Since the beginning of time, women have not been men. It’s a fundamental point of our species, really, in the same way that men aren’t women. However, unlike the fact that men aren’t women, the idea that women aren’t men is something that a lot of people are still very keen on focussing on.
Take Wikipedia, for example. They’ve recently started mass‐migrating the names of American women novelists out of the category ‘American Novelists’. It’s all right though ‐ apparently ‐ because they’ve now got their own category ‐ ‘American Women Novelists’.
This annoyed quite a few women, who, for some unimaginable reason, didn’t want to be defined by the fact that they were not a man. I consider myself to be a pretty well adjusted ‘Not a Tomato’, and so I cannot imagine why these not‐men might consider it offensive to have to constantly be described and categorised in relation to what they are not. Hell, we’re all ‘Not Koalas’ here. Can’t we just get along?
Of course, what the above paragraph meant to say was, yes, this is absolutely ridiculous. Wikipedia has responded to the furore that has been created amongst these ‘novelists who aren’t toasters’. It seems as though it has recently created the page ‘American Men Novelists’ and begun migrating some of pages across (note: I’m assuming that this is a newly created category, as all the articles on the gender segregation topic reference the fact that there is no ‘American Men Novelists’ category). The other thing Wikipedia has done is to reconsider the idea, and is currently discussing the idea of putting all the pages in the ‘American Women Novelists’ category back into the main category.
Whether or not Wikipedia’s decision sticks is really beside the point. What it highlights is a general attitude that certain occupations are roles for men, and that a women doing any of these is therefore somehow an anomaly. So if a man writes a book, fair enough, that’s what men do. If a woman writes a book, it’s worthy of note that she’s a woman (sorry; not a man) because…erm…well…because women aren’t natural, or something.
We might as well just go the whole hog and introduce a rule that says every time a woman tells a man that they have written a novel, or are going to write a novel, he must pat them on the head and say ‘Aww, good for you’.
I had intended to write a more in-depth post on why ‘Category: humans/Sub‐Category: Men/ Sub‐Category: Humans Who Aren’t Men ’ shouldn’t be treated like anomalies, but quite frankly it’s baffling that it should even need to be spelled out.
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