“The End of Men” in the Biblical Studies Carnival
This hatefulness in online social life is one reason why it troubles me to read triumphalist “end of men” and end of feminism pieces about how women are the big winners of the 21st century…. [O]nline life … seems to have unleashed or amplified misogyny. Maybe that misogyny is no worse than before, and it’s just found a new, powerful megaphone. Or, maybe the medium is the message, and the misogynistic feeling itself has fed off of new media…
— Pamela Haag, “Reports of Men’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated,” Bigthink
Scroll through the titles and subtitles of recent books, and you will read that women have become “The Richer Sex,” that “The Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys,” and that we may even be seeing “The End of Men.” Several of the authors of these books posit that we are on the verge of a “new majority of female breadwinners,” where middle-class wives lord over their husbands while demoralized single men take refuge in perpetual adolescence. // How is it, then, that men still control the most important industries, especially technology, occupy most of the positions on the lists of the richest Americans, and continue to make more money than women who have similar skills and education? And why do women make up only 17 percent of Congress?
— Stephanie Coontz, “The Myth of Male Decline,” The New York Times
It’s just a little slice of something just a little bigger. I’m talking about the “Biblical Studies Carnival.” It’s just a sliver of “The world of biblioblogs.” Yes, we understand that somebody for the Jean and Alexander Heard Library of Vanderbilt University has created its online research guide for the Hebrew Bible that has a tab called “Blogs” that starts: “The world of biblioblogs is large and growing.” When you click the hyperlinked word biblioblogs, you go to the relatively new wikipedia entry that somebody has written. Reading what is written there, you get what is meant in the other place by “large and growing.” So, when you scroll down the Heard Library page at this site, you see a number of blogs listed that do a fair amount of blogging, biblioblogging, on the Hebrew Bible. And we a BLT are honored to be included this short, growing list. To be very clear, the short list is merely “a sampling of blogs that address the Hebrew Bible or related fields.” The maintainer of this list, furthermore, is careful to add: “Every effort is made to include only blogs which are substantially on-topic and updated regularly.” If Hebrew Bible blogs are not your normal online hangout, then please know that we’re just about to host the next “Biblical Studies Carnival.” And we want there to be a lot of useful understanding about what that means, and how welcome you might or might not feel.
So let me circle back around to the issue of the “Biblical Studies Carnival.” As with much online social life, there’s a culture to this little slice of blogging of the Bible. And you already know where I’m going with this post, since you’ve read the two epigrams above, respective statements from Pamela Haag and Stephanie Coontz. Haag and Coontz have nothing particularly to do with either biblioblogging in general or the monthly round of up blogs called the “Biblical Studies Carnival.” And yet they’re respectively speaking to the culture of sexism in “online social life” and among USA “Americans.” My co-bloggers and I have no interest baiting bullies or getting into long and laborious wranglings with those who openly or inadvertently leave people who are women out of biblioblogging or out of the fun of the “Biblical Studies Carnival.” We are not particularly hoping to review the sad cases of the past, in which female bloggers have been snubbed.
But we don’t want to forget lest we repeat the past. And we also want us all to be aware of the ongoing problems of sexism in the Bible blog listings. As we all blog and engage together in online community, we do want to be aware of the trends, the challenges, and the changes. We want only the best in the most inclusive senses of “the best.” (We want to say that we’re not interested in either the continued end of women or in the possible end of men either.)
Very soon we hope to announce an October theme as we request your nominations for the next “Biblical Studies Carnival.” Whether you are a woman bibliloblogger or a man biblioblogger, we want you to know how very much we value your insights and your voice. We’re excited about the theme, and we hope you will be too.