The Breadth of Women and Men, Pt. 2

[Edit: 2017-03-05 — I removed all the recommendations for creation of additional gendered terms as per a colleague suggesting that exacerbating the problem is not the solution]

I ended the previous post with three questions:
1. Which headings appear on one list but not the other?
2. Of those, are there equivalent headings that in LCSH?
3. Why does the equivalent heading either not exist, or isn’t in the hierarchy?

Before I get to the specifics, I need to address the obvious elephant: The Marked Other.

I’ve written about this before but it’s so important, it’s worth saying twice [or more!]

Men have traditionally and still today of course, are seen as the neutral. The addition of women to a topic, is an aberration to be remarked upon. This is as enshrined into LCSH as it is in every other part of American society. Until 1973 a pattern of headings existed of “Women as […]” Ex. Women as accountants, Women as clergy, Women as judges, etc. in 1973 they removed this construction in favor of Women accountants, Women clergy, Women judges. It’s an acknowledgement that for a woman to be something other than a Mother, Sister, Daughter, or Wife wasn’t so strange that it needed to be billed “Women as judges?! How shocking”

That doesn’t mean that women are on equal status in LCSH however. The overwhelming majority of resources which purport to be about a topic, if they do not present themselves as involving women, will be cataloged ‘neutrally’. That is, if a book is about pilots, and all of the teachers mentioned are male, or there’s a mix of male pilots and female pilots — odds are that that those resources will be tagged Air pilots.

Unless a resource states in the title or somewhere else prominent Women pilots, lady pilots, female pilots galore! It is unlikely that that resource would get cataloged as Women air pilots.

This is going to be ‘answer’ to many of my three questions above: bias in cataloging, bias in publishing.

The list of remaining NTs of Men is shorter than the list for Women [after removing the equivalent terms], so we’ll start there. The following terms are NTs of Men which do not have an equivalent term in the NTs of Women. For each I’ll provide either one of three options for potential equivalents:

None: This indicates that there isn’t a term in LCSH that I think could be an equivalent candidate as an NT of Women.

N/A: This indicates that I don’t think an equivalent term could exist. That is, the concept is limited, not just in LCSH.

[Specific term which exists in LCSH]: In some cases I’ve found a specific term which matches, but is not currently an NT of Women.
Antique collecting for men                                 None
Brotherhoods                                                          Sisterhoods
Cosmetics for men                                                Cosmetics
Dandies                                                                     N/A
Eunuchs                                                                    N/A
Grooming for men                                                 Beauty, Personal
Latin lovers                                                              None
Male prostitutes                                                     Prostitutes
Men in black (UFO phenomenon)                    N/A
Strong men                                                              N/A
Uncircumcised men                                              N/A

Explanations follow:

Antique collecting for men

 There is no term for Antique collecting for women. The original term’s MARC record shows no work-being-cataloged citation which is a requirement for ever LCSH proposal. I assume that the work in question was:  Antique collecting for men / Louis Heilbroner Hertz. What’s interesting to me is that “Antiques — Collectors and collecting” and “Antique collecting” are both UF of Antiques. That is, apparently that LCSH term encompasses collecting.

Compare this with Women art collectors and Women book collectors neither of which have a men’s counterpart.


Sisterhoods is right there in LCSH, here is the comparison:

Brotherhoods (May Subd Geog)
UF Brotherhood
BT Church societies
Secret societies
NT Monasticism and religious orders

Sisterhoods (May Subd Geog)
[BX4200-4556 (Catholic Church)]
[BX5185 (Church of England)]
BT Charities
Church history
Women in charitable work
RT Monasticism and religious orders for women
NT Deaconesses

They’re fairly similar although map to different parts of the classification scheme. Both are church-adjacent, and both incorporate ‘Monasticism and religious orders’.

