Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Gender of the Biblioblogger Count

This quick post is just an update of "The Gender of Blogger Clout."

3 things:

1. A comparison of woman : male ratios in the top OpEd journals with the woman : male ratios in the top Biblioblogs.

theopedproject.org VS, biblioblogtop50.wordpress.com

2.  A couple of related posts and comments.

There's a new comment at the post where, as Rod puts it, "April DeConick was labelled a man-hating angry feminist as some of us just dismissed all too easy her request to even change how the stats take place (another day, another time)."  The commenter self-identifies as a woman by name and says:
I don't know about the Alexa ratings, but for those lists that exist because someone nominates a blog or requests that their own blog be listed-- if this is being perceived as a "boys club" (whether accurately or otherwise), some women may simply not be trying, or may not be interested in trying, to get in. Why try if the deck is already stacked against you? (Even if that's just a perception, it could be affecting the ratings.)
There's a new post at The Biblioblog Top 50 blog.  We can imagine, from the "us"-vs.-"them" and the "we"-vs.-"you" language, that the writer of the post is a man (and not one of those women bloggers of the Bible).  He is ostensibly speaking on behalf of the top men blogging the Bible.  He's taking a stab at humor, is saying "Now accepting women!" and is playing on "April" DeConick's name.  His final sentences are as follows:
We will also oppose those forces of systemic gender inequality that exist to marginalize (but not in a victimy way, ok, April) women in academia and in academic biblical studies. In solidarity with all those who are othered by the hegemonic centre, we call on all bibliobloggers to discontinue blogging about those institutions which defend the status quo, such as the Bible, the political system, the churches, biblical studies, and the Biblical Archaeology Review - until such time as the system crumbles and falls! Ok?
So is the deck stacked against women who are bibliobloggers?  Who is really interested in joining this Top Club now?  Are "we" men now joining "women in academia and in academic biblical studies" in opposing "systemic gender inequality"?  Is our equal strategy really "to discontinue blogging about" any given or particular topic?  Is that what this man thinks women want?  Yes, I know.  Get serious now.  This guy (who doesn't need to identify his sex or even to use his name) is just funny and really only just wants a laugh.  So lighten up.  Ok?

3.  A comment on the title of this post.

The title of my posts can also be humorous.  I'm following Anne Carson's lead here; she writes that insightful and funny essay, "The Gender of Sound."  She has not, it seems, done anything to discontinue writing "about those institutions which defend the status quo."  She does, in fact, write about the bible, the political system, and translator bias, and gender bias, and Aristotle, and so on and so forth.


Kristen said...

A few thoughts:

Even if the man who wrote "Now Accepting Women!" intended his little jabs at April to be humorous, I must say that to call a person by name and then reduce her points to absurdity, comes across to me as the "iron hand" of what Kurk has called "clout" in his last post, thinly covered with a velvet glove of humor.

I'm the one who wrote the comment to April's post that you copied here, so I will add this. This "top biblioblog" business seems to me to be a competition set up by men for their own enjoyment-- and that's fine with me; I sincerely hope they enjoy the race. They'll have to excuse me if I'm simply not interested. I view cooperation as more enjoyable than competition-- and I know my views are shared by at least some proportion of female bloggers and blog readers out there. If without meaning to, the Top 50 bibliobloggers have embued their competition with a certain flavor of "tick tock, the game is locked, nobody else can play," then I appreciate those who are willing to listen when this is pointed out to them. I don't appreciate so much, those who turn around and take pot-shots at the messengers. It certainly doesn't make me any more likely to seek out or read their blogs. In general, I find I relate more to blogs by women, and I don't care in the slightest whether they're in the Top 50 or not. (BTW, here's one I found recently which I especially enjoy, called "The Happy Surprise.")


Anyway, that's my two cents-- or 25, if you will. (grin)

Kristen said...

I would like to add this, however. Those women who have an actual, vested interest in biblioblogs (those who have ministerial or theological careers, for example), are naturally going to care more about whether they get to play in the sandbox. I do appreciate those male bibliobloggers (including yourself, Kurk), who want to both make room for them and let them know they are invited in.

