I don’t think that there is room for female bloggers in the bibliosphere, Dannii. This is my honest opinion. I always feel uncomfortable around those who say that you can’t go to heaven unless you refer to God as male, or a woman can’t go to heaven if she does not believe in obeying her husband, and all that stuff. These may sound like hypothetical statements, but they are part of my experience.
Perhaps we should also make a point of asking interlocutors to be courteous about which languages they use and what most of the other interlocutors can follow? I propose that English, Hebrew, Greek, and German are basically on the table, as are other Indo-European languages. I do not wish to minimize the value of Eastern languages — So dayo! — but entire discussions should not be carried out on the basis of a language which only two interlocutors are likely to be familiar with. Kurk Gayle — I’m thinking of you specifically with this. I do not mean to diminish you or single you out in a negative way. The fact is, you just run semantic circles around me and I can’t keep up!
Pardon me, readers. I was listening in on a conversation between Sue and Dannii over at BBB. Peter Kirk had named the two in connection with ways to open up David Ker’s rather closed use of the English language’s default singularly male gendered third person personal pronoun he. (And David, rather benign in his attempt, so it seems, was not trying to leave people out, even if he slipped into the sexist default and, as if inadvertently, Freudianly, left out Sue by his language. David also posted this picture of men, not women, fighting.
Irony of ironies, David was pushing us mostly male commenters at the male-only authored BBB to Say what you mean without being mean. He didn’t mean to be mean to women, did he?)
Well, before I go on to the other things I overheard in conversation at BBB, let me just quickly say that my experience is Sue’s. No, to be sure, I have very very little idea what it’s like if someone would say, using the words of the Bible, that a man can’t go to heaven if he does not believe in obeying his wife. But I want to give my experience with the place of women in the biblioblogosphere, or whatever it’s called. And then, eavesdropping, I hear my own name, a comment directed at me; so let me address Gary Simmons’ complaint about me right here. Then, if I have time, I’d like us all to eavesdrop in on conversations of a girl, not yet 9 years old. This may be a long post, but many of you are longsuffering.
My experience in the biblioblogosphere is that women are silenced. It’s not intentional always. It’s as subtle as David’s use of he. It’s a subtlety worse among Bible bloggers than among Rhetoric bloggers or Philosophy bloggers or Chemistry bloggers or Mormon bloggers or Politics bloggers or Literature bloggers. I’m saying this from my own experience of several years of blogging, of listening in on blog conversations. Once upon a time, I myself did not use my nickname Kurk but rather went by my full name initials first, J. K. Gayle. Many assumed initially and incorrectly that I was a woman. Part of that was my blog’s name was Aristotle’s Feminist Subject. My experience in the Bible blogging arena is this: whenever a male blogger would discover I was a male, then there was a marked difference in how he would talk with me online. I’ve documented this. Men started reading my blog more knowing I was one of them. This is my experience among men blogging on the Bible. Whenever I drew attention to these facts of my experience, well then, all hell would break loose. It has not gotten any better, the unintended silencing of women blogging on the Bible, not in the months since. It won’t get any better, will it? What gives me hope is my experience that women are heard more by men in many other areas of blogging. Men, nonetheless, have the lock on blogging the Bible; speculate why all you want. Speculate all you want as to why this matters. Imagine all you can what it’s like to experience what Sue and other women have experienced. I think it’s mostly a very subtle thing, as big and as little as he.
Now, Gary, thanks for addressing me in the comments thread at David’s blog on saying what you mean and on not being mean. My experience is growing up bilingual, English and an Asian language. I went to a school, later, that used another Asian language. I happened to study a third Asian language in college (not Chinese because my American university didn’t have the world’s most spoken and most written language at the time); there I also began study of Greek. As a linguist, I studied Hebrew in graduate school. As a rhetoric and literature student, I studied Cherokee in another graduate school. I studied Chinese among friends. My experience. Sigh. It’s not everybody’s. So I’ll just be more careful drawing, or running, those semantic circles. I do find it a bit ironic, after your public plea to me, that Dannii, at Better Bibles Blog, would post today a language that very few have experienced in any way. I think I like that, I confess. And yesterday, I think I suggested I like davar more than monolingualism. That’s just my experience, and I don’t know what to do with it other than just to be more sensitive, more silent.
Now, finally, we listen in on Scout. She’s saying a lot in Harper Lee’s only novel. It’s in English, thank goodness. Although it’s been translated much. Actually, I’m out of time for now. Scout’s father constantly has to get her to mind her language, not to say hell and such. He’s intent on helping her not be mean, to say what she means. But her experience with adults, with teachers in school even. Let’s just listen in on one little thing:
“how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home?”
It’s an interesting question in my experience.