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Monday, January 15, 2007

gender-inclusion cont.

Let me just note that this post is about gender-inclusion small g. as was Wayne's. And, Wayne, hello-oo, I ALWAYS want to win.

Women are definitely first off the block in the language wars, no doubt there; but are men more logical and women more relational?! Let me say this - men are more logical to other men, and women are more relational to other women. Where that puts us, I don't know!

Here is a nice list that might illustrate my reticence on this topic.

right brain - left brain
nonlinear - linear
acoustical - visual
analogical - logical
inductive - deductive
concrete - abstract
mystical - causal
intuitive - rational
relativity - absolutism

This is not a list on gender differences. This list is from a book on pop cross-cultural psychology. It represents the contrast between east and west.

In my view, there is a master list somewhere, maintained by some select group of people, containing all those things which they want to be and those things which they don't want to be. They parade the list around in whatever context necessary. "The list" proves that certain people are logical and others are not. But eastern vs western, female vs male, traditional vs modern, who knows - just maintain the list and put a title on it when the need arises! That's my take.

However, I admit that there are indeed certain differences and for your edification, let me contribute a few pithy observations from Otto Jespersen, whose book, Language, I have been browsing through as I organize my library - a sort of early spring cleaning.

Jespersen writes here about the superior scores of women on reading tests.
    Not only were they able to read more quickly than men, but they were able to give a better account of the paragraph as a whole. ... But it was found that rapidity was no proof of intellectual power, and some of the slowest readers were highly distinguished men. Ellis (Man and Woman, 195) explains this in this way; with the quick reader it is as though every statement were admitted immediately and without inspection to fill the vacant chambers of the mind, while with the slow reader every statement undergoes an instinctive process of cross-examination; every new fact seems to stir up the accumulated stores of facts among which it intrudes, and so impedes rapidity of mental action.
In short, women read faster to fill the "vacant chambers of the mind" and they allow ideas to enter uncritically. If you are a man who is a fast reader, I have this piece of advice, don't ever admit to it!

    The superior readiness of speech of women is a concomitant of the fact that their vocabulary is smaller and more central than that of men. But again this is connected with another indubitable fact, that women do not reach the same extreme points as men, but are nearer the average in most respects. ... Genius is more common among men by virtue of the same general tendency by which idiocy is more common among men. The two facts are but two aspects of a larger zoological fact - the greater variability of the male.

    In language we see this very clearly, the highest linguistic genius and the lowest degree of linguistic imbecility are very rarely found among women. Lg. 253
Shall I continue? Let me not forget the most important insight of all.

    If we compare long periods as constructed by men and by women, we shall in the former find many more instances of intricate or involute structures with clause within clause, a relative clause in the middle of a conditional clause or vice versa, with subordination and sub-subordination, while the typical form of long feminine periods is that of co-ordination, one sentence or clause being added to another on the same plane and the gradation between the respective ideas being marked not grammatically, but emotionally, by stress and intonation, and in writing by underlining.
    In learned terminology we may say that men are fond of hypotaxis and women of parataxis. Or we may use the simile that a male period is often like a set of Chinese boxes, one within another, while a feminine period is like a set of pearls joined together on a string of ands and similar words. Lg 252.
By this token women should translate the Hebrew scriptures and men, the Greek scriptures. This bothers me. I feel that women should translate the Greek, and men, the Hebrew. What indeed is so feminine about the Hebrew scriptures vs the Greek scriptures - parataxis?

Who really wants to make a list of feminine traits vs masculine traits? That way madness lies, let me shun that. No more of that.

HT Wayne brought these related posts to my attention several months ago. Thanks, Wayne.

Sex & Language Stereotypes through the Ages
The vast arctic tundra of the male brain

These are offered for your entertainment.


At Mon Jan 15, 09:41:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

And, Wayne, hello-oo, I ALWAYS want to win.

Suzanne, so does my wife, but please don't let her know that I told on her.

Many women are competitive. And many men are relational. And some people are both competitive and relational.

Tendencies, tendencies. And the exceptions to the tendencies are fine. God has made such wonderful variety in his beautiful garden of people (and other created things).

