Why A List Without Women is like a Town Without Pity
Happy Women’s Month!
Whoo-hoo! Look how far we’ve come!
Every year, women get their own month, week, and day to be recognized for our achievements. What an honor! It so makes up for 5,000 years of oppression.
International Women’s Day, March 8, has been celebrated in the US since 1911, a decade before American women got the vote. The first annual Women’s week happened in our own sleepy little county of Sonoma, California, back in 1978, and eventually the week got nationalized in 1982. The actual month of Women’s History came about in 1987 in the US and in 1991 in Canada.
Ironically, in this bright new 21st century, the world is spend 1/12th of the year celebrating the same people who are marginalized the rest of the year.
I guess you could call that progress.
List without women
Some say women’s progress can measured in the board rooms, the class rooms, in Congress and culture. Me, I take my measurements in the lists.
As something to read, lists are especially popular on the internet. Everybody loves lists. I love reading lists, and in every people-centered one I look for the women. If there’s no women, I scoff. Any generic list that is not based on scientific data has got to have a woman on it or it’s suspicious.
Why? Because it’s the 21st Century, for crying out loud. Women are half the world’s population and we are way too integrated into business, politics and culture to be excluded from any general list.
And when I find a list without women, it makes me mad and I tend to complain. That happens about 10 times a year on average.
Most recently I was shocked by the lack women on a list called The Top 10 WordPress Teachers on the Internet, a topic close to my heart.
Not that I didn’t agree there were fine men on the list. It’s just that containing zero women told me that someone didn’t think very hard when he made this list without women.
My shaming tweet got a quick response from the site owners, Cloudways.
“Thank you for noticing it Mari. Actually we are in process of curating a list of female WordPress influences.”
Oh, right. It’s like an online orthodox synagogue. Men here, Women over there.
Then, the list author, @AhsanParwez, tweeted.
“Hi I compiled list of WP teachers on Web. Sorry it didn’t contain any Women, but we have it planned for Women’s Day.”
So, said women’s list is scheduled for the only day of the year people show concern about women. That’s like saying I Love You only on Valentine’s Day.
Ok, so Cloudways March 8 post was nice – though fluffy – but it was kinda like make up sex.
The fact is, women don’t want to be in a list of their own. We want to be part of the same list as men. Like, integrated, dudes.
As Cate Blanchett recently said at the Oscars, and I paraphrase here, films about women are not niche experiences.
Every day should be Women’s Day.
I think that they just don’t think. And that is the problem.
Men don’t think of women as authoritative, if they think of them at all. And male minds raised on internet porn are more prone to being crowded by other kinds of thoughts about women.
Men only see each other as worthy of attention and this shit has got to change.
Women should have at least a 25% representation and preferably 50% in any cast, symposium, talk show, Google hangout, Meetup, compilation, or tweet up not specifically geared to men if a society wants to call itself modern. Otherwise, we may as well start addressing each other as “thee” and “thou” and challenging our critics to duels at sunrise.
The fact is, women’s status can be directly measured by the number of women’s voices heard on any given day.
When it comes to WordPress
But the tech world is different, right? More progressive than the rest of society, aren’t we?
But what about the upper echelons of WordPress, the guys at parent company, Automattic? Do they ever think about women? They seem to think a lot about jazz.
Over half of today’s bloggers are women.
Still, out of twenty-four named WordPress versions, only two are named for women jazz artists. So few, I can name them in one sentence: Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae. That is about 10%. Hardly representative.
I know that this version naming business is superficial and largely symbolic, but it means something and shows a lot.
In response to my rant about women jazz names two versions ago, Matt Mullenweg told me in an email that he’d “think about it.”
I was heartened for a while, but then again, there’s that thinking stuff I mentioned.
If you’re wondering what all this has to with the 1961 film noir, A Town Without Pity, please go to IMBD and draw your own parallels.
How about you? Do you notice lists without women? And does it irk you too?