Confessions of a Sexist Blog Reader

I have a rule. The rule is that I only put up links to blogs that I read in my Bloglines reader. It’s not a perfect one to one correspondence, but I see no need to clutter our blog with links just for the heck of it.

And then I noticed a problem. Shoot, I only read blogs by men. Many of them are in my age group even. A few women have made the list of course, my favorites being Maggie Dawn, 802 Online’s Cathy Resmer, and Natasha Tynes. But when it comes to reading Christian or emerging church blogs, the list still has a large number of men on it. On one hand, this does make sense since most blogs in this category seem to be by men. I doubt that women are being intentionally suppressed or anything of that sort. The bigger problem is getting the men to notice the women who are blogging.

And concerning Christian/Emerging Church Blogs Especially . . .
The next question is, “Who defines the standards of a ‘good blog’?” I confess I’m stepping into a black hole of sorts, but I can’t help thinking that women seem to blog . . . differently from men. Perhaps men are more detached, while women are more present emotionally. I don’t mean this as a critique, but there have been times when I have read a woman’s blog and thought, “Whoa, that is too much personal information!” It’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s a matter of what people begin to accept as a norm. And if women blog differently, that may mean that men, who seem to do the majority of the blogging, are less likely to notice them. Why? Because they have different standards for a good blog and unfortunately their standards may have taken over.

It’s a theory, but there has to be something to it. There are countless other reasons for these trends, but that’s my two cents.

In order to branch out and read some noteworthy women’s blogs, I did a bit of searching last night and I think I have found a few blogs that are different from what I would usually pick, but quite good:

Hard Soap Girls: This is a group of four women from all over the world who blog together on life and Christianity. The title comes from a great C. S. Lewis quote about not peddling soft soap Christianity. They do some good reflection on scripture and talk very frankly about their lives. The glam shots on the “about” page were a little over the top in my book, but I guess they work.

Lynne Taylor: Not to be known only as “the wife of Steve Taylor,” Lynne has a great blog where she records her thoughts on church planting, spirituality, and life. She’s been blogging since February 2004.

If anyone else has some thoughts on why the blogs of women are tough to find in the emerging church conversation, I’m open to suggestions. For now, enjoy these fine blogs and check out my blog log for a few more women bloggers of note. There are a few other I’m keeping on the back burner for now, but may add in the future.

11 thoughts on “Confessions of a Sexist Blog Reader

  1. Kim

    my limited observations:

    I think men tend to report on what they think they’ve figured out and women tend to write about what & how they are experiencing something. And where do you guys get all the time to blog?

    The technology is relatively new, so to have an established blog, you’d have to be kind of cutting edge with other geeks, which I’m sad to report is still mostly men (at least for my generation).

    There are still minefields out there. There is so much encouraging conversation going on in emerging, but then you read Mark Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reforming Rev and think yikes – what’s that about. "I explained to Grace that her primary ministry was to me, our child, and the management of our home…" pg. 102 How enriching?

    Subtle discrimination is so woven into the fabric of an organization’s status quo, that even women who feel the impact of these insidious, indiscernible barriers are often hard-pressed to know what hit them, say the writers and professors at the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons Graduate School of Management.

  2. carolineingle

    it would make sense that you are reading mostly men because the proportion of men to women in ministry is quite staggering. we welcome you to join us in our conversation!

    i have run across many great female bloggers. you can find some through the emergent blog or will share a few with you as well.

    may our blog encourage you to bring life and open doors to women around you walking in the way of Jesus. listen to her. she has many important things to say.


  3. Makeesha

    I appreciate your honesty :) I would agree that the biggest issue is that the numbers are against us. I’m a woman and the church/faith related blogs I read are almost all authored by men simply because I find blogs through the links on other blogs…it perpetuates itself.

    I also agree with what Kim wrote.

    I don’t think I write all that differently from many male bloggers I read that write about similar things so I’m not sure I can support that theory…not personally anway :)

  4. sylvia

    It’s really going to take a few brave men to open the doors. Sounds like you are willing to be brave.(?) If women are invited into the conversation–no matter how emotional we can be–it will be a broader, richer, better conversation. For so many years the church has been operating with one hand tied behind its back–not letting women have a voice. But, this is the time for us to all put our money where our mouths are and let all the voices be heard. Thanks for asking the question!

