After trying out the GenderAnalyzer, courtesy of TallSkinnyKiwi, I decided to get a bit more serious and see how it worked, or at least how it was supposed to work.

In the process I came across a number of articles, including What Men and Women Blog About and Of Men, Women, and Computers: DataDriven Gender Modeling for Improved User Interfaces. The conclusion? While some stereotypes are just that, stereotypes, there are gender differences.

One interesting finding was that women tend to use more pronouns than men, and younger men used them more often than older men. Another was that feminine writing focusses more on the days-of-the-week, while masculine writing tends to focus more on months-ofthe-year. Women, it would seem, are more here and now. But the big difference seemed to be women expressed themselves more in terms of particularities, men more in terms of generalities.

This would match my own anecdotal observations of Christian bloggers, that men tend to focus much more on theology and politics, women much more on personal stories and struggles. I suspect that’s why men tend to dominate discussion on missional ecclesiology, its not that there’s active discrimination against female voices, its that there simply aren’t as many women interested enough in the subject to blog so extensively about it.

10 thoughts on “Gender Differences in Blogging

  1. I had a crack at the same analyser, coutesy of Scott McKnight’s blog. Mine came in at 57% feminine (neutral really).
    I’m always interested to see what kind of model sits behind the analysis though. I figured that the many references to ‘football’, ‘politics’ and ‘conflict’ would’ve given the game away.. . but it seems not.

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  2. Interesting. Mine came in as strongly masculine. Much more than I expected in fact. But on reading the article I wonder if its precisely because I aim for neutral, unemotive language when discussing very emotive topics.

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  3. Someone from your part of the world once remarked that the “emerging church” movement was predominantly white and male.
    From my own observations I would certainly agree with the former, though I’m not so sure about the latter.

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  4. The voices are predominantly white and male, even though there are plenty of women involved. This is part of the reason behind my own abandonment of subcultural church (more typical of the emergent stream) in favour of multicultural church (more typical of the mosaic stream). Subcultural approaches tend to reinforce the divisions in society; baptise them if you will. Its now obvious that emergent is not transcending gender and racial disparities. Fresh thinking is required.

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  5. In the Pretoria (South Africa) emerging blogging circles, we have our token female Cori. Her research was on non-violent communication, and therefore she has not only a sensitivity to gender issues, but also some knowledge. In conversation to her we came to the same conclusion regarding the male predominance in more theological kinda emerging discussions.

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  6. For feminine voices to become more prominent I suspect there would need to be a shift in what sort of conversations were considered “important”. Though I have to wonder whether more archetypally feminine conversations are not inherrantly self limiting. Female conversations tend to be more rooted, more relationally embedded. I wonder whether that inground resistance to decontextualization and abstraction acts against mass circulation and linkage?

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  7. might there be some other reasons as well. My feeling, as a I read Christians blogs is that a lot of female bloggers either don’t work outside the home, or are in fulltime ministry. I wonder if the tone of female Christian bloggers who work fulltime might be different – assuming there’s enough to make a decent sample (and they aren’t too busy with a job AND all the housework).

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  8. Getting a decent sample. Yes, a challenge. I don’t know too many male Christian bloggers who get decent stats who’d fit that bill. Don’t you find it amusing that most of the voices for the ‘leaderless churches’ in Gibb’s EC book were pastors? How many were lay guys like me?

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  9. I tend to post a fair bit of absolute rubbish, if I can be bothered blogging at all… so I suppose I fit the pattern of not being overly concerned about politics. I think I tend to hang out on Al Hirsch’s blog because I know him, not because I have any kind of politcal agenda (although I’m naturally opinionated so I tend to rave on there a bit.) Still, I have trouble taking blogging very seriously… for me it’s just a bit of fun.
    My anecdotal feeling confirms the pattern… men blog differently to women. Viva la difference…

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