Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ETS, Evangelical Theological Society, Michael Bird, SBL, Society of Biblical Literature, women
Michael F. Bird (Evangelion) notes that, of 700 papers to be presented at this month’s Evangelical Theological Society Conference, he recognises that only 8 are by women. There may be a few other women’s names that Michael acknowledges he does not recognise, but let’s not quibble over details. That’s 1%!
How does the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting compare? Taking as a sample the first two pages of the Participant List, I get 40/137 on page one and 40/137 on page two. That’s 29%.
In most disciplines, that’s just below the percentage of women who are members of the faculty – and this with the inclusion of up-and-coming female students.
Why? Given the dominance of Christians at SBL, and the dominance of males in positions of authority within Christianity, is the percentage of women presenters a product of this demographic?
(And on a related issue: why is the local U.S. meeting considered the annual meeting of a purported global body, and not the international meeting?)
I prescribe a large dose of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for all attendees at ETS and SBL this year:
Deane’s a bit girly. Mike probably overlooked you.
Mindless Berlusconi Yoof said:
Interesting arguments the F-Bird makes for why women should be attending the ETS; “Not everyone at ETS is a “hard” complementarian /,,,/ Some complementarians are “soft” in the sense that they permit women to have pastoral and didactic roles in the church except that of senior pastor…” … but then yknow some complimentarians simply insist on rubbing themselves up against you just to prove how “hard” they really are, cupcake.
4. “If you don’t speak out for women’s issues among evangelicals, then who will? Not count on me, I’m male, and I’ll be too busy going to the various receptions and browsing the book exhibits, so it’ll have to be you girlfriend!”
5. Look on the bright side, ETS means no big ques for the bathroom!
Imagine if this was about race for fuck’s sake….
imagine if he made the argument that not everyone at the conference was a “hard” white supremacist, some “softies” were quite happy to let them coloured folks have pastoral and didactic roles in the church except that of senior pastor. And since I’m a whitey and I’ll be “too busy” to speak out on the issue, “it’ll have to be you my nigga!”
And think how short the lines will be for the “coloreds only” bathrooms!
I mean this is just hopeless.
Well said, Yoof. The whole egalitarian versus complementarian debate reminds me of the time I watched Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber.
Uuugh – is this men rubbing themselves up against men therefore (what with women not wanting to get too near to them)? I can’t remove the image from my otherwise pristine virginal mind. Your consistent misspelling replacing the ‘e’ with an ‘i’ is effective and appropriate I suppose considering the compliments the gals ‘ll be gettin’ is ‘nice tits doll’ blabla blabla.
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Eric Repphun said:
Nice catch. This is even more disturbing when you consider that most mainline Christian denominations are largely populated by old ladies (this is not an insult, this is the demographics of church attendance in the west for most of the last century).
This is another reason (as if we needed another reason) to say simply and brooking no argument: the ETS is not a scholarly body and should not be treated as such.
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Chris Heard said:
These percentages would be more enlightening if they could be compared to the percentages for membership as a whole and for submissions to this particular meeting. For example, if 50% of all proposals were submitted by women, but only 29% of presenters are women, that means something very different than if 29% of presenters are women, but only 20% of the proposals were submitted by women. Do we have any way to learn whether the gender percentages of presenters is wildly out of line with the gender percentages of proposed presenters, or of the membership in general?
A comparison of male versus female submission success might be one indicator of overt sexism. But overt sexism is not the problem to which I was alluding by noting the low 29% participation rate by women.
The low, 29% rate is highly meaningful in itself when compared with other fields, in which participation is generally significantly higher (e.g. 41% at AAR) – as this indicates the systemic sexism which exists in the field, and also in Christianity. Sexism is not merely, or even importantly, a matter of the conscious prejudices of some individuals in rejecting proposals, but the structural obstacles that are preventing women from participating at the Society of Biblical Literature.
In the 2010 Society report, 23% of members were female, reflecting this structural sexism in the field. Now, you might say that isn’t it great that there is no overt sexism in rejecting submissions by women, and in fact the acceptance ratio is in women’s favour – but this would be to ignore the elephant in the room, which is the structural sexism which excludes women from the field in the first place.
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