  5. Makeesha

    I think it’s important to recognize how often we dismiss voices that are unlike our own. Just because women’s voices are different doesn’t mean men should just stick with what’s familiar…I mean, can you imagine if women did that? "I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, you sound like a grunting jock" For one thing, we’d never go to church since most of them are dominated by men. We’d never read theology since most of it is dominated by men. We’d never go to the doctor or listen to our husbands for that matter.

    So personally, I find the whole "women write differently" to be a pathetic excuse.

    The bottom line is that who you choose to listen to is just that, a CHOICE. And if men (or women) are not giving women a voice, it’s their choice, and it’s a bad one.

  6. Julie

    I agree that it is about who you choose to listen to. If you only like listening to voices you already agree with or that sound like your own, then there will be no diversity or growth.

    Also where do the men find all the time to blog??? Do they hole up in their offices and count it as work? Or ignore their family while their wife is going nuts so they can play online? if I had a good hour a day, I’m sure I could put more on content on my blogs, but most of the time I can just manage a comment or two.

    I think if men started reading women’s blogs and providing links to them from their own blogs, the voice of women would begin to be heard and maybe over time it would not seem so odd or foreign.

  7. Ed Post author

    Wow, so many comments and so little time to reply! I’ll try to follow up on some of the comments here next week with some more posts that will do more justice to their points. Thanks everyone for adding your thoughts to the discussion. I did want to reply to one comment by Makeesha:

    "So personally, I find the whole "women write differently" to be a pathetic excuse."

    I think I’m misunderstood here. I’m not trying to offer a pathetic excuse for not reading women’s blogs as if to pardon myself. It’s an indictment of myself. I’m trying to get inside of my own head and figure out why I’ve been reading blogs only by people like myself for so long. I wrote this post because I am changing my ways and am tyring to discover what makes me tick. I’m not trying to shrug off women by saying, "They’re different, and that sucks for them." I’m trying to explain my own failures and the failures of others. I don’t think my theory applies to all women and it’s probably wrong anyway, but it’s my little attempt to figure things out.

    If you notice, I have been adding some women to the blog log on this site. I have also been reading more blogs by women. I’m trying to be part of the solution here.

  8. Cathy Resmer

    Hi Ed, thanks for linking to and reading my blog. Just wanted to point out that my name is spelled with a C, not a K.

    There are fewer women on *my* blogroll, too, and I read everybody who’s blogging in Vermont. I think there are just fewer women out there doing it. At least in Vermont.

  9. tammy

    in my experience, women tend to blog like they talk -longer stories, more details, lots of emotions, and the whole story instead of the conclusion.

    men don’t have the patience for that sometimes.

    these are generalizations only – i recognize that.

    another thing i notice is that men tend to have a blog that is about a defined topic. women tend to have a blog that has attention deficit disorder.

    that is yet another generalization, so don’t try to engage me in a debate about gender roles! 😀 i am sort of a feminist, so i get it. ha.

    these reasons are simple additions to the above stated reasons. it all adds up to men being more obvious in the world of blogging.

    i’m trying to change that so check out my blog. 😀

  10. sandyleemaginity

    It pays to read both from men and women. There is a different perspective and you may just find that you learn more a bout God that way.

  11. Janice

    This is a great discussion and goes – for me – hand in hand with the post I just read and responded to over at emegentvillage. Something about women’s roles.

    I agree with you that women blog differently (9for the most part) and I think it has to do with the fact that we ARE different! Created different by God Almighty and thats OK!! I, for one, can revel in the differences and appreciate them and be thankful for them and enjoy my woman-ness. I’m far from being a ‘girly-girl’ or all pink and sweet…..but I am woman! (hear me roar?)

    Rather than look to find ways to purposefully bring women to the forefront (gender affirmative action?) why not just encourage the women in your sphere of influence and L-l-ladies!? (TurboJam anyone?) Heads up! TAKE your seat at the table. Step up and let your voice be heard! The more we speak, the more they will listen.

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