There are few greater pleasures than sitting down to read the “Personal Life” section of a person’s Wikipedia page. You can find out all sorts of things about celebrities and business leaders using this resource, like: Maybe they married their assistant! Or killed people in a car accident in Ireland! Or fathered five children in their 50s with two different women who were sometimes pregnant very close to the same time! (That last one was Hugh Grant.) There is a wealth of information out there, and it is all — for the most part — very easily accessible on Wikipedia.
I love the Personal Life section of a Wikipedia page because it is, in theory, an equalizing force. Unlike tabloids or really any other media, the Personal Life section does not have an agenda. Information is usually presented in a chronological fashion. And pretty much every famous person has one on their Wikipedia page, making it easy for the public to access “fast facts” about them without having to fire up Heavy.com. Which is why I must say that it upsets me when men have inadequate or nonexistent Personal Life sections on their Wikipedia pages.
Have you noticed this? The other day I was trying to learn more about professional basketball players (TBD how long I will remain invested in this quest), and it turns out that many of them have barely filled out Personal Life sections — at least in contrast to the thousands of words spent on their basketball experience — if they have them at all. James Harden’s says he is a Christan who “started growing his trademark beard in 2009” and developed a line of signature gummy candy. There is not even a mention of Khloe Kardashian, and they dated for almost a year! Surely there is more to know about Harden’s personal life and in my opinion it should be right where I can find it: on Wikipedia.
It is not just basketball players, though, who have severely lacking Personal Life sections. Look at actor and rich person Balthazar Getty’s, for example. It is only three lines long. “In 2000, Getty married fashion designer Rosetta Millington,” it says. “They have three daughters: Grace, Violet, and June Catherine, and a son, Cassius Paul. He had a well-publicized affair with English actress Sienna Miller but eventually returned to his wife.”
Believe me when I say there is a lot more going in Getty’s personal life than what is noted in his Personal Life section. To begin with, he is the son of John Paul Getty III. Also, he has a “unisex lifestyle label” called Monk Punk and a “rap name” (Balt Getty). And he went to a Waldorf school (my feeling is that if you went to any sort of private school it should be listed prominently everywhere online)! And about that affair with Sienna Miller: Did you know it started after the actor Matthew Rhys, who briefly dated Miller, introduced them, and that Rhys was “livid” when he found out they were together via paparazzi photos of them half-naked on a yacht in Positano?
None of that is in Getty’s Personal Life section. It isn’t in Rhys’s either: All his tells you is that he is Welsh. And a supporter of Plaid Cymru. And married to Keri Russell now.
Miller, meanwhile, has had to deal with ceaseless tabloid scrutiny of her personal life throughout her entire career. Her Personal Life section is full of information about her mid-2000s relationship with Jude Law, including the fact that he cheated on her with his children’s nanny. And it goes into more detail about the affair with Getty, noting that she sued the British tabloids for running topless photos of her with him. Famous women in general are basically required to offer up their personal lives to stay relevant; men get away with hiding all kinds of things and then claim they are just more seriously invested in their careers (I’m thinking of a lot of people here and also Ryan Gosling specifically). The least we, the Wikipedia-editing public, can do is put some embarrassing true stuff on Getty’s page, especially since prominent people have been known to try to edit their own pages or pay others to do so.
This is also not to mention that abhorrent men, like basketball player Derrick Rose, have extremely sanitized pages. If you want to read about why he was accused of gang rape, do not go to his Personal Life section, which emphasizes his dedication to his faith before passively noting that he was “involved in a federal civil lawsuit to ‘assess whether he and two friends raped his former girlfriend’” and was “found not guilty by an eight-member jury.” It conveniently does not mention that Rose said in a deposition that he didn’t know the meaning of consent.
Also one last thing that is on my mind: In a recent podcast interview I listened to, the actor Jason Mantzoukas said he dated a woman for 11 years, but that woman’s name is not listed anywhere in his Personal Life section — nor is it that he dated Connie Britton! It just says he is allergic to eggs. I hate it.
In closing, if you know things about famous men, please put those things on Wikipedia. Thank you.
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