Wikipedia Removes Female Writers From Its 'American Novelists' Page
Yesterday, the encyclopedia website Wikipedia came under fire for removing ALL female authors from their 'American Novelists' list page, The Huffington Post reports. The authors were moved to an 'American Women Novelists' list instead, effectively segregating males from females.
Elissa Schappell, contributing editor for Vanity Fair, explains Wikipedia's move:
It would appear that in order to make room for male writers, women novelists (such as Amy Tan, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt and 300 others) have been moved off the "American Novelists" page and into the "American Women Novelists" category. Not the back of the bus, or the kiddie table exactly--except of course--when you google "American Novelists" the list that appears is almost exclusively men (3,387 men). The explanation on the pages is that the list of American Novelists is too long, therefore sub-categories are necessary.
Once news of this blatantly sexist move got out, a firestorm brewed on the Internet. Editor Ellen Datlow, authors Elizabeth Hand and LitReactor's own Kat Howard voiced protests on Twitter, amongst others. Publishers Melville House wrote "'American women novelists' is a code phrase for 'to be ignored' right?"
It seems female writers are trickling back onto the page, but to undo this kind of damage, Wikipedia will have to crank that proverbial faucet full blast. The explanation that the page needed some housekeeping isn't good enough. Why not remove every African American writer, for instance? The backlash to a move like that would be equally fervent and justified.
Anyone else care to weight in on this topic?
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