women say about 1% of total words in the Bible

"Women Get 1% of Words" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I read an interesting article that research was done on the Bible by Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, an Episcopal priest. She concluded that women only spoke about 1.1% of the all the words in the Bible. It was written by men for men.

She also concludes,

“Many of the female characters in the Bible go through what Freeman called ‘tremendous trauma,’ and have largely been silenced over the centuries.”

It’s no wonder, really, that women today find it difficult to have their voices heard, especially in the church. It’s the precedent. Even then, I claim, if they are given a voice, it is robbed of any power.

Voice and power.


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11 Responses

  1. Jill says:

    Just one of the myriad reasons why I have such an aversion to the bible. Even when I tried to claim a place in a progressive Christian church community, I could not tolerate the lack of female representation.

    Frankly, it’s just not enough that women are “allowed” as church leaders when they’re still expected to quote and derive counsel, comfort, admonition from a book written by men for men. It’s not enough that the Psalms have uplifting verse.

    No progressive Christian group has yet been able to give me reason to care about scripture when it clearly reflects a time and place where slavery, female oppression, *etc.* is justified. Even with the fluffy soft Psalms. /end of rant.

  2. David Waters says:

    Yet if women were to mass exodus today from the church it would collapse. Who is holding it up? Who is supporting it? Who is perpetuating and tolerating the crap? Thank you sir may I have another!

  3. esbee says:

    The same is true of race, sexual orientation and country of origin. The OT is a history book of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. To see what God had to deal with all you have to do is look at the Moslem world today. A very warlike, primitive and stubborn people, full of sin and ignorance and wanting their own way and of course, the culture of the day was that man was the head and lord of the house and women were chattel. God does not hold back on telling the good, bad and ugly that happened in those days. Of course, it all leads up the the birth of the savior, who was the first women’s lib.

  4. esbee says:

    If I may add, that as a women, I have more than made up for speaking my mind, which many men do not appreciate and wish I were more OT.

  5. Sabio Lantz says:

    All the more reason for women to boycott the sanctification of the Bible (an biased anthology).
    No Book is Sacred!

  6. Shazza tha dazzla says:

    Great post again David. I’m amazed by Rev. Freeman’s research. Why didn’t anyone think of doing that before???

    It reminds me of my time as an Ast Pastor when I was sent with 3 others to check out an “apostle” at his prophetic conference.. Our senior minister was wanting to align our church with his apostle-ship.

    Of the approximately 35 speakers, none were women. The apostle’s single core message is ‘sonship and fatherhood’. Chapter 7 of his book can be loosely summarized to say “Sometimes God chooses women as leaders if the blokes don’t man up. As church leaders that is, NEVER apostles. In those rare cases of female leadership, he gives men grace to submit.”

    I gave my report to the leadership board meeting. Of the 3 women and 1 man who attended the conference, I was the only one ‘with a problem’. The senior minister then said the apostle does NOT have a problem with women. The plans for the alignment went ahead.

    To be fair, the apostle also said in one sermon I heard that if anyone questions his message, they are already deceived. At least he was silencing men and women equally with that old chestnut!

  7. sgl says:

    you might like the following links about subverting the predominate gender roles, from Peggy Senger Morrison, “a motorcycling Quaker minister,” and also a “community college Psychology Instructor and administrator”:

    (and if you liked those, in a similar vein, but subverting race instead:
    http://sillypoorgospel.blogspot.com/2010/11/joyfully-subversive-african-edition.html )

  8. sgl says:

    oops, the last link in my prior message was to the wrong story; corrected below…

    (and if you liked those, in a similar vein, but subverting race instead:
    http://sillypoorgospel.blogspot.com/2010/11/subversion-shopping-edition.html )

  9. rhonda says:

    David Waters, unfortunately, you are correct. I used to be one of those women. I was always looking for the right place to fit in when things were uncomfortable. Sometimes I would ask what I was doing to inflame things, and other times, I would just say that this situation_________ is crap and move on. Something snapped in me one day that changed my relationship to the church forever. I didn’t immediately leave, but I’ve never joined another church since. I was at a ladies only bible study. They broke out the video series (from the 80s) of Beth Moore teaching, “Woman’s heart, God’s temple.” I’m not sure what the video actually said, but I still remember what I heard, in Beth’s accent, no less. Bless God, girls. The man is the head of the house, but I know how to manipulate that authority and still be submissive, technically. You see, the time my dryer went out, he told me we couldn’t get another one. I hung his underwear on the deer antlers in the living room. That’s how I got my new dryer. It had to be his idea. Ladies, when God created woman in the garden, he walked between Adam and Eve and joined them in covenant with each other and in covenant with him. We were made to be a man’s helper. We were made to serve him. If we’re not in a marriage relationship with a man, we are out of covenant with God.

    So, I didn’t put the words in quotes because it’s what I remember hearing. After having been in church most of my life, changing churches every few years, and never fitting in, this was my takeaway. I was angry. I TRIED IT THAT WAY!! IT DID NOT WORK! If I’m out of covenant with god because of a divorce and earning my own living, it’s not because I wanted it that way! As those thoughts welled up in my mind, angry tears started to spew forth with these words (which had never crossed my conscious mind before this incident), “WHAT PATRIARCHAL BASTARD DECIDED THAT’S HOW I NEED TO LIVE MY LIFE?” My voice had been overlooked one time too many, and now, I’M out of covenant with god. It was that moment I was done.
    I knew that I would not be heard as a person nor my ideas valued as if they came from a man. I eventually faded from the church as I realized that this really is how it is.