From December 2010 to January 2011, Brooklyn-based artist David Horvitz drove up the West Coast from Mexico to Oregon, stopping to take pictures of himself staring off into various vistas as a part of his latest project, Public Access. Horvitz took each of his images — a collection of pensively photobombed beaches, bridges, lighthouses, and creeks — and uploaded them to their proper Wikipedia pages, adding to and sometimes replacing the images already there.I love the comments from Wikipedia's stalwart and finicky editors: "Crap photo of dubious sourcing" ... "another sockpuppet inserting poor images" ... "I’ve been replacing these with cropped versions where it’s possible to crop them and still have a useful image, and removing the others, because we don’t need to be supporting this .. .whatever it is" ... "Actually, it can be very good to have a person in these kinds of images, in order to show the scale of the features. In these cases, I don’t think we should care who that person is" ...
Wikipedia has been on my mind lately, after hearing the statistic passed around a week or so ago that something like 87% of Wikipedia contributors/editors are male. This didn't surprise me in the least, and initially made no impression on me whatsoever. A few days later the obvious consequences of this dawned on me: Wikipedia is sexist. Of course this affects the content. Of course this bias trickles down and bleeds into the articles in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I wouldn't want to read a magazine if only 1 out of 10 of its editors/contributors were women. Especially if the whole point of the magazine was to present objective, unbiased information in an encyclopedic fashion.
Maybe I'll boycott Wikipedia.
UPDATE: While I'm editing my misuse of "effect" (sigh), I'll pull up a clarification I made in the comments. The title is intentionally provocative, and echoes a line I recently read in a satirical novel about the NYC literary scene in the '70s: "Technique is racist." To be clear, I'm not accusing any particular person or particular group of people of sexism, I'm saying that the entity/system itself fosters sexism (gender bias, if you prefer).