I have been reading all these posts about how women don't have as much pride in scholarship, they have too much maternal, instinct, women this and women that.

So, you are right, a few men, who are key players with big voices, and a few men that I have never heard of, are deriding women and posting obnoxious pics and basically making me feel like the bibliosphere is smut.

Which is terribly sad, because many of my best blog friends are men, Peter Kirk, Kurk, Joel, TC, Rod, Blake, Kevin, John, Dave, Brian, Bryan, and Bryon, and lots more.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Suzanne. I am concerned that the discussion has turned so sour, especially given how welcome it was to have April's (and yours and others') contributions on the topic. I will continue to listen to what you say on this (and other) topics with interest. Thanks again and best wishes, Mark

Ramesh said...

IMHO, the same tactics were/(are being) used by SBC "Leadership" against its "detractors" or "trouble makers". This is a form of political control and side stepping the main points of contention or debate. If you read Pastor Wade Burleson's blog, or his book Hardball Religion - Feeling the Fury of Fundamentalism, you will notice the similarities.

You might need to read posts before July of this year to see the above. Here is why ...
Reflections on the 2009 SBC in Louisville, KY.
For reasons that are not of my making (at least in my opinion), I have been involved in the politics of the SBC for the past three years.

It is now time for me to step aside.

For the next year I will be taking a sabbatical from any SBC political discussions on this blog. I will continue to write posts, but they will concentrate on theology, church work and those things that are positive about all Southern Baptists, including those who I consider to be my Baptist Identity friends.

Further, if someone reads a post of mine and believes it to be political in nature, whoever it is that believes it to be political, I commit to remove that post at the simple request of the reader.

I will, of course, reserve the right to write on theological issues, but there will be no mention of those who disagree, nor comparisions with anybody else's theology, methodology or ecclesiology.

We have far too much at stake, and far too much in common as Southern Baptists to be polarized in the manner in which we have been polarized. My little part to help bring unity in the blogosphere may not amount to much, but those who know me will tell you that I stand by my word.

So, until the next SBC in Orlando (2010), I hope you enjoy reading my blogposts - sans any political SBC discussions

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad for your voice, Suzanne.
(Regular reader, not so regular commenter),

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, I often think of you, Molly, when I post these images of women as mothers and caregivers and strong leaders.

Kristen said...

I have found that a big problem (and this happens not just in Christian blogs, but also on message boards that are completely unrelated to religion) is that when a woman says something about being unfairly treated as a woman, many men tend to react to it as a personal attack. It's as if any complaint about male-female relations means, "You personally are sexist and we hate you for being a man."

I have found that for many men, if they are encouraged to emotionally detach themselves from the issue and say, "this is not about me, but about a problem in our society, and I can contribute to the solution," then instead of feeling threatened, they can feel empowered to help.

Can we not as Christians, when an issue like this arises, prayerfully examine ourselves with the aid of the Holy Spirit? Humility is the key, as I have needed so often to learn myself.