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BarbaraKE
11-19-2008, 04:38 AM
Hi all - this is probably familiar to many of you but it was new to me so I thought I'd post if for those of you who might think it interesting.

I'm reading a book entitled 'The Sound of the Page: Style and Voice in Writing' by Ben Yagoda. He mentions that many people believe men and women have substantially different writing styles. I won't go into the discussion but he mentions a website where you can paste examples of your writing (preferably 500+ words) and it will analyze it to determine whether the writer was male or female.

The site is http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html

Mr. Yagoda mentions that it gets the right answer approx. 75% of the time.

Just thought you might find it interesting...

PS - it was wrong for me. I'm female but my 'male' score is 3x higher than my 'female'. I'm not sure exactly how to take that...

Polenth
11-19-2008, 04:49 AM
It usually thinks I'm male, but so do other gendering tests so that's not an immediate sign of it being wrong. Like any of these things, individual difference trumps the trends everytime.

Deccydiva
11-19-2008, 04:52 AM
Fascinating. For The Declan Diaries it came up strongly female even though the "narrator" is male. However, it is a romance. For "Cascade" - a murder - it was also female but only by a short head. The style is different for each but there must be some of "me" coming through! (I'm female)

gypsyscarlett
11-19-2008, 04:55 AM
I've taken those tests before and come up male. WRONG!

Hey, back in the day- a lot of critics declared the Bronte sisters had to be really men "because women wouldn't write about such dark subjects". Uh, yeah. Right.

Thanks for posting the link, Barbara. I see this one has you signify if the writing is fiction or from your blog. It might be interesting how those two compare.

Bill Ward
11-19-2008, 05:10 AM
Different stories of mine create very different results -- makes me think I must be doing something right :)

Red-Green
11-19-2008, 05:34 AM
I think the problem is that programs like "Gender Genie" rely upon increasingly irrelevant ideas about male and female modes of speech. Consider that the use of active voice is classed as "masculine," and the use of modifiers like pretty, rather, kind of are classed as "feminine." If your writing style differs from your physical gender, well, it just means you're deconstructing those notions of gender norms. Congratulations! You have subverted the dominant paradigm.

Varthikes
11-19-2008, 06:03 AM
That's very interesting.

For both of my novels, it guessed correctly that I was male. The two main characters in those novels are male. So, I tried one of my stories where the main character is female. For that one, it guessed that I was female.

maestrowork
11-19-2008, 07:06 AM
Different POVs (male vs. female), different results. I'm actually pleased...

C.bronco
11-19-2008, 07:07 AM
that site was up before. It was funny: my work with a male MC came up male, and the one with the female MC came up female.

Karen Duvall
11-19-2008, 07:24 AM
That's so cool! I switch between and male and female POV in my WIP, so I pasted excerpts from both. The female POV excerpt came up female, and the male POV excerpt came up male. Awesome.

Then I pasted a couple of pages from my first person novel and it came male, even though the POV character is female. Ha! But she's a tough. Maybe that's why.

rugcat
11-19-2008, 07:51 AM
I think the problem is that programs like "Gender Genie" rely upon increasingly irrelevant ideas about male and female modes of speech.Exactly. It can distinguish between different styles, but male and female have little to do with it.

It assumes (incorrectly) that certain styles of writing are gender specific.

I pasted in one passage of mine that I thought would be viewed as female; sure enough, the score was overwhelmingly female.

I tried another that i though would be male -- also came up female, but just barely.

Polenth
11-19-2008, 08:15 AM
Then I pasted a couple of pages from my first person novel and it came male, even though the POV character is female. Ha! But she's a tough. Maybe that's why.

It looks like it's down to firmness. If a character is sure of things, they're male. If they hedge with maybes and sort ofs, they're female.

Which means it mucked up my fairy godmother's gender. She's feminine in the firm grandmother way, rather than being ditzy and uncertain of herself. So it made her male.

A more uncertain male character only just missed being female.

Elidibus
11-19-2008, 09:58 AM
This is very interesting, and I think I'm seeing some trends here with my writing.

I tried three of my works. One, a short story already done and submitted. Another, one that was going through it's second draft. And my Nano novel, which hadn't had any editing done. Here's the results

For my finished short story, it said I was Female
For my second draft story, it said I was Female
In my Nano Novel, it said I was Male.

