April 5, 2010

Women shouldn't Biblioblog

Then again, neither should men. But now that I've got your attention... Yes, I'm about to weigh in on the quarterly debate: "Why aren't there more women bibliobloggers?" As it happens, however, I have only one very small point to make. Please wait for it, now. Don't peek ahead. ;-)

Those of you still reading may recall that when the original NT Wrong posted the first BibTop50 in November of 2008, she or he closed that anonymous post with the following cleverness:
In Biblical Studies the ability to write meaningful pieces that only you and, maybe, one other person in the world understand is the zenith of achievement. The Biblioblog Top 50 is thus no indication of the worth or otherwise of the blogs involved.
Short months later, Wrong's blog was gone, replaced by the BibTop50 (still hosting a great search engine) which then began self-attributing as "the Biblical Floccinaucinihilipilification Society" (That's flok-suh-naw-suh-nahy-hil-uh-pil-uh-fi-key-shuh n by the way. Get it straight!) Defined as "the estimation of something as valueless", Wrong was clearly having another poke at Biblical Scholarship. More self-mocking about lists and trivialities continued for most of 2009. And then, shortly after another debate on who was or wasn't a "biblioblogger", Wrong quit altogether.

In a roundabout way, this all leads to my point on the gender-blogger debate.

The question is NOT - why aren't there more females involved in (or interested in) Biblical Studies? The question IS - why don't they BLOG? And to the extent that Wrong's characterization of Biblical Studies was accurate, I believe it partly answers the question.

Above all else, blogging is about SPOUTING OFF! And - generalities being generalities - it remains typical that when men want to spout off, we tend to pontificate about trivialities. [Baseball staats. Sci-fi factoids. Indirect boasting. Unsolicited advice-giving. Long-winded explanations.] Likewise, and also elsewise, it remains generally typical that when women spout off feel like expounding spontaneously in public they largely seem to prefer sharing about more personal and interpersonal interests. [Family. Gatherings & events. Social experiences. Significant personal moments for themselves or a friend.] Add to that, most cultures have taught women to express conflict covertly (not overtly, like males); and what's a good biblioblog without stoking some conflict, eh? ;-)

Obviously, there are many exceptions, and again - generalities being generalities - all these points are both more and less true in some places as opposed to others. Still, I trust you all recognize what I'm getting at.

On the balance, I suggest we might all consider that one reason we lack female bibliobloggers could be that the standardized CONTENT of most recognized biblioblogs is so typically MALE. Seriously. Read twenty random biblioblogs and then re-read all my generalities above. Academic content is academic content, but academics don't have to be such blunt instruments all the time. Sheesh. Maybe we men should pray Red Green's "MAN PRAYER".
I'm a man. But I can change. If I have to. I guess.
Now that's funny. "I don't care who y'are that's funny right there." But in all seriousness, allow me to sum up. Women shouldn't biblioblog and neither should men... at least, not if Wrong was right. Not if our program is somehow just trivializing the Word of God. As a great american once said, it's a sin to bore folks with the Bible.

And so, in closing, here is my humble advice. ;-)

Let's forget staats about WHO blogs. Let's all try to exemplify better ways HOW to blog about Biblical Studies issues. We all know a few bibliobloggers who are better at making these conversations more social and less strictly technical. We all could benefit from bloggers sharing more about personal reactions to their own studies. Without question, female scholars and interested female amateurs can certainly handle the academic stuff, but evidently it hasn't been inspiring most of them to SPOUT OFF.

Least ways, them's my general impressions. Sorry for such a long post. Now I've got to go catch the end of the game. :-)


brian said...

that's it. basically anyways.

J. K. Gayle said...

"most cultures have taught women to express conflict covertly (not overtly, like males)"

Nice stereotyping and essentializing here, Bill. You haven't read many women's blogs yet have you?

Bill said...

I said there were plenty of exceptions, Kurk. Of course there are many. My contention is merely that the general tendencies of our overall population probably help explain the statistical imbalance.

Does that make more sense?

Bill said...

To put that another way, I was never suggesting that such generalizations apply to those women who DO blog, but that they must apply to some of the many who don't.

J. K. Gayle said...

I get what you intend, Bill. And I have my one intentions, as well. One hyperbolic statement deserves another. (And yet its the unintended consequences of what we say that we fail to see, always.) Thanks for dialog now.

Jason A. Staples said...

I just appreciate that you brought Red Green into this. Awesomeness.

Bill said...


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