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Opening Arguments



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.

I don't know if this truly is sexism, as the writer suggests, or just a clumsy response to a perceived problem. Sure is dumb, though. The only way categorizing authors makes sense for me is to do it by genre. That way I can browse through the detective or science fiction or western sections to check up on any favorites. Some of the best detective novels these days are written by women. There are a few female standouts in science fiction, but I think the men still have the edge there. And I can't remember a single western ever written by a woman. Or does Willa Cather count? Get with the program, ladies.