I'm thinking my editing actually changes my gender, because all three have female MCs.

Of course, my finished short story was written in first person with a female MC, so maybe that's it...

Pretty neat, I think. I heard more women read anyway. Nice way to play the odds! =D

Mr. Chuckletrousers
11-19-2008, 04:57 PM
I think the problem is that programs like "Gender Genie" rely upon increasingly irrelevant ideas about male and female modes of speech. Consider that the use of active voice is classed as "masculine," and the use of modifiers like pretty, rather, kind of are classed as "feminine." If your writing style differs from your physical gender, well, it just means you're deconstructing those notions of gender norms. Congratulations! You have subverted the dominant paradigm.
The paper the site links to (which appears to have informed their algorithm) says that women use a certain subset of pronouns more frequently than men (especially I, you and she), and that men use a set of determiners more frequently than women.

Meh.

vixey
11-19-2008, 04:58 PM
I've done this on 2 separate sites and everything I submitted, include a romance excerpt, shows me as male.

Alpha Echo
11-19-2008, 05:04 PM
I've done this thing before, and it's right. I wish I could make it so that when I'm from a male POV, it says I'm male. I guess that's another thing I have to work on. :)

sheadakota
11-19-2008, 05:37 PM
It ranks me as male everytime (I'm female) Maybe because all my MC are male- maybe I'm doing something right?

Darzian
11-19-2008, 06:31 PM
That's so cool! I switch between and male and female POV in my WIP, so I pasted excerpts from both. The female POV excerpt came up female, and the male POV excerpt came up male. Awesome.



Exact same with me.

But I don't agree on some of the choices. How is the word 'is' male and 'was' female? I'm not entirely sure how accurate this is.

Clio
11-19-2008, 07:55 PM
Well - I posted from my current WIP where the MC is female and got 'Female'. I posted from an old (trunked) novel of mine where the MC was male and got 'Male'.

I suppose all of us who got this result should pat ourselves on the back :D

whiterose
11-19-2008, 08:12 PM
I am male, but the Gender Genie says that I am female.

Words: 770
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)

Female Score: 960
Male Score: 639
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

In case you are curious about the writing example I used, here it is. (This is a draft. And I am not a writer.)

All I have to do is Dream

Hardened commandos (or commando trainees) can be sentimental too. One day, I discovered that some were not afraid to show their softer side.

At first, I thought maybe something was wrong with me. Why did I feel maudlin at times, especially during particularly hectic training? For example, lying on my bunk bed (after a crazy day’s training), I get teary eyed when I sing in my heart in the dead quiet and stillness of the night. I felt great relief, an unburdening of all my emotions of despair. Many were Christian songs about God’s love and comfort. Some were love songs. Others, such as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", were about the sorrows of war.

I can’t remember exactly how they found out. "Hey, Raymond, I heard you know the song 'All I have to Do is Dream'," a platoon mate said. "Do you have the lyrics?" I said no, I didn’t have the lyrics on paper. But I could write them. I explained that when I was a kid, I had often heard this song by Donny Osmond. (The original singers were the Beverly Brothers.) My sister was obsessed with the Osmond Brothers; she always played this song on our record. (Remember, those were pre-CD days.)

Then another asked me for the lyrics to the same song; then another. So one fine weekend at home, weary from the past week's training, I took a pencil and paper and wrote the lyrics, singing and recalling the song in my mind as I had heard it during my seventies childhood. (Those were pre-Internet days. Today, you can google and get the lyrics to this song in less than five minutes.) I was momentarily transported back to my carefree and innocent childhood days. Oh, if only this trip could go on forever.

I didn’t know if the resulting lyrics were a hundred percent correct, but I believed they were accurate. Fortunately, it wasn’t a rock song in which lyrics could hardly be heard but a pop song in which Donny Osmond pronounced the words clearly.

After the weekend, I was all excited with the lyrics in hand. How amazing it was for me to get excited about going back to camp. One night we had some free time in the bunk after an exhausting day. I gathered with three of those who had requested the lyrics. We sang out loud with the lyrics I had written.

