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We can edit it! Brooklyn Museum feminists to add shunned women to Wikipedia

Bicyclist fatally struck by livery cab near Brooklyn Museum
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Ladies, man your stations.

Feminists tried to stamp out anti-woman bias on Wikipedia on Saturday with an online editing spree at the Brooklyn Museum’s anti-sexist art center.

“Our mission is to bring attention to women who have been neglected,” said Jess Wilcox, program coordinator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

“History is sort-of being written by Wikipedia, and there has been a lot of discussion in the media about gender inequities in Wikipedia.”

Attendees added biographical information to the entries of women featured in Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party,” a huge triangular banquet installation considered to be one of the most important works of feminist art and the hub’s centerpiece, as part of an inaugural Edit-a-Thon.

The table features 39 place settings for important women from throughout history, including Susan B. Anthony, Virginia Woolf, and the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, as well as the inscribed names of 999 other women.

The Center for Feminist Art has tried to create Wikipedia entries for every woman featured in the colossal exhibit — an enormous undertaking, but one that is long overdue considering a common tendency to leave women out of the history books, according to the Wilcox.

“History is not always written in the most fair way,” Wilcox said. “The idea is that women are always categorized as ‘other.’ ”

The center also added more context to the page of British writer Mary Hays, whose compilation project “Female Biography; Or Memories of Illustrious and Celebrated Women of All Ages and Countries” helped inspire Chicago’s piece.

The mass editing effort was inspired by Wikipedia’s dudely move last year to segregate female American novelists into their own category, placing only men in the “American novelists” group.

“That sparked a lot of debate about gender equality,” said Wilcox. “It is all part of a bigger picture.”

More than 20 other feminist revision sessions took place simultaneously at locations throughout the globe.

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy., Fourth Fl., at Washington Avenue in Crown Heights, https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa, (718) 638-5000]. Feb. 1, 12 pm–3 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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