Unless you’re a librarian or maybe a scholar, you’re probably unaware of Library of Congress subject headings. They’re just a (more or less) systematic way of describing books’ and other materials’ subject matter, intended to help people find stuff. All well and good, as far as that goes.
You’re probably also unaware of folks like Sanford Berman, radicals and activists who have pushed back against the racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and other isms embedded in this quite old system of organizing and labeling texts. I find this whole conversation utterly fascinating, in the nerdiest way possible.
So you will imagine my dismay-mingled-with-amusement when I came across Christina Katz’s book Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids in my public library’s catalog, with this gem of a subject heading: “Housewives as authors.”
Will the book be relevant to my life if I don’t have a house? What if I’m an unmarried writing mother? Oh dear, that would never do!
And I’d be very surprised indeed to find a book about fathers with writing careers labeled “Househusbands as authors.”