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Feb 08 2013

No Feminists at Beliefnet

Beliefnet, in its own words:

Beliefnet, a property of BN Media, LLC, is the most comprehensive online resource for inspiration and spirituality. With a mission to help people find and walk a spiritual path that instills comfort, hope, strength and happiness for people who are exploring their own faith or are curious about others, Beliefnet is the leading source of information spiritual information presented without a defined editorial point-of-view. Whether you’re looking for spirituality, health and wellness, entertainment or more, Beliefnet has something for everyone. [emphasis theirs]

Kristine Holmgren, in her own words:

As a pastor — especially as a woman pastor — the Rev. Kristine Holmgren is used to being in the public eye.

In addition to speaking from the pulpit, Holmgren has reached people across the country through the informally syndicated column she wrote for the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune and as a commentator for National Public Radio.

That exposure has perhaps helped prepare her for her newest venture as a playwright.

Sounds like a match made in that heaven they share a belief in, right?  Well, not according to the news from Jim Romanesko.

I love “Sweet Truth” however I would suggest changing the tag line or deleting all together as I’m concerned about the negative connotation that our readers may associate with the word feminism. In addition, we’ll want this blog to focus more on Christianity/spirituality as opposed to issues related to feminism. What do you think of simply “Sweet Truths with Kristine Holmgren”?

“I think we need a conversation about this,” Holmgren told Kirk. “Please phone me.”

The pastor/writer says she asked Kirk over the phone why she had a problem with “feminist.” The Beliefnet marketer said she didn’t, but that “we know our readers are offended by the word.”

I frequently disagreed with Holmgren when she wrote for the Strib. Much of the time, though, it wasn’t about the issues. It was about her idea that God was necessary for someone to come to the conclusions she came to–despite the fact that I reached many of the same conclusions uninformed by any faith. The disagreement with Beliefnet is of an entirely different stripe, however.

I spoke a few moments ago with the contact at BeliefNet. She told me – not only can I not use the word “feminist” in my title, I cannot use it on the blog.

“The word offends so many people,” she said. She said I should come up with a word that was “softer.” I told her I didn’t think there was anything “softer” than feminism; a word that denotes equality for men and women and respect for children and families. She said “I agree, but. . . ” so I told her their inflexibility on this was a “deal breaker.” She regretted my “feeling” on this (by the way – – this isn’t a “feeling.” It’s a “thought system.” Some people’s kids!!! ) and said, “We can conclude this without rancor.” I said, “Oh, no we can’t.” I’m writing about this one.

Good for her. I can certainly empathize. Hopefully as she writes about it, she’ll pay a bit more attention to what Beliefnet does consider an acceptable blog name for a female blogger:

  • A GLAM Girl’s Guide to Life
  • A Simple Life, A Childlike Faith
  • Angels on Your Shoulder
  • Beginner’s Heart
  • Beyond Gorgeous
  • Happy Haven
  • Heloise Hints
  • Life as a Conscious Mom
  • Mommy Monologue
  • Movie Mom (No, there are no daddy or father blog titles.)
  • Our Lady of Weight Loss
  • Prayables
  • Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Maybe she should notice, too, that their advertisers include Focus on the Family. (It’s the readers who are offended, is it?) Perhaps then she would understand what the belief industry is about. It certainly isn’t feminism.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Martha

    Oh, damn. I was going to convert to Christianity so that I can talk about feminism without subjecting myself to harassment and abuse. I guess that isn’t such a great plan after all. Who knew? /snark

  2. 2
    Martha

    If only some in our community would read this article and recognize themselves in the mirror. Just substitute “atheism/skepticism for Christianity/spirituality. MISSION DRIFT is a sorry excuse for Beliefnet, and it’s a sorry excuse for us, too.

  3. 3
    Raging Bee

    Didn’t Beliefnet used to be more eclectic and less exclusively focused on Christianity? I vaguely remember Pagans getting good information from there, at least back in the ’90s.

  4. 4
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Oh, how I am offended. Lord, deliver me from this word.

  5. 5
    Kristine Holmgren

    I’m surprised that you never liked my stuff! “It was about her idea that God was necessary for someone to come to the conclusions she came to–despite the fact that I reached many of the same conclusions uninformed by any faith. ” Never, never did I write any such clap trap. You should google my name sometime. I bet you’ll change your tune. Meanwhile, I love your stuff! – Carry on! – K

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    Kristine, I did try that before posting, but your recent work is what turns up, and I ran out of time on break. I’ll go back and look some more, though. Memory is notoriously faulty, and I may well be confusing cultural subtext with your text in looking back. It’s been years.

  7. 7
    Kristine Holmgren

    I don’t recall a single social commentary I’ve ever written, ever (with the exception of my many, many sermons during those thirty years of preaching – and direct response to some of the letters I’ve published over the years!) that referred to “god.” If you find one, please enlighten me! And I admire the “athiest” and “humanist” communities in the Twin Cities – for a short while, I worked at First Unitarian! This is a baby and bath-water discussion, I think – - we’re much closer than you know. Cheers!! – K

  8. 8
    Margaret

    “Life as a Conscious Mom” — This is to distinguish it from all the blogs by unconscious mothers?

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