Who doesn’t love a good, harmless political faux pas?
(Well, maybe not the person who committed it, but you know.)
Romney’s “binder full of women” comment was classic, vaulted to internet fame by Twitter. Before you could say “open mouth, insert foot,” this Tumblr site had cropped up, featuring a distraught Ryan Gosling and incredulous Patrick Swayze.
“Hey girl. I won’t put you in a binder.”
“No one puts baby in a binder.”
It’s all in good fun. Mostly.
This morning, Karen Spears Zacharias jumped on the #binderfullofwomen bandwagon by posting a pic of her favorite books by female authors. Now THAT is a binder I can get behind! Here’s mine.
Of course, this sampling is woefully insufficient, particularly since so many of my books are on my Nook, and my brother STILL has my copy of My Antonia. Still, a handful of my favorite books, and books that have had a significant impact on my life, are represented here.
Here’s what struck me, though. As I scoured the shelves that hold my school books, my texts on theology and history and sociology and anthropology, I was only able to find one book by a woman, a novel based on a female anthropologist’s experiences in West Africa.
I’m sure there are many reasons for this. Employment prospects have not traditionally been bright for female theologians, and the rise in female seminary students is relatively recent. Heck, it wasn’t that long ago that many seminaries wouldn’t even let a woman in! Female theologians are massively outnumbered, especially in the older generations, the generations we look to for wisdom, insight, and experience.
And of course there’s the fact that when it comes to religion, people just don’t seem take women’s words as seriously as they take men’s. A recent article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin made this point eloquently.
IN RESPONSE TO my recent memoir, Breaking Up with God: A Love Story, several reviewers came close to calling me stupid. Many suggested I didn’t know what I was talking about. As the title of the book suggests, I used the analogy of a romantic relationship gone wrong to describe my faith and its dissolution. These reviewers seemed to believe I understood my metaphorical romantic relationship with God to be a literal one. They wrote about me as if I actually thought God was my real boyfriend, as if I sat around waiting for God to take me to the prom and just couldn’t understand why my date never showed up. Silly girl.
Even though I have two graduate degrees from Harvard—including a doctorate in theology—many reviewers failed to treat me as a scholar of religion. The reviews were infantilizing and patronizing.
You can read the rest here.
Despite the article’s depressing expose of the barriers women writing on “serious topics,” especially theology, still face, I was left feeling hopeful. 50 years ago, the secular publishing houses were run by men. Now, most agree women are running the show. And to keep things in perspective, let’s remember that less than a lifetime ago, our grandmothers weren’t even allowed to vote! We’ve come along way, baby, and we’ll storm the walls of the academic publishing houses just like we did the polling places, the colleges, the workforce, and the commercial fiction markets.
So what are you waiting for, ladies? Start sorting your words, your heart and your intellect into the binders of your choice. Let’s do this thing!