Gender equality? "No thanks!" says Wikipedia.
Novelist Amanda Filipacchi recently noticed that the list of female authors on the “American Novelists” page of Wikipedia was magically shrinking. Wikipedia administrators were moving authors like Harper Lee, Louisa May Alcott, and Ayn Rand from the main page to a subtopic page, “American Female Novelists,” starting with the As and Bs, and moving down the alphabet, essentially erasing women from history. And not just on the American Novelists page; female authors from Haiti and other countries were also being bumped to subtopics on their respective pages to “make room” for all those amazing male writers who get to go under the banner of “Novelist” (but not, Filpacchi notes, under “Men Novelists”).
This is like saying you enjoy reading Young Adult fiction as well as Young Female Adult fiction. In fact, as a teen or teen woman, you might even know what it’s like to walk the earth and the female earth and notice small differences in things like skis and women’s skis, or rollerball pens and female rollerball pens, or nothing-for-men and scent-erasing Summer’s Eve wipes for women. After all, we are all people or females.
Filipacchi emailed a crew of writers and the outrage quickly built to the point that Wikipedia apparently set the wheels in reverse, putting “American Women Novelists” back onto the main page. But it does have us wondering, how have women gotten this far in history without female cars or female books or hotdogs for women or iPhones for girls or a fluffy/glittery/purple alphabet or a pink theory of relativity?? ZOMG and Women’s ZOMG!
Seeing as Wikipedia is in retreat, this will likely just be a blip in “herstory,” but it seems like a nice moment to think, just briefly, about what all those authors were up against in a publishing industry run by people of the XY variety. Really, it boggles the tiny, floral female mind.
What do you think about relegating females to special subcategories, Sparklers?!