Note that there’s an error in Brotherhood: according to H 370

Link a new heading only to the next broader heading in the logical hierarchy by means of a BT. [emph. mine]

Brotherhood has BTs of Secret societies and Church societies. Those are both NTs of Societies. That means that Brotherhood should not also have Societies as a BT.

Recommendation: Add Women as a BT of Sisterhoods, remove the Societies as a BT from Brotherhoods.

Cosmetics for men

First remember as I said in the previous post, terms with the prepositional phrase “X for [Class of person]” always get a BT of that class of person. This is an example of the occasional reversal from the marked other. Cosmetics is seen as a “woman’s domain” and so the LCSH Cosmetics stood in for all resources about make-up for women. Here are some resources that could’ve triggered the creation of such a heading:

But of course the unmarked heading Cosmetics would cover these as it is assumed that that implies a connection with women.


The above two terms, I’d marked as N/A because I don’t think that there really are female equivalents to be applied. Let me know if I’m wrong.

Grooming for men

As above with Cosmetics for men, this is an automatic BT to Men, and the reciprocal potential heading Grooming for women is a UF pointing to Beauty, Personal.

Beauty, Personal (May Subd Geog)
[GT499 (Manners and customs)]
[RA776.98-778.2 (Grooming)]
Here are entered works on personal grooming and appearance. Works on the attractiveness of women as a philosophic or artistic concept are entered under Feminine beauty (Aesthetics).
UF Beauty
Grooming, Personal
Grooming for women
Personal beauty
Personal grooming
Toilet (Grooming)

As you can see from the scope note, Beauty, Personal is explicitly linked to women, as the note doesn’t point to Masculine beauty (Aesthetics), even though it could.

Latin lovers

This is kind of a shitty heading. There’s lots of literary warrant for it, but there are no other headings for specific stereotypes of classes of persons/ethnic groups. There are no headings for ‘Greedy Jews’ or ‘Lazy Mexicans’ despite there being literary warrant for those as well.

I’m not suggesting someone create a heading ‘Fiery Latinas’ or ‘Voracious Dark Haired Beauties’ because those would be shitty as well.

Recommendation: Delete this heading, use –Sexual behavior subdivision under classes of person instead when appropriate.

Male prostitutes

As I said in a post a week ago, Prostitutes used to be an NT of Women. I understand why they moved it, but that’s just putting a bandaid over it. Perhaps they were worried about the optics of when users might scroll to see what LCSH thinks Women are. But let’s look at the term:

Prostitutes (May Subd Geog)
Here are entered works on prostitutes in general as well as works specifically on women prostitutes.
UF Call girls
Female prostitutes
Girls, Call
Hookers (Prostitutes)
Hustlers (Prostitutes)
Sex workers (Prostitutes)
Street prostitutes
Tarts (Prostitutes)
Trollops (Prostitutes)
Whores (Prostitutes)
Women prostitutes

[Emph. mine]

The scope note and two of the UFs specifically call out women as the domain of Prostitutes. They’ve removed the term from the hierarchy of Women, but the association still remains enshrined, they’ve just hidden it somewhat.

I’m not issuing any kind of recommendation until the issue of the term itself can be resolved, see the post on sex work I just linked to for more on that.

Men in black (UFO phenomenon)
Strong men
Uncircumcised men

These three terms, as above with Dandies and Eunuchs, do not call out to me as requiring female equivalents. Although we know women can be “Men in black” [just ask Agent L!] that’s the name of the term. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the phenomenon or sub-culture to really say anything intelligent here.

Strong men does not refer to simply men of strength, but more of the circus-ey, side-show type of strong man. I’m not sure there’s a history of such for women in that venue, and would probably be sufficiently covered by Women bodybuilders for more modern works.

Uncircumcised men could of course have corresponding Uncircumcised women because not all people with penises are men — but although I searched, I could not find any extant resources on circumcision amongst trans women or genderqueer people.

Next time we’ll start in on the unmatched Women NTs, and see what we see

One thought on “The Breadth of Women and Men, Pt. 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s