Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book

Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book

As I’ve said in other blogs, I appreciate the wonderful changes taking place in the world thanks to the advent of the Internet.  One of those changes is the way in which a single-author book, like Rachel Evan’s book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, becomes a multi-author ongoing conversation.  This short essay I wrote for my digital media class explains how this works:

I have first-hand experience with serial structure or “digital storytelling as ‘segmented art’” (41) as a blogger who gives voice to the de-churched ecclesia, one day at a time.  However, my readers have the opportunity to “connect these [seemingly disjointed] moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality” (41) through the structural design of participation also known as the “blogosphere.”  To demonstrate how this works, I will use the example of a chapter-by-chapter blog series book review I’m writing.

I got an email in October 2012 asking if I would like to be part of the launch team for Rachel Evans’ book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” which became a New York Times Best Seller in November 2012.  To me, being part of this team basically means, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  What’s in it for me?  A free book and maybe a little bit of increase in blog traffic.  What’s in it for her?  Free marketing.  I’m being totally transparent here.

“Biblical,” in my mind, is synonymous with “oppression.”  I’ve seen and experienced first-hand some pretty stupid ideas about what it means to be a Biblical woman.  “Biblical” is a hijacked word.  In regular blog posts, I have been approaching this subject from a first-person autobiographical perspective, but as part of the launch team, I have the opportunity to write from a third-person perspective in a social framework involving other bloggers and their audiences.  We’ve been linking to each others blogs, basically rewriting or editing Evan’s story within the frameworks of our own individual experiences in comment sections, on Facebook pages, Twitter, and other social media.  In other words, Evan’s book is no longer just a book with one author, it has mutated (in a good way) into something more, becoming a “multiple proscenia” (42) experience.  For example, I am only on chapter four, yet reading and viewing audiences across America have been exposed through People magazine, The View, CBC Radio, The Today Show, etc.  My blog readers may be experiencing the “timeshifting” (43) effect of multiple proscenia as they follow along with Evan’s book at the pace I have chosen to set.

In digital storytelling, Evan’s story evolves according to the “additive and expressive” platforms of those who present Evan’s experience in their own time and way.  The story evolves and expands in its many, varied retellings.  At first, the plan felt contrived from the start, like a publicity stunt.  I asked, “Is Evans REALLY trying to be that kind of woman? and if the answer is yes, SHOULD she?  If the answer is no, then what’s the point of the book?” I feel differently now, as is evidenced in this excerpt from my most recent blog post in this series: “Some church-goers think all hell will break loose if women wiggle their way out from under the patriarchal thumb.  It’s easy to forget that people still think, believe, and teach stupidity in little church-worlds that only allow people to think, believe, and teach said stupidity so that people like Rachel Evans have to endure a shit-storm of even more stupidity for daring to question stupidity.  Pack that religious junk back into the box and put it by the curb, because even GoodWill doesn’t want it.  It’s just a bad memory.  Time to move on, ladies.”

 

Works Cited

 

Alexander, Bryan. The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives With New Media. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2011. Print.

 

Evans, Rachel Held. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Hear, and Calling Her Husband Master. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2012. PDF.

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas February 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I like what you say about the notion of biblical womanhood and more generally about the use of “biblical” in reference to different social roles. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean that it’s reflective of the will of God for the ordering of relationships in the human family. The term “Biblical womanhood,” I agree, more often than not is used to refer to an unjust social ordering that in no way accords with God’s intention (seen in the creation narrative in Genesis and in the life of Jesus) for the relationship between man and woman.

    I like what you say by way of reflecting on your experience as part of the team chosen to review this book as an example of the new world of digital storytelling. What you describe in terms of the story evolving and expanding as diverse audiences join the conversation at different points, adding their thoughts and perspectives, is, I think, fascinating.

    I like, too, what you share about your own perspective on the book changing – from being critical and dismissive to being appreciative of the author’s willingness to challenge injustices and inequities (and the thinking that supports them) that continue to define gender relations in some churches today. And I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the thinking that keeps women in a subordinate role: “religious junk” that should be summarily tossed.

  • Bryan Alexander February 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Thank you for the citation. I’m especially pleased you used my multiple proscenia idea.

    • admin February 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Wow, I’m honored to see your comment here! I’m only a few chapters into your book. It is very good so far!

  • Lanny A. Eichert February 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Time to move on, ladies, and be vulgar and enjoy the corruptions of the world like Alice does as she divorces herself from the Bible and the Church calling it a conspiracy as justification.

  • Eshet Chayil « www.whatgoddoes.com March 18, 2013 at 12:40 am

    […] This is another blog post in a series reviewing Rachel Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood.  (Here are the other blogs, if you want to have a look: Three-Thousand-Year-Old Inferiority Complex, Girl Gone Mild, Martha Stewart Theology, Obedience: My Husband, My Master, and Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book.) […]

  • […] Inferiority Complex, Girl Gone Mild, Martha Stewart Theology, Obedience: My Husband, My Master, Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book, and Eshet […]

  • […] Inferiority Complex, Girl Gone Mild, Martha Stewart Theology, Obedience: My Husband, My Master, Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book, Eshet Chayil, and My Breasts Are Like […]

  • […] Inferiority Complex, Girl Gone Mild, Martha Stewart Theology, Obedience: My Husband, My Master, Bird’s Eye View of Rachel Evans’ Book, Eshet Chayil, My Breasts Are Like Towers, and I’m Too Sexy For My Tzniut.) Here is an excerpt […]

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