At Mon Jan 15, 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Oh, I feel like such an awkward exception! ;-)

At Mon Jan 15, 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Oh, I feel like such an awkward exception! ;-)

So do I. That's why I don't really like sex stereotyping, in spite of my comments in my earlier post. What I really was calling for was including the gifts that women can bring to the translation table, all their gifts that can help create better Bibles.

OK, now I give up. You win! You can be the alpha dog and I'll roll over on my back. But would you please scratch my tummy (whoops, I have a belly) when I do. I can really relate to that!


At Tue Jan 16, 07:48:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


Don't you remember that the "dog" is a male canine. Thanks a lot - I can be the alpha b*****? Actually when we teach about animals in school we just say the alpha male and the alpha female.

I think this is enough of that - I'll try to take one foot out of my mouth without putting the other foot in. How about that?

At Tue Jan 16, 10:02:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Don't you remember that the "dog" is a male canine.

No, I don't. And I don't like to have to learn new meanings for words such as "dog." I'm content with the meaning I know. Don't confuse me with facts!

Of course, I extend this to not wanting to have to learn new meanings for words in Bible translations either. There, now we're back on topic.


At Tue Jan 16, 11:50:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

If we compare long periods as constructed by men and by women

Men have periods? (Lev. 15:19) Men have long periods? (Twelve years long?)

At Wed Jan 17, 08:17:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I feel a headache coming on. Do men also get headaches?

At Wed Jan 17, 08:41:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Do men also get headaches?

Sure, if our testosterone spikes and we can't rush out to club some animals to bring back to the family.

At Wed Jan 17, 01:31:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I feel a headache coming on.

The famous Talmudic sage Rav said that he can tolerate any pain except headache (B. Shab. 11a). Another famous rabbi suffered from headaches for seven weeks following his drinking of the four prescribed cups of wine on the first night of Passover (Ecc. Rabbah 8:1; B. Ned. 49b). Yet another Talmudic sage was unable to wear the head phylactery during the summer because his head was heavy from the heat (Y. Ber. 2:4). The final illness of Titus, in which a gnat flew into his nose, ascended into his head, and gave him incessant headaches, is vividly depicted in the Talmud (B. Git. 56b). An eminent rabbi cried out that the generation of the deluge brought headaches on humankind (Gen. Rabbah 34:11). A king once reminded his son about the place where the latter had a headache (Num. Rabbah 23:3).

One cause of headaches is the blowing away of the froth or foam of beverages such as beer or mead (B. Hul. 105b). Divinely induced headaches require repentance and the performance of good deeds (B. Shab. 32a). When Jabez prayed to the Lord to keep evil away from him (1 Chr. 4:10), he was referring to headache (B. Tem. 16a). Another remedy for headache is to study Torah (B. Erub. 54a), because the words of Torah are an ornament of grace on one’s head (Prov. 1:9). The standard medical therapy for headache was to rub the head with wine, vinegar, or oil (T. Shab. 12:11; Y. M.S. 2:53). A person with a headache should imagine that he is being put in irons (B. Shab. 32a).
Someone with a headache is exempt from living in a sukkah (booth) on the Festival of Sukkot (B. Suk. 26a). One should not visit patients with headache because speech is said to be harmful to them (B. Ned. 41a). Perhaps they prefer to lie quietly without speaking. The name of King Ahasuerus, associated with the holiday of Purim, is interpreted to mean headache inducer (Hebrew: chash berosh) (Esther Rabbah 1:3; B. Meg. 11a).

Plethora or an excess of blood is the cause of many illnesses (B. B.B. 58b) including migraine or hemicrania of the ancients. People or animals with congestion or plethora were placed in cold water to cool off (B. Shab. 53b). Once such an animal cools off, its flesh is not harmful for human consumption (T. Hul. 3:19). A variety of folk remedies are detailed in the Talmud to treat blood rushing to the head and migraine (B. Git. 68b). Animals with plethora were also treated with phlebotomies (T. Bek. 3:17). Leprosy is said to be caused by plethora (Lev. Rabbah 15:2; B. Bek. 44b).

Let me know if I can be of any further medical assistance.


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