I’m spending the weekend on a content and authorship analysis of the Ensign, trying to look at trends by comparing every fifth (maybe seventh) year of the magazine’s publication. I’m still in the first part of the coding, going through the issues from this past year. While it wasn’t originally part of the data set I’m collecting and I haven’t yet looked at any patterns in the numbers I’m getting, I’ve developed the subjective impression that women’s articles of any substantial length are almost certain to include with inset sub-articles which consists of a GA statement about the article’s topic. These are separate insets, mind you; they aren’t quotes contained in the articles.
When I first noticed this, it really bugged me, mostly because it’s comparatively rare that such insets are printed with pieces authored by men. “What,” I thought, “Men can make a point by themselves, but these women can’t just say what they’re going to say? They have to receive a clearer official endorsement than publication in the Ensign?”
I began to look closely at the articles with such sub-articles, though, and I’ve realized it’s more complicated than that. Female-authored Ensign articles are overwhelmingly written as personal narratives. While they are often moving, edifying, and well-written, they aren’t very likely to make any sort of general point about life, doctrine, or anything else. The supporting GA sub-articles seem to be included to provide readers of these articles with a generalizable idea, because the authors weren’t writing with such a purpose in mind.
Oh, the exciting world of Taryn’s weekends. Maybe later I’ll do something really thrilling, like cleaning my fridge out!