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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Women’s work miscredited: The history of men stealing the limelight

For centuries, women’s achievements and contributions to our society and culture have gone unnoticed, their work taken by men throughout history.
For+much+of+history%2C+men+have+taken+credit+for+important+and+life-changing+work+that+women+did%2C+often+being+propelled+to+the+forefront+of+society+in+the+process.+Thankfully%2C+though%2C+this+trend+is+beginning+to+change.++
THE MIRROR | MARCELLO CHESTER, MICHAEL ARREDONDO, GIANNA IOVINO, DAIMLER KOCH
For much of history, men have taken credit for important and life-changing work that women did, often being propelled to the forefront of society in the process. Thankfully, though, this trend is beginning to change.

Earlier this year, HBO premiered its newest TV series “The Idol,” directed by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. The series was met with an onslaught of controversies before the first episode even aired. The biggest controversy of this show was when it was revealed that star and producer Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, decided to fire director Amy Seimetz and hire Levinson instead, even though the series was almost finished filming. In an article published by Rolling Stone, Seimetz alleged that Levinson and Tesfaye thought that her version of “The Idol” had too much of a “female perspective.” 

Not long after this, photographer Petra Collins made accusations of plagiarism against Levinson, stating that he stole her visual style and replicated it for “Euphoria.” Levinson is just one example of men taking credit for a woman’s work and pawning it off as their own. 

One of the most notorious examples of this was the renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Allegedly, he used his wife Zelda’s diary as an inspiration for some of his most famous novels, entirely behind her back. Fitzgerald would even take direct quotes that Zelda said and use them in his books. She tried multiple times to expose the truth about her husband’s plagiarism, but was unsuccessful throughout her life.

Billions of people use Wi-Fi every day, but not many people know that the original version was patented by actress Hedy Lamarr. During WW2, the US Military needed a faster way to pass information. According to the National Archives, Lamarr presented her “frequency-hopping” patent to the military, but they rejected her idea since she was a woman. The military later ended up using Lamarr’s invention, but she went uncredited for decades. Lamarr’s name was finally inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014, 14 years after her death.

Countless other examples are hidden throughout history. Rosalind Franklin discovered the double helix of the DNA, but all the credit, including a Nobel Prize, went to her colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick. Katherine Johnson’s calculations helped NASA send astronauts to space, but it was her male colleagues who were initially praised. Ada Lovelace was the first person to design a computer prototype in the 19th century, but since Charles Babbage physically created this prototype, he is often miscredited with coming up with it.

Unfortunately, there are far too many instances of women not receiving credit for their inventions, ideas or products to be listed here. A lot of the inventions we enjoy today were made by women, but it was their male colleagues who got all the awards. 

Thankfully, more of this information has been coming to light in recent years, and women are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. This trend will not only ensure that the wrongs of the past are corrected, but also that future misogyny will be prevented through uplifting societal values and goals.

Many of the creative works and inventions we hold dear today are the brainchildren of women; however, misogynistic miscrediting has long been a present injustice.
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About the Contributor
I am a senior who is graduating in 2024. I am interested in majoring in either psychology or classic literature in College. I like to read books and watch different genres of movies in my spare time. I am currently taking AP Psych and AP Art History. Outside of school, I’m interested in learning about different mythologies and cultures.
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