J. K. Gayle said...

Thanks for your comments, Kristen! I especially appreciate what you wrote at Dr. DeConick's blog. Then your aptly snarky comment here at this post, the first time, made me think you (and I too) were going to run women away from biblioblogging alltoghether. One man now, commenting at The Biblioblog Top 50 today, likewise, has registered his disgust and how he's not liking his cyberworks referenced there for the poor-taste, male "locker room humour." Well, you have introduced several of us, I'm sure, to "The Happy Surprise" blog. I love her "Women in the Text" series and especially like the candor in "Women in the Text: Gender and Gospel." Thanks for the 25 cents! :)

With reference to your second comment, I'll speak for us male bibliobloggers (like Rod too) just to say: We're not so much only trying to make room for more women bloggers as much as we want to hear more from you, to listen much, and to learn. Men really can tend too often to be agonistic, antagonistic, and can clout others with their iron grip fists. We're wanting God's image, female and male too, in the humans blogging. So thanks again for speaking up and for speaking out.

Kristen said...

Kurk, you said:

"Then your aptly snarky comment here at this post, the first time, made me think you (and I too) were going to run women away from biblioblogging alltoghether."

I suppose it depends on how you define "biblioblogging." No one is going to run women away from blogging about the Bible. If that's all "biblioblogging" is, I imagine there are at least as many women doing it as men. Even if we define "biblioblogging" as "scholarly blogging about the Bible," I'm sure the male-female ratio is not all that unbalanced. But as far as I can see, "biblioblog" seems to mean something else-- it seems to mean being part of the "biblioblog" club, which right now is composed mostly of men and which, as I said, appears to be a competitive boys' club about who can be the most popular blogger.

My feminine ego feels pretty good about this:

"We're not so much only trying to make room for more women bloggers as much as we want to hear more from you, to listen much, and to learn."

To have my opinion sought not in spite of my being female, but because of it, is not something I'm used to! I hope it doesn't go to my head. (grin)

But what I was trying to say is that I don't see my involvment with the Bible, or my communications with others about the Bible, as being in any sense competitive, and whenever they becomes so, I am fairly certain to draw back from them. To me, the question, "which blog about the Bible is getting the most hits?" is not a question I feel I want asked, or answered. The Bible does occasionally use metaphors of the Christian life being like a race or a competition, but it is our own flesh, and not other believers, who are our opponents. I see God's kingdom as a place where I am called not to worry about my own standings or where I am "placing" in the race in comparison to others, but rather to try to help every other runner around me win-- even as they are trying to help ME win. "Run in such a way as you may win" means, as far as I can see, "win against my own flesh" and not against another Christian.

On the other hand, I think friendly competition, when it is kept non-serious and just for fun, can be enjoyable-- and I really did mean it when I said I "sincerely" hoped those in the Top 50 were enjoying the competition. I know some women (and most men) are more competitive than I am-- and I don't want to spoil their fun; I'm just not that into it myself.

But I raise these points to address the issue of why many women may simply not be actively seeking to get their blogs into the "biblioblogs" listings in order to enter a competition they really don't care about.

If the bibliobloggers put the issue more in terms of "we value female voices and want to interact" rather than, "we want you to come play our game and see who wins" (which is, at least, how I'm perceiving it), more women might be interested.

J. K. Gayle said...


Thanks for this: "we value female voices and want to interact" rather than, "we want you to come play our game and see who wins"

Listening and interacting! One of my favorite quotations of Nancy Mairs gets at this (and I'm so very glad also for her):

"Publication of any sort is an intrinsically social act, "I" having no reason to speak aloud unless I posit "you" there listening; but your presence is especially vital if I am seeking not to disclose the economic benefits of fish farming in Zäire, or to recount the imaginary tribulations of an adulterous doctor's wife in nineteenth-century France, but to reconnect myself—now so utterly transformed by events unlike any I've experienced before as to seem a stranger even to myself—to the human community.... lending materiality to my readerly ideal, transform[ing] monologue into intercourse."

I see that you've made a comment at the Biblioblog Top 50 blog, and that N.T. Wrong has declared all that he is doing is a joke ("my little joke on the whole biblioblogging caper") that most of the (mostly male only) bloggers get. Well, his humor in context of his various comments, reveals that it's more like "the male locker room type 'humour'" that Tim Bulkeley has complained about. Some of that N.T. Wrong "humor" I've tried to show here.

Kristen said...

Thanks, Kurk. I am very confused in my mind as to whether NT Wrong is a man pretending to be a woman, or a woman pretending to be a man, and also as to which contradictory things this person says, I am supposed to believe is sincere. It's very disconcerting, and makes me even less likely to submit my possible future blog for inclusion in the biblioblog competition-- something NT has both encouragd and now calls "absurd."