liberty punk
"the irony of the information age is that it's given new respectability to uninformed opinion."


Tuesday, July 22, 2003  

20 Greatest Americans...

So John Hawkins over at Right Wing News caught some shit from a fellow blogger the other day, apparently regarding the lack of wimmin on the '20 Greatest Americans' list that he posted the other day.

Even though I just spelled 'women' with two i's and two m's, I am in fact a little sympathetic to Hawkins' critic's viewpoint. Well, not sympathetic, so much as I think I can understand why she has such a viewpoint, and how she might have come to think she'd be right in saying that there's a "boy's club" in the blogosphere, and that the blogosphere is "sexist," as though that list of 20 (male) Americans, chosen by readers of Hawkins' site, was some kind of proof.

This is hit-me-in-the-temple with-a-two-by-four obvious, or at least it should be, but... For a signigicant portion of America's 200-some years of existence, women weren't allowed to do all that much.

Let that sink in...

...then realize that it's significantly harder to do anything like invent a light bulb or a crazy flying machine while you're busy scrubbing your kids' bloomers on a rusty washboard all day long. Hey-- it must have been hard enough to find the time to not be able to vote, even. This is a matter of history, nothing else.

Simply: While there have certainly been COUNTLESS absolutely ASTOUNDINGLY AMAZING women throughout America's history, there were no women on that '20 Greatest Americans' list because quite frankly, the men were more astoundingly amazing. Because they could be. The women weren't allowed to be as amazing. So no, this isn't about sexism in the blogosphere, it's about acknowledging history the way it was, not the way we wish it had been.

Of course, "greatest!" is a subjective term. A man might not give a tin shit about Gloria Steinem and a woman might not give a flying frog's fat ass about Ronald Reagan, but I can at least understand why Hawkins' readers chose the male-majority that they did.

Besides, in the year 2075, assuming America hasn't plummetted into a feelgood socialist Hell by then, someone will compile a list of the Fifty Greatest Figures In American History, and you know as well as I do that there will be women on that list. Women who deserve to be, not because other women felt jealous of the men getting all the attention, but because their accomplishments --things that women in the earlier part of America's history couldn't do-- would warrant inclusion on such a list.

And there you'll have a true and 'fair' history, without having to go into the past to revise it.

UPDATE: Check out what Mrs. du Toit had to say on the subject, in the comments under this post over at Margilowry dot com. I think The Mrs. is right on. Some extremist people might call her response a sell-out to the patriarchy, or some other such horseshit, but to those people I would politely say "go fuck yourselves," and I don't doubt that Mrs. du Toit would say the same.

posted by geoff | 11:11 AM |
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