Monday, 17 January 2011

Blogging, Women and Spirituality

Apart from being sexist, narcissistic, ageist, technophobist, and other such labels that I read last week [none my own, by the way, before you start gusset-spinning], burloguing is a diverse thing. Even in the religious-stroke-Christian-stroke-Anglican sphere, it is a many splendoured thing. (Please allow a moment for the harps, lyres, timbrels and lutes to finish their embellishments). 

Well, it struck me over the Festive Period (needless capitalisation?) that this pastime has its own spirituality. Further, a blog-debate ensued over the course of the last few days that seems to have added to that notion in my tiny mind, at least. 

As a 'stats person', I read numbers. They speak to me, man. So, I know that when I publish a post on a normal given day, that a normal given number of normal given people will read the normal given post. On occasions, I will tread on a toe, spit in an eye, or knee in the balls with my words (often quite unintentionally) and would then see spikes in numbers. During a period of communal vacation (as Christmas is for a lot of people, who take more time off than in normal weeks) there was a distinct lull in visits to this site, and two others under my own jurisdiction. This suggested to me that the reading of blogs takes place more in the workplace, or during 'working hours' - and if I am right in that, it is important. Once the holiday season was ended, numbers returned to former levels. If I am right, why is it that people read blogs at work? What does that say about the implicit spirituality of blogs? If this is the case, and in line with church life as a whole, should blogs be attentive to the working lives of its readers, not just the bit of them that finds expression for an hour on a Sunday? (My standard line on people and work is that we know that Jesus was a carpenter, his trade, even when know little else about him as a human - so trade/work life is important to who we are.) These are questions as yet without answers.

Last week taught me too, that there is a 'sisterhood' in blogging. Since a debate that commented on the (alleged) minority status of female bloggers took place, a plethora of women have spoken on the subject in their blogs (and not men, excluding me, if I count). It clearly resonated. I wonder if a blog post was written about male bloggers, whether a procession of boy-bloggists would champion its cause? I sense not. 

A casual look across followers-lists (which are only partially representative) suggests to me that blogs are read more by women, female bloggers more so. This is perhaps inevitable as we only read what feeds and edifies us, though Dear Reader, I am again wondering why you are here with me now. Nutter! In short, if we didn't focus on just blog-writers, but paired down the people involved at both levels, writing and reading, I believe that the majority would be female. Is blogging therefore an art that has a more female spirituality? Again, a question without an answer. 

I have not yet read a post or article on blog-spirituality. Writers will be quick to tell you why they write, and it is for selfish reasons with tinges of altruism. I have no problem with that. But the art as a whole must have a spiritual dimension. Why did people start reading blogs in the first place? Are followers following because of the momentum of the cyber-age? Do people want spirituality dished up outside of organised religion (though if that is the case, why are the ordained read so much?)

So many questions, all wonderfully deep and all beautifully interesting. This post is a note-pad for thoughts, not a proclamation on the subject. Thoughts, people?


  1. Interesting...particularly as my thoughts have been tumbling round similar issues.

    I hadn't come to the term 'sisterhood' in my mind but I think it's certainly true that for some women blogging has a lot to do with community - comment exchange, mutual encouragement seem to be motivating factors in female blogging in general (although obviously all Generals have Exceptions!). Is it something to do with how we 'bond' - mainly through conversations and sharing confidences, perhaps?

    I'd agree that people do seem to read blogs more during the working week - for instance, there's often a lull in visits over weekends as well as holidays.

    Re your comment: yes, I also am wary of distinctions. Sometimes we end up drawing completely unnecessary lines. It all becomes too much about how we treat women and men and less about how we treat people.

    Having said that, I think there are deep problems when it comes to a church that is often too 'feminine' for men to relate to, and that this can get a bit lost amid the gender debates (which tend to be over the treatment of women). There's an irony in there somewhere, I'm sure.

  2. I follow (the blog that is) in an effort to learn & be prompted to think about matters that would otherwise pass me by. As someone who misses the daily interaction with grownups in the work place, reading & interacting with blogs helps in keeping me in touch with 'out there' SM

  3. I seem to have problems leaving comments on your blog. I don't know why. Blogging, to me, is a way of analysing my faith and distilling my belief within a community of like minded people. The female dimension, in my case, is relevant because I am not able to get out much in the evenings due to having a child to look after. Blogging allows me to interact with a community.

  4. CL - They seem to land, but I have to approve them first! All good reasons, though I would challenge you to dip outside of your 'like minded people'. I interact very healthily and gladly with a number of atheists, for example - they teach me much!

    Lucy - thanks for your comment and for following. And to all that you say, Amen and Amen

  5. Only just got round to reading this, a year later! It set me off on a train of thought that I'm starting a series of posts about - oh well, better later than never!



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