Online reference source Wikipedia has often come under attack based on its policy of allowing the average user to edit entries, leading to the conclusion that some of the information contained on the site is potentially inaccurate. Nevertheless, it has become one of the primary destinations for individuals seeking quick access to information regarding any number of subjects.
Despite the site’s overwhelming popularity, at least one segment of the population has decided it is in dire need of a makeover. Feminist groups from at least 15 American colleges have joined forces to combat the perceived male bias present among the site’s editors and page layout.
Portland State University held a recent workshop called “Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Art and Feminism,” which sought to encourage women to replace content they deemed sexist with information reflecting their own cultural views.
Similar events were planned at other schools across the U.S.
One participant explained that the website is “aesthetically very masculine in its design,” while activist group Eyebeam claimed Wikipedia articles are inherently biased against females.
The organization claimed that there are “more articles on notable women missing when compared to Encyclopedia Britannica,” offering the conclusion that “Wikipedia is clearly skewed.”
In addition to the women involved in this campaign, men including Northeastern University assistant professor Joseph Reagle have interjected their opinions regarding the site’s apparent sexism. He suggested that a “’brogrammer’ locker-room type of environment” is preventing females from participating in the effort.
A number of schools are continuing activism on the issue that began last year. A number of schools gave students additional credit for submitting “feminist thinking” into existing articles on the site.
As is so typical among leftists, these perpetually offended feminists are responding to a largely contrived grievance. The site is open to editors of both sexes and cannot be held responsible if males tend to make up the majority of its contributors.
Should women decide they wish to submit articles using the same process, they are certainly free to do so. Calling out Wikipedia when they don’t, however, is a glaring example of misplaced blame.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution (Creative Commons)