I Am the 1%: Why a Man Reads a Women’s Blog

why a man reads a woman's blogToday I’m happy to welcome Tim Fall to the blog. Regular readers will no doubt recognize his name from the comments. I asked Tim to share why a man would choose to hang out at a women’s blog, and I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say.   

Years ago in law school, before I met my wife, I sat down with some classmates in one of the study lounges. They looked at me and said, “Tim, you know that this is a meeting of the Women’s Law Student Society, don’t you?”

It appeared I was the only male present. “Women Law Students?” I asked. “Well, I do have an interest in the subject matter.”

They laughed and let me stay.

Nowadays people sometimes mention that I seem to show up a lot at blogs written by and for women. Those are not always the same thing, of course. And I don’t frequent such blogs exclusively. But I do frequent such blogs, it’s true.

Anne asked if I could talk about why. Here goes.

One of the first websites I latched on to is that Jane Austen haven known as The Republic of Pemberley. It is run by a committee of women who initially gathered to discuss all things Austen and that’s how I found it, by googling “Jane Austen.” Austen is still the main thrust of the site, but they also host discussion boards on television and movies (the Virtual Views board), books modern and ancient (the Library), and mere rambling topics (appropriately called Ramble). I’m not the only man there by a long shot, but we are clearly a minority.

RoP, as it sometimes called, was my introduction to an estrogen-heavy web environment and I found the experience–in turn and in combination–invigorating, challenging, edifying and (dare I say it) nurturing. For years, RoP was almost my only site for web interaction. It’s not that I didn’t know other sites, blogs, etc., existed. I just never bothered much looking elsewhere. I’d venture out occasionally, but never for long.

Then I discovered women’s theology blogs. Not blogs about women’s theology, but theology blogs written by women. You know that part about invigorating, challenging, edifying, and nurturing that I mentioned in relation to the Jane Austen website? These places do that and crank it up to eleven.* Not all of the women’s blogs I’ve come to visit regularly are always heavy on theology, but they all have a faith component, whether subtle or blatant, that keeps me coming back

You see, I have been around long enough** to know that women can have a perspective on God and life different from what a group of men might come up with. Men also have perspectives that perhaps most women would not see among a group of women. But I’ve had endless opportunities to be around groups of men. These blogs give me an opportunity denied to men in other eras. I get to be around groups of women who are talking about things in ways men have not always been privy to.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the discussion going on at these women’s blogs doesn’t sound all that different at times from what is talked about when it’s men who are gathered together. That doesn’t surprise me, though. All my life some of the best insights I’ve received have been from women’s writing and, of course, some of the best has also been from men’s writing.

Still, there are some differences. And it is those that keep me coming back specifically to women’s blogs. Men can write all they want about the Proverbs 31 woman, for example, but it took a woman to explain that perhaps that biblical ideal is not about women at all but about wisdom personified. I learn things at places like these that I will not learn elsewhere.

Plus, frankly I just enjoy the discussion. I enjoy the opportunity to learn and, I hope, contribute. I enjoy encouraging the writers and other commenters, and I enjoy the encouragement I receive from them. I guess what I’ve learned is this:

Women’s blogs: they’re not just for women. And I’m glad.***

*Bonus points for everyone who can name that film reference.

**Turning 53 in January. I see myself in the mirror and despite the fact that I am somewhat goofy looking I also consider myself remarkably well-preserved. For a goofy looking guy.

***I’ve written a number of guest articles for women’s blogs, sometimes on a particularly woman-focused issue and sometimes on theology or family or work or exercise or food or whatever generally.

Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for 25 years with two kids (one in college and one just graduated, woo-hoo!) his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California. Visit Tim’s blog here

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Comments

  1. says

    Enjoyed this, Tim. :) I don’t write my blog specifically to women or men, it’s just written to me. Something for me to look back on and remember a lesson that I learned. If someone else benefits from it – praise the Lord. :)

    • says

      I’m right there with you, Carrie. I may visit a lot of blogs written by women, but I am not looking necessarily for blogs written for or about women (any more than I read a blog written by a man because I am somehow looking for a blog written for or about men). I like good writing, good ideas, good conversation. I’ll take it wherever I can find it. And my interests are not confined by some idea of what-men-like any more than it is by a notion of what-women-like, so that means I might end up at a place like MMD here.

  2. says

    I am often surprised when men comment on my blog or FB page. It kinda makes me chuckle. I joked with a guy friend last night that he should write a book about becoming Mr. Mom. He and his wife just reversed roles, and she is working full time and he is homeschooling the kids and keeping an impeccable house. :)(I was there last night and his housecleaning skills seriously put me to shame.) He joked that he had been waiting for an invitation to write on JFD’s…to which I just cracked up. And, now, today…I find this. Glad you wrote. :)

  3. says

    And I thought Tim was just some guy who had a crush on you Anne! ;)

    “Men can write all they want about the Proverbs 31 woman”
    Proverbs 31 was written BY a woman… you probably know that but for those who don’t, I thought I would mention it. It was advice on how to choose a good wife by the mother of King Lemuel. “The words of Lemuel the king, the weighty message that his mother gave to him in correction.” :-)

    Some of my favorite blogs are written by men, I love their ability to write honestly without concern about offending anyone (women tend to pussyfoot around more, pardon the expression). That’s refreshing.

