I JUST noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too. The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible. Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.
The category “Person” is looking a little crowded…
Could we make a subcategory for “American Men Novelists”?
The press is overstating this a bit, it’s not orchestrated from grand on high. It’s a few people who tried to offload an overcrowded category but didn’t make a men’s subcategory too. It’s not some sort of high council decision I’ve seen incensed writers complain it is without really knowing how wikipedia works.
Yeah, except that was what was automatically chosen by a few people (regardless of lack of high council) to do. It’s indicative of sexist societal thought processes. Men get to be defined by their field of work, women get to be defined by their their gender then their field of work. It’s socially acceptable to categorize and define women based on their gender and that same thought process doesn’t apply to men. It wasn’t a mistake or oversight that they also didn’t create a men’s subcategory - that would not have been a socially acceptable way to handle it. The implication being that “American Novelist” is, on it’s own, seen as a “male” category. That a woman doesn’t get to be compared, compete, or even count on the same level as a man. There’s no overstatement about how it. If this were the ONLY case ever of this kind of thing happening, sure, but this is not an atypical situation.
And this “press overstatement” is exactly what is changing this, as in people have gone back and edited the category to correct this sexist nonsense. The article linked doesn’t show any fundamental misunderstanding of the way that wikipedia works at all. Suddenly finding the suggestion that there is somehow angry over-the-top reactions to this in and of itself sexist.