NT Wrong & Co. Join the Campaign To Accept Women Bibliobloggers


On Monday, I offered an initial post as part of a campaign to disrupt the rather lopsided male domination in the Biblioblogs.

At first I had qualms with the title, THE BIBLIOBLOGTOP50: NOW ACCEPTING WOMEN!, since at first I believed that this campaign was just about get the information about the biblioblogs out there for women. But NT Wrong is Wrong’s  typical fashion has corrected me, that this is more than about getting the word out, it’s about challenging the barriers to women who wish to do religious studies and be taken seriously as scholars, pastors, etc.

Wrong’s response:

Do you think, perhaps, the point of the post might be that acceptance of women bloggers goes beyond individual actions, and requires a fundamental, systemic change? I.e. let’s be nice and liberal and make kind offers, sure… but at the expense of not on any account addressing the broader factors involved? Well, how’s that working so far? If you find those few woman who blog on biblical studies who have been missed from the list, how does that arrest the biases of a discipline and indeed of Christianity and Judaism against women? I suspect that the moral protest has a lot more to do with the trauma that one’s nice liberal approach is a band-aid, and that the approach was openly mocked, than any substantive grounds.

No, Rod, “Now accepting women!” uncovers the fact that the system does purposely exclude women, no matter how much individuals pretend that access is open.”

NT Wrong’s response to JK Gayle is also worth noting:

“JK Gayle – The Biblioblog Top 50 wrote a reply at that time, which was in fact September of 2009. And we made the same point to April: that the problem is structural, systemic. The answer is not in finding women who have been left off the list, but in pointing out that the problem lies in a discipline dominated by Christians exhibits male hierarchy. Every now and again good, concerned, liberal-minded people try to fix the problem with a band-aid, and go on searches for more women bloggers. And every time, the Biblioblog Top 50 makes the same point in return: it won’t work, because it does not deal with the root of the matter.

See the reply from the Biblioblog Top 50 on the very post you cite (http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-are-we-going-to-do-about-blogger.html):

In that post, April had noted: “Biblioblog Top 50 commented in my last post on the subject that they have considered this and have come to the conclusion that biblioblogging is mainly confessional so ‘Simply put, because the structure of Christian authority is male-dominated, and because most bibiobloggers have Christian affiliations, biblioblogging is likewise male-dominated.’”

April replied that she did not see any Christian authority standing over women to stop them from expressing their opinions on blogs. That reply, as should be obvious, misses the insidious manner in which power asserts itself.

Our reply:

“When you say, quite correctly, that there is no Christian authority “hovering over women and telling them they can’t or shouldn’t blog on the bible”, you are of course quite right. But the structures of institutional power never work solely by “hovering over”. The methods are much more diverse and often more insidious. Power works to hold onto power in subtle ways, getting those it has power over to agree with its propaganda, propagating its ideology by internalization.

“Women make up 5% of bibliobloggers (1 in 20). This statistic is evidence of deep structural marginalization of women’s voices in biblioblogging. While there is no parity yet amongst the sexes in other disciplines, it is certainly nothing like 1:20. The obvious cultural difference is the dominant religious background of bibliobloggers. Most bibliobloggers are Christian; Christianity remains dominated by male structures of authority; this authority structure is absorbed into the ways of thinking by women wanting to biblioblog. Anecdotal? Yes. But I can’t think of another explanation which would account for the discrepancy to the same extent.

“The story has a parallel when you look at the (majority) two-thirds world of Christianity and (minority) Western Christendom. Guess where the “mainstream” view resides? Guess where the “margins” are? Again, the margins are with the majority, as a fact of power. “From the margins” contains no value judgment. It is a matter of fact that the voices of women are marginalised. Yours, April, is a marginal voice. I’m hoping what you’re doing here might reverse that. If you’re marginalized, as we believe you are, you’re going to need to put in more effort just to get to the same place as those who are not marginalized. So it’s good to see you doing it. From our own experience, we know that additonal effort is required to seek out bibliobloggers who are women, or who live in non-Western countries.”

The desire for change is good in itself, but it barely touches the surface of things. This is why we see the endless cycle of liberal-minded bloggers protesting the inequality, little resulting from it, and more protests…

Tim Bulkeley completely misses the point when he thinks there is some in-group humor. To the contrary, the humor is aimed at the in-group and at its utter ineffectuality to change things.”

I think I can see a little clearly now. In my post, CAN THE SUBALTERN BLOG?: The Problem of INSTITUTIONAL SEXISM, I rejected individualistic accounts of sexual discrimination and NT Wrong’s comment returns me to that logic. So, I guess that the hope of this open and public campaign to not just complain about the lack of women, but assertively invite women to join, is in the hopes that maybe this young woman involved a bible study or this author of a very popular book (not naming names), or this teenage girl aspiring to become an evangelist will become aware of this campaign, and if personally affected by them, may start to see the environment that is at best, ambiguous, and at most, hostile to her as a blogger of religion, God, the Bible, et., al. I maintain behind institutions are still persons, fully capable of change, because that is the possibility and hope of repentance that Jesus taught.

Trinity! Liberty! Equality!

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8 thoughts on “NT Wrong & Co. Join the Campaign To Accept Women Bibliobloggers

  1. J. K. Gayle

    I maintain behind institutions are still persons, fully capable of change, because that is the possibility and hope of repentance that Jesus taught.

    We might also maintain that Jesus learned, from women too.

    (And if “NT Wrong’s response to JK Gayle is also worth noting,” then what about his logic? Anybody can judge whether JK Gayle’s reply to NT Wrong is worth anything: “We know the problem here is not just one of numbers of women blogging the Bible in proportion to men. The problem is largely men who will not own up, who will not open up, who will not find the courage to act on their own good desires for change.”)

  2. Amanda Mac

    A few thoughts:
    1. Plugging in a few of the female biblioblogs that I read into the Alexa machine, they wouldn’t make the top 50 anyway (my personal blog included).
    2. Rod made the comment that the reason Rachel Held Evans doesn’t appear on the list (even though her numbers put her in the top bracket) is because she hasn’t put herself on the list. Why does she need to put herself on the list? If the purpose of the list is to show off the top 50 based on Alexa, then she is part of the top 50 whether she signed up or not.
    3. I wonder how many blogs out there are actually written by women but are done so anonymously? I spent 6 months with my blog being gender-neutral and in a way it was freeing to be able to post without having a voice in the back of my head say, “the reader will see you’re a woman and never come back.”

    1. Amanda Mac

      The stats thing gets complicated. I should really do a full post about my experiment, but here are some highlights:
      1. People are less likely to click on my name in a comment thread on a blog if they see ‘Amanda’ instead of ‘A.M.M.’ or ‘CW Theology’.
      2. Google reader subscribers are down.
      3. Overall traffic is up, but that is due in large part to ‘internet search terms’ — number one being ‘motivational posters’ (which I post every Monday). If I take out the traffic derived from ‘internet search terms’ traffic is down.
      4. On the other hand, more people are linking to my blog posts which is driving traffic up.

  3. Pingback: devil’s advocacy on sexism: why i’m not alarmed at the absence of female bibliobloggers

  4. Pingback: Can The Subaltern Blog? Part 2: Theology Studio, Gender, And The Rhetoric of “Dialogue” |

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