Sexism and biblioblogging: adding my two cents

There was a recent discussion about sexism and the blogosphere. An interesting comment in that was whether there are as many female bibliobloggers as male ones, and the female ones are simply much less visible – mostly because of their work on marginal/niched subjects and because they aren’t linked in the primarily male networks.

One reaction to that is, not surprisingly, the question of whether this has to do with sexism or only with numbers. One could argue that the lack of female bibliobloggers, especially a lack in the top 50, has more to do with a lack of females in the academy. This does not have to deny that sexism exists and that is unfortunate that more women’s voices are not being heard. I have been following the discussion somewhat, and I thought I would contribute – although at this point, due to the speed of blogging, my contribution is a bit of ‘old news.’

I’m joining in the conversation as a female who generally agrees with the point in the last paragraph. As a female, my voice is harder to dismiss as belonging to a male chauvanist [and even if I would argue that by saying things more graciously most males would be heard better, most do not strike me as chauvanists]. And as a biblioblogger, albeit a fairly quiet one, who is part of the academy, I’d like to share my own experience (and thoughts).

Although I would say it is possible that biblioblogs by females are marginalized, I would not say that it is due (primarily) to sexism. Blogs that focus on topics which do not receive attention by many bloggers will receive little attention or links. Blogs about topics whose main discussors are female will generally receive little male attention. That’s simple mathematical logic and not in itself sexism – whether these topics are receiving the attention they deserve is more worthy of discussions about sexism.

Furthermore, the possible anonymity of blogging and the widespread availability of things on the internet make it difficult for sexism in the blogosphere to prosper. Due to the widespread nature of the internet, one does not need to be part of certain groups in order to be found through searches – and one can become a quite ‘popular’ blog irrelevant of whether one has been connected to by certain networks.

To share my own experience, I’ve been made to feel welcome in the sphere of biblioblogging, especially as this is an endeavour I am still somewhat tentative about. After starting a biblioblog, I made the list-keepers aware of my blog and I was welcomed with open arms, even receiving special positive mention on a number of (primarily male) blogs. And I’ve heard and seriously considered heeding the special call directed to female bibliobloggers to host a Biblical Studies Carnival – it’s just the amount of work involved that scares me off. And in this special call for females to host, alongside other small asides, I’ve sensed a bit of disappointment from many (male and female) that there are not more female bibliobloggers out there. In this way, I’ve felt welcomed and have the sense that my perspective is desired.

But I’m not sure if I can really contribute an answer to the question of why there are so female bibliobloggers. Perhaps I will use a different blog entry, at a later date, to explore that question further. The question of why there are limited evangelical females in the academy has been addressed well by Nicola Hoggard Creegan, and Christine D. Pohl in Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical women, feminism and the theological academy. The prevalence of sexism in the academy is described well by “Female Science Professor,” whose blog is devoted, not to science, but to her experience as a female science professor. See a recent entry on sexism.

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