Men on ‘Top’: ‘Where are all the Christian women bloggers?’

Men on ‘Top’: ‘Where are all the Christian women bloggers?’ September 29, 2012

As Church Relevance faces another round of criticism for it’s latest male-dominated list of the “Top 200 Church Blogs,” Kent Shaffer looks to dig his way out of the hole with a post titled “An Open Letter to Christian Women Blogs.”

It’s not a terribly constructive response, although it does helpfully provide a neat illustration of why the critics are right.

This “Open Letter” praises “how far women’s rights have come,” and laments that “the inequality gap is still and may always be a great chasm.” And if Church Relevance’s list reflects that great chasm, that’s hardly their fault, right?

I mean, look, Church Relevance is focused on leaders — top-level, influential, transformational, inspirational, highly effective leaders. What could people like that possibly do to change the status quo?

Here’s a bit more from Shaffer’s “Open Letter” and from his earlier response to the same criticism: “Where Are the Top Christian Women Bloggers?

Almost  every  time  I  update  the  Top  Church  Blogs  listone  question  arisesWhere  are  all  the  Christian  women  bloggers?

We  are  not  trying  to  exclude  womenand  since  starting  the  listhave  spent  over  100  hours  trying  to  find  blogs  written  by  womennon-whitesand  non-Americans  that  fit  the  topical  scope  and  have  high  enough  traffic  to  make  the  rankings.

Historicallymen  have  occupied  the  overwhelming  majority  of  church  leadership  positionsAs  most  of  you  knowthis  disparity  is  deeply  rooted  in  denominational  and  theological  beliefsAt  the  same  timethere  have  always  been  more  male  bloggers  than  female  bloggers.

…  Within  the  church  blogosphereI  expect  that  for  every  female  blogger  excluded  from  the  Top  Church  Blogs  listthere  could  very  likely  be  3+  male  bloggers  excluded.

There  have  always  been  more  male  bloggers  than  female  bloggersAnd  there  have  always  been  more  male  church  leaders  than  female  church  leaders.

It’s a great chasm and there’s nothing to be done about it — at least nothing that influential, highly effective, Top Ministry Leaders can do.

(OK, too much cutting-and-pasting of links. Hands … cramping ….)

[UPDATE: A more convenient list of all the blogs linked above is available here.]

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  • vsm

    I’d of course be happy if you were proven right, but I find it unlikely any campaign to educate people could be that effective. Someone will always do it anyway, and the result is generally going to be uglier when it’s a man. Lowering the amount of domestic violence cases should be possible, however.

  • Lori

    I really couldn’t believe when Palin tried to play the mom card on Biden. I remember thinking that she apparently needed to write “Was a single parent after the tragic death of his first wife” on her hand with all her other little notes.

  • This was freaking brilliant, Fred. Well done. Well done.

  • Dan Audy

    From what I’ve seen vsm that isn’t necessarily true.  Victims of female perpetrators of domestic violence tend to suffer injuries that show bi-modal distribution with a high early peak and a moderate late peak.  That is to say they most frequently cause minimal physical damage (throwing objects, ‘light’ punching) or less frequently cause significant physical trauma (use of knives, guns, or other weapons to offset their ‘physical strength and size’) with almost no moderate injuries (sprains, dislocations, fractures).  Victims of male perpetrators of domestic violence on the other hand suffer injuries that have a Rayleigh distribution with a early peak and a gentle tapering tail.  This means lots of minor injuries, a moderate amount of moderate injuries, and quite few very serious injuries.

    Overall I think education and measures to escape domestic violence have been quite successful but still have a long way to go.

  • Thank you. 

  • Ymfon Tviergh


  • Janel A

    i am a little slow. LOVED this. thanks for all those links.

  • Took me a minute to figure out what you had going on with the links, but now that I get it, I might reblog this on Monday; seems a shame to let all that work go to waste.

    The list does seem skewed toward American male Calvinist bloggers. I addressed the latter situation in a post on mine that noted there tend not to be (as an example) a lot of Salvation Army bloggers because while everybody else is talking about their faith, these guys are out doing their faith. 

    And you’re addressing the male/female situation here.

    So it’s the American thing that bothers me. I wish I could find some solid British bloggers that wrote within an Evangelical context, not a Church of England context. Or good writers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. They exist, yes; but they’re hard to find.

  • B

    Re: Biden’s gaffes — I have read speculation that (at least to a certain extent) that might be part of the point: Biden can say things that SOMEONE needs to say and the White House gets a certain amount of plausible deniability because, hey, that silly Biden always sticking his foot in it, right?

  • Carstonio

    The reason I mentioned Sarah Palin is that I suspect that female officeholders in the GOP tend to be more centrist than their male counterparts, although I don’t have statistics proving or disproving this. If true, perhaps such women rightly perceive that the positions of people like Ryan are raw deals for women. Palin and Bachmann would be vocal exceptions, because these two are demagogues first and foremost. So it’s reasonable to similarly suspect that female Christian bloggers may be less Calvinist or pseudo-Calvinist, mostly or partly because that type of theology focuses on shaming female sexuality.