The scene wasn’t anything unusual or spectacular. But I would always remember it - four tough, fit commando recruits, who earlier in the day had been screaming, "KILL! KILL! KILL!" while charging with fixed bayonets, now huddled at the corner of the bunk singing quietly.

"Dream, dream dream dream, dream, dream dream dream
When I want you in my arms,
when I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is . . ."

We felt a great release of pent-up emotions from the stress of training. Commandos are trained to advance, but this time we retreated from harsh reality into a land of dreams. It was a cathartic expression of our innermost desires. Perhaps my friends were dreaming about their girlfriends as they sang strictly according to the song’s lyrics. But most probably (and I felt it strongly) they were dreaming of being somewhere far away where there were no sorrows or sufferings or danger. Whenever the training got too much for us, all we had to do was dream, dream, dream….

In this place where men try to maintain a facade of toughness, my fellow commando trainees weren’t bashful about being sentimental. They eagerly requested the song. I knew why they wanted the song, and they knew that I knew. We were not afraid to sing in the presence of others.

Though the words of the song spoke much, the words unspoken between us spoke volumes. We did not say, “What a great emotional release” or “I always dream about a land somewhere far from here." Perhaps this was pushing our expression of unashamed sentimentality too far. But there was no need for such words because of mutual understanding of emotions and longings, bonded we were by shared adversity.

Since this singing episode, I no longer felt ashamed for feeling mushy. I no longer felt ashamed of longing for a faraway land, a land far from the commando lifestyle. I then sang another song,

"Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
. . . ."

DeleyanLee
11-19-2008, 08:20 PM
The Gender Genie amuses me. When I have a male POV, it comes up as male every time. When I have a female POV, it comes up as female most times, occasionally as neutral.

But I use it more for amusement factor that to tell anything serious about my work.

scheherazade
11-19-2008, 08:55 PM
The paper the site links to (which appears to have informed their algorithm) says that women use a certain subset of pronouns more frequently than men (especially I, you and she), and that men use a set of determiners more frequently than women.

Meh.

Yeah, I'm not sure I agree with that. What if you're writing a first-person story about a male protagonist pursuing a female? How would a man write that without using I, you, or she?

On the other hand... women in the real world are better conversationalists. Do we tend to write more dialogue? In that case, dialogue tends to use a lot of I and you.

Apparently my writing is a lot more feminine than my readers have been telling me...

Nakhlasmoke
11-19-2008, 09:32 PM
As usual I skew male.


Barely.

eLfwriter
11-19-2008, 09:43 PM
uhm ... what does it mean if I was almost exactly 50/50??

It called me male, which everyone seems to think anyway (which is silly, since I'm a bloody girl and I bloody well took ballet classes and everything. I was good at ballet, too, grumblegrumble)

But, uh ... what if there was only one point difference?



:Shrug:

Travis J. Smith
11-19-2008, 09:44 PM
It says I'm a female . . .

:roll:

dgiharris
11-19-2008, 09:44 PM
That's very interesting.

For both of my novels, it guessed correctly that I was male. The two main characters in those novels are male. So, I tried one of my stories where the main character is female. For that one, it guessed that I was female.


Different POVs (male vs. female), different results. I'm actually pleased...


The Gender Genie amuses me. When I have a male POV, it comes up as male every time. When I have a female POV, it comes up as female most times, occasionally as neutral.

But I use it more for amusement factor that to tell anything serious about my work.

I also ran some stories through. My humor pieces came up male in a big way. But my one humor piece which I tailored to make females laugh came up female, so go figure.

The rest of my pieces came up male

and I am male

Mel...

gypsyscarlett
11-19-2008, 11:39 PM
In the past, I've tested out stories on those things and have come up male. So this time I decided to try different posts from my blog. Maybe non-fiction would come up the correct gender.

First, I pasted in "About Me"- where I discuss my passion for literature, art, classic films, Victorian history, and bubble baths. Result? Overwhelmingly male.

Then, I tried my post where I discussed my favorite childhood books: Little Women, Secret Garden, Little House on the Prairie, Ballet Shoes, Pippi Longstocking, and Nancy Drew.... this post HAD to come up female!

Nope. Again, overwhelmingly male.

:Shrug: