Saturday, March 08, 2003


I was wandering around the Weblogging Women webring (of which I am a pending member) and found a little "quote of the Day" inspiring quote on a woman's blog. Out of sheer curiosity, I clicked on the quote box to see where it linked to. I ended up at the GrailQuest Industries page. They provide a page of Select Quotations by Emerson, Thoreau, Gandhi, Confucius, Twain and Others. I noticed, however, that the authors on this page were all men, and my feminist buttons got pushed. Who knows, maybe they quote extensively from women, but the point is, the selected quotes page doesn't even suggest that women exist. So I wrote an email. This is it:

I just came across your quote of the day on a weblog as I was browsing a webring.I think it is wonderful to encourage others to take a moment from busy, stressful lives and reflect. Doing this through the use of inspiring quotes from well-known authors and respected thinkers is also a very good idea.

I have done a bit of my own reflecting, and would like to point out one thing to you: your list of authors from whom you provide select quotes is incomplete and biased. There is not a single woman on this list. Perhaps you do include inspiting quotes from women that are not a part of your "selected quotes", but why, then would you not include these?

The world's population is not entirely male, by any stretch of the imagination, and yet, by presenting information as you have, you contribute to a dangerous assumption: that only men are great thinkers, that only men are capable of writing inspiring words, and that only men are important enough to make it onto your "selected quotes" page.

Best wishes,

Laurie A, Johnson

Maybe they don't think it's a big deal. Hell, maybe you don't think it's a big deal. It's not like refusing women the right to vote, rigt? True. But you knoew what? We've won a lot of the big battles. We haven't won a lot of the little ones - the ones that are too small to trifle with individually, but that, taken together, form a kind of cultural substrate. A subtle and subconscious bias against women. I think this is harder to combat. The big battles are over glaring, egregious wrongs. The little battles are over a collection of situations, actions, and instances that lead many people to shrug and say "but who cares?" Fighting an army of ants, swatting at a giant swarm of gnats, something like this. Harder than it looks.

- posted by laurie @ 3/08/2003 02:15:00 PM
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