  • Great compilation/rebuttal. Thanks for this – and for spreading the word with all those links!

  • thebewilderness

     No, he lost to himself for plagiarizing a speech. Oddly enough in today’s political climate it would be no big deal. At the time it was a very big deal.

  • Sorry, by “go to waste” I meant, “not be maximized.”

  • The_L1985

    So, what are you on, and where can I get some? :)

  • The_L1985

     Actually, the fact that the average man is stronger than the average woman causes problems for men who are raped or physically abused by women.

    They are treated as if they are weak or unmanly for “letting” a woman overpower them.  Or they aren’t believed in the first place, because “women just aren’t that strong.”

    For rape, there’s the added stigma that men are supposed to always want sex, and women aren’t supposed to want it as much.  When a woman is raped, it’s a tragedy, but when a man is raped “you just KNOW he really enjoyed it.”

    I consider elimination of domestic violence to be a very distant goal.   We probably won’t achieve it within our lifetimes, but that doesn’t mean we’ll never get there.  And we’ll never get there if we don’t start working now to change people’s attitudes about domestic violence.

  • This is genius. I love subtle irony. Well done.

  • Maureen O’Brien

    Most of the blogs I read are by Christian women bloggers, and most of them have really good readership numbers. Soooo it looks like another case of “The Women Men Don’t See.” (Not the greatest sf story, but  the title does seem to apply to most Internet proclamations about how  women don’t blog.)

  • Joshua

    Victor’s been posting for a long time, at least as long as I’ve been here, and he’s always been friendly, never rude or abusive to anyone.

    I find your comment to be kinda rude.

  • “The Women Men Don’t See” could be the alternate title for “The City and The City” by China Mieville. (It’s a speculative fiction story based on the premise of a pair of cities occupying the same physical location, a bit like East and West Berlin, but without the wall. Instead, the two cities and their peoples interleave, living in physically adjacent buildings, driving down the same physical asphalt, but are legally required to not notice each other or interact in any way.  There might be a person whose house shares the same physical bricks as yours along one wall, but you are not allowed to notice him, or even knoiw he;’s there unless you leave the city and go through customs to enter the other city, whereupon you can’t see your house any more.)

    (The whole point of this digression is that it reminds me a lot of some of the things we’ve often addressed here such as mansplaining and the conservative christian ability to maintain a shocking ignorance about things even as they study and obsess over them as threats to their way of life)

  • Joshua

    Psalm 109:8 Pray for Obama? Is that actually a thing?

    Because, if so, it’s ironic that the speaker’s main problem with the ruler seems to be v16: 

    For he did not remember to show kindness,
    but pursued the poor and needy
    and the broken-hearted to their death.

  • EllieMurasaki
  • Joshua

    I thought bullet-repellant was the main factor in choosing a VP candidate, actually, from Dan Quayle on.

    Dan Quayle
    Dick Cheney
    Sarah Palin

    Your bullet makes this person President.

    I guess by that logic, Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice than Joe Biden. Seeing as the black rage guy from Chasing Amy was presumably unavailable, being fictional and all.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I clicked through the the Church Relevance blog wherein I found the criteria to get on the list:

    To put it simply, a blog is a “church blog” if it offers content that is useful to ministry (according to my subjective opinion).

    If Kent largely finds the opinions of male American Calvanists useful to ministry and female, non-American non-Calvanists less useful, it says more about him and his idea of ministry (and “useful”) than the bloggers, imo.

  • Joshua

    Oh dear, HTML fail. Italics should have ended between Amy and was.

  • Carstonio

    The traditional goal of picking running mates was to balance the ticket, broadening the appeal by including someone from a different faction or different region. Quayle and Palin were generally attempts by old-school conservatives to appeal to more extreme elements in the party. Quayle’s father was a Birch acolyte. Gore was an unusual choice in that respect since he and Clinton had similar backgrounds and ideologies.

  • Dan Audy

    Victor behaves in a profoundly unhinged and antisocial manner.  I don’t think that gently mocking him is any more out of line than doing so to THAT GUY who shows up late to a party drunk and on drugs and starts yelling random crap while people are sitting around trying to talk.  While it may be slightly rude, it is hardly undeserved.  Being a long term annoyance to the community with his incoherent rantings that rarely touch, let alone contribute, to the discussion isn’t something I find valuable.  Even anursa occasionally contributes something worthwhile to the community while Victor’s posts are worth less than URL-shortening service spam we get.

  • Joshua

    Well, that sucks.

  • This type of disingenuous “well, we just looked and looked but we couldn’t FIND any” wailing always makes me think of the discussion of the literary canon from about the mid-80s on. The professor dudes were all, “Is it our fault if all the really really important books just happen to have been written by white guys?” To which the response is, “Yes, it is your fault. Because you’re the ones who decided where to look and what constitutes really really important.”

  • Ericka

    Sometimes women leave their post from lack of esteem of role…..”Land of Diminished Distinctions” says so much that Christian women need to read. Check it out :)