Compare the Wikipedia entry for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the entry for friendship bracelets, and you’ll find a disparity: the sword-swinging reptiles have garnered far more words than the school-days token of friendship. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, sees disparities like these as the outcome of a much more serious one: only about 13 percent of Wikipedia’s hundreds of thousands of contributors are women.
This gender gap was discovered in a recent study of Wikipedia entries (pdf). The average contributor, it turns out, is a mid-twenty-something-year-old male. To begin to close the gender gap, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner has set a goal for the company: to increase the number of female writers to 25 percent in the next four years.
As the New York Times reports:
Her effort is not diversity for diversity’s sake, she says. “This is about wanting to ensure that the encyclopedia is as good as it could be,” Ms. Gardner said in an interview on Thursday. “The difference between Wikipedia and other editorially created products is that Wikipedians are not professionals, they are only asked to bring what they know…. Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table,” she said. “If they are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb.”
Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer is married to the Berlin Wall. Like any couple, they’ve had their ups and downs, but over the years, they’ve been able to meet each other’s spiritual and emotional needs. “We even made it through the terrible disaster of 9 November 1989, when my husband was subjected to frenzied attacks by a mob. But we are still as much in love as the day we met,” Berliner-Mauer said last year.
Berliner-Mauer (the German name for the Berlin Wall, which she has taken as her last name) has since defined her love under the term “objectum sexual,” or OS—in other words, a person who falls in love with inanimate objects. As an animist, she, along with a growing group of others, believe that inanimate objects are sentient, intelligent beings.
Take Erika Eiffel, who is married to the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel says she recalls being attracted to objects even as a child, and realized she was different only when she saw other people at school dating each other, while she was dating a bridge.
Meg Ryan made headlines this week…because of her chin. A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences says that women with large chins are more likely to be unfaithful to their husbands. By tabloid standards, Meg Ryan has a big chin (an arguable diagnosis) and she cheated on her husband, Dennis Quaid (who, for all we know, may have been cheating as well). Given this staunch evidence, The Telegraph warns men: “Women with large chins are more likely to cheat.” Fox News reported the same thing: “Study: Women With Prominent Chins More Likely to Cheat.” The U.K.’s Mail Online had the best headline by far: “Looking for a faithful wife? Women with strong jawlines have more affairs, research shows.”
But men, before you begin to suspect your girlfriend, wife, or the girl you are dating of cheating, let’s take a closer look at this study.
Researchers from four universities in the U.S. and Canada, including Lorne Campbell from Western Ontario University, asked a group of young women about their sexual histories and fantasies. They found that women with larger chins were more sexually active.
Then, the researchers asked men to rate the women’s desirability level as a life-long partner. The men were not told about the results of the sex survey. They tended to steer clear of women with masculine features, such as large chins. The scientists reasoned that when women produce an excess amount of testosterone, it makes women act more like men and can make them more sexually assertive.