In 1995, home in Northern California during my first year of college, I sat on my parents’ sofa flipping through one of the house’s most treasured possessions: a set of red-and-gold 1984 World Book encyclopedias. I was in the middle of the W volume when an entry labeled “Woman” gave me pause. “A woman can have many roles in society,” the entry opened, “including doctor, secretary, or homemaker.” Several pages followed, illustrated with black-and-white stock photographs of women performing various occupations. Sensing something was amiss, I returned to the shelf and pulled the M volume. Under the header “Man,” only three short words appeared: “See ‘Human Being.’”

This essay may be found on page 249 of the printed volume.

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