    That being said, I’ve also seen some truly awful male dominated blogs. Just as you can be a feminist without being a man-hater, you can be pro-men (and talk about the importance of men and fathers) without insulting women as if they were a subspecies. Some of these would have you believe that “men are better than women” and that all women are princesses, money grubbing golddiggers, abusive parents, or sluts. So disappointing.

    After all, the opposite of a man is not a woman. The opposite of a man is a boy.

    • Anne says

      “The opposite of a man is not a woman. The opposite of a man is a boy.” Interesting, Carrie. I never thought about what the “opposite” of a man was before but I like that.

      and

      “Some of my favorite blogs are written by men, I love their ability to write honestly without concern about offending anyone (women tend to pussyfoot around more, pardon the expression). That’s refreshing.” Yep, I see this at play online, too. (And in my own tendencies!)

    • says

      Carrie, I like how one translation puts Proverbs 31:1 as being from his mother’s “inspired utterance”. I think the Proverbs 31 woman, though, is less a description of the ideal bride (as that would only lead to disappointment) and more a description of wisdom as she was personified in the opening chapters of Proverbs.

      But putting hermeneutics aside ;-) I’ll say that there are a number of blogs written by men that I have had to stop reading. Incendiary rancor just doesn’t lend itself to good discourse.

    • says

      I’ll admit it is one a grew up loving and quoting and then I moved to small town Idaho and miss being able to reference it and have others grasp the joke.

      • says

        I feel your pain, Jennifer. To have a good joke and no one to share it with is one of life’s tragedies, isn’t it?

        Now tell me the number one must count to before throwing the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

        • says

          3! Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less.
          Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.

          Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.
          Five is right out.

          Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.

          And watch out for those rabid rabbits!

          Also, love your insights :)

          • says

            Emily, simpatico Sister! “Five is right out” is one of my favorite lines from the whole movie, even more than “What are you gonna do, bleed on me?” and almost as good as “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”

            You do recall the name of the one who warned them about that rabbit with the pointy fangs, right? “There are some who call me… Tim.” Always loved that guy, because there are some who call me Tim, too.

  4. says

    I really appreciate your perspective on this, Tim. I wish more men felt/thought the same way (lucky for me, I married one who does!). I come from a very WASP-y church tradition, and our seminaries and presbyteries seem to be filled with older, white men.

    Thanks, Anne, for posting this! Great stuff. :)

    • says

      “… older white men”

      *cough, cough* Not that there’s anything wrong with them, of course.

      Love your blog, Rachel, because you write about family in a way that makes all comers feel welcome, men women, old and young.

      • Anne says

        “Love your blog, Rachel, because you write about family in a way that makes all comers feel welcome, men women, old and young.”

        Now THAT is high praise!

  5. says

    Tim, it’s fun to hear why you frequent women’s blogs. When I first noticed you on various women’s sites I did wonder a bit, only because it’s rare. But then I quickly thought, “You know, these blogs are written by interesting ladies with wise perspectives. More men should be hanging out here!”

    • says

      “… interesting ladies with wise perspectives.” Yep, yours included, Lesley. And I wholeheartedly agree that more men certainly should be hanging out in those places!

      • Anne says

        “You know, these blogs are written by interesting ladies with wise perspectives. More men should be hanging out here!”

        Love it :)

  6. says

    I really appreciate my male readers. I don’t understand why so few men are willing to read women’s blogs and books. Sure, there are many that are written specifically for women by women, so maybe it is too much trouble for men to sift through. But Tim, you do seem to have a sense of calling to encourage women.

    • says

      Maybe it is a calling of sorts, Aimee. But when I am able to read someone who goes as deeply as you do in the word and faith and relationship with God, I can’t help but be encouraged myself. Also challenged, and edified, and at times sent slightly off-kilter from what I thought was a good course and then realized I needed to re-think things based on what you wrote.

      If the people here reading MMD haven’t hit your Housewife Theologian blog yet, they should!

      Tim

      P.S. You know what I like about encouragement? It’s so encouraging!

      P.P.S. I tend to like tautologies.

  7. Jeannie says

    I’ve only been hanging around the faith blogosphere for a few months but right away I noticed your presence, Tim: consistently encouraging, warm, and funny. Kind of like a friendly brother-in-law. I’ve really enjoyed your posts and comments, and have been drawn to some other very interesting blogs as a result. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  8. says

    Tim, I believe you have the spiritual gift of encouragement–and I for one appreciate you using it to edify women who are trying to write theology-type blogs. Your insights are always appreciated.

    • says

      Keri, I not only read women who are trying to write theology type blogs, I read women who succeed at writing well and clearly on doctrine and theology. You are a case in point, you know!

  9. says

    Thanks Mrs Pate, and good to know about your lineage. Do you also happen to own a T-shirt that portrays an exact replica of your inner structure? Me neither but it would be nice to have one, green of course.

  10. says

    Tim, you’ve been a wonderful online friend and cheerleader for so many of us. There probably aren’t many guys who would find their way to faith and theology blogs written by women via a blog dedicated to all things Jane A. I’ve been on the receiving end of your kind words on numerous occasions – and it is wonderful to find that you’ve blessed so many others with your encouraging engagement with their posts.

    You are a true Barnabas!

  11. Amy says

    Tim, I know you from the her.mi community as a faithful encourager. I’m constantly impressed by your kind and thoughtful comments. It’s great to see you here explaining why. Thanks!

    • says

      Thank you Amy. If I am able to engage in thoughtful discussions at these blogs, it’s because of the great and thoughtful writers and the gracious and thoughtful commenters like you.

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