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View Full Version : The "You Write Like a Girl!" Guessing Game



Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 04:40 AM
Hey everyone;

This was inspired by a thread of the same name.

I'm calling for 300-1000 word pieces or excerpts written specifically for the purpose of guessing the author's gender. Except for Medievalist, who shall additionally have to tell us their age, hair color and blood type. :) PM "submissions" to me, and I'll post them in this thread--and we'll see how many of you can really tell the difference between a man and a woman from writing style.

Jamesaritchie
04-29-2007, 05:21 AM
Hey everyone;

This was inspired by a thread of the same name.

I'm calling for 300-1000 word pieces or excerpts written specifically for the purpose of guessing the author's gender. Except for Medievalist, who shall additionally have to tell us their age, hair color and blood type. :) PM "submissions" to me, and I'll post them in this thread--and we'll see how many of you can really tell the difference between a man and a woman from writing style.

I sincerely doubt such a short excerpt would do the job, but it might be fun trying. But it seems odd to think there would be no difference. Men and women usually lead different lives with different interests. They usually have a number of things in common, but also a number not in common, ranging from locker room talk to the sports they watch and avocations they pursue. This alone means vocabulary will be different. They also, on average, have a number of differences in the types of novels they read most.

Chumplet
04-29-2007, 05:33 AM
Heh, heh, heh....

Sohia Rose
04-29-2007, 05:40 AM
... They usually have a number of things in common, but also a number not in common, ranging from locker room talk to the sports they watch and avocations they pursue. ...

Does that "locker room talk" really happen? And what about? :)

scarletpeaches
04-29-2007, 05:41 AM
Ha ha, that's so funny. JAR thinks women don't have locker room talk.

Who's gonna disabuse him of that notion?

Carrie in PA
04-29-2007, 05:44 AM
to the sports they watch

*glances at avatar*

Yup... football...

*glances elsewhere*

Yup... I'm a woman...

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 05:44 AM
I sincerely doubt such a short excerpt would do the job, but it might be fun trying. But it seems odd to think there would be no difference. Men and women usually lead different lives with different interests. They usually have a number of things in common, but also a number not in common, ranging from locker room talk to the sports they watch and avocations they pursue. This alone means vocabulary will be different. They also, on average, have a number of differences in the types of novels they read most.

There's certainly no reason to spurn a longer piece / excerpt, as this is mostly in the interest of seeing whether or not gender actually can be determined from style.

With any luck, this'll end up being a fun chance to closely examine mechanics. It follows that if we can tell the author's gender because of their style, that certain effects can be achieved by manipulating the things that betray our gender.

I'm expecting this to be ported to the writing prompts forum, or the theory forum, since, in retrospect, this might be an awkward place for this thread to live.

Birol
04-29-2007, 06:03 AM
Okay, I've talked to Bart and I'm going to move this thread to the Games room.

JAR, the summer between high school and college, some of my high school friends and I were hanging out in my living. It was a mixed group, both young men and young women. Somehow, the conversation turned to breast size -- it's been many years ago now, so I don't really remember how it came up. One of the women said something to indicate she thought her breasts were too small. I looked at her and said, "You know what they say, more than a mouthful is a waste."

One of the guy's jaw dropped open and he demanded to know where I'd heard that.

"The locker room," I said.

The girl with the small breasts laughed. The guy sat there with his jaw hanging open. He finally managed to stammer, "I didn't know girls had those conversations, too."

Never believe that any sex or gender has sole dominion over any topic, especially when it comes to sex.

scarletpeaches
04-29-2007, 06:04 AM
Amen to that. But let's keep it quiet, Birol...we don't want the gentlemen hearing about our special ladysecrets. Let's maintain the demure exterior... ;)

Sohia Rose
04-29-2007, 06:10 AM
Eh, I've got something for you Bart, an exercise from my creative writing class that I haven't seen in a while. Where do I send it?

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 06:14 AM
PM it to me, or email it to bartholomew@coyotewildmag.com

Here's the first excerpt:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1298708#post1298708

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 06:17 AM
Second Excerpt:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62939

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 12:52 PM
Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh, respectively.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62964
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62965
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62966
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62967
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62968

In retrospect, I should have given them Male / Female polls. :( Maybe an overly interested mod can add them?

I'd guess, but I suspect my input would ruin the experiment.

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 12:58 PM
Ok, less submitting, more guessing; I think I've gotten a bit too spammy.

Bartholomew
04-29-2007, 09:27 PM
So far, there have been enough wrong answers from different people that I get a feeling there is a lot of guesswork involved, or else misnomers about what goes into a male or females writing.

Medievalist
04-30-2007, 12:15 AM
Bart's not the only one with this idea:

http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/guess_the_gender_of_the_writer/

AnnieColleen
04-30-2007, 06:05 AM
Well, for myself, anything I post is a guess (haven't gotten through them all). Fun to try, though.

Bartholomew
04-30-2007, 09:50 AM
Bart's not the only one with this idea:

http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/guess_the_gender_of_the_writer/

I'm actually starting to think most people can't tell, judging from ratio of wrong to right answers. :p

Bartholomew
04-30-2007, 10:02 AM
By the way, I've been telling people if they were right or wrong via rep points, so if you're wondering what the answer was, you have to guess.

I was hoping to see a bit more deep-seeded analysis of the styles for gender specific modes, and less guessing. But then, I did call it a guessing game. :)

Such analysis would have a good place here, incidentally. If you know which excerpts are male or female, don't feel the need to keep it a secret-- just talk about it in this big thread; I doubt it'll ruin anyone's fun, and maybe we'll learn something in the process.

One of those excerpts is mine, by the way, and I got an unacceptable number of "hmm. Female. Definitely female." replies. Grrr.

Mel
04-30-2007, 07:24 PM
Okay, my analysis, such as it is.

#1 I picked female. I could say I cheated, since I could tell you who wrote it too. ;) But, if I didn't know I still would have gone with my answer. The trigger for me, if you want to call it that, was the use of the word damsel. Once by the good guy and again by the baddie. I don't think a man writing this would have gone with damsel, and certainly not twice. And definitely not some street punk unless he did because he was sneering at the good guys choice of words. The other was the use of "insanely small penknife." I don't see a man using insanely this way, either another word or none at all in this instance.

#2 I picked male. This "Sweat crept down the side of her face" I think would have been worded differently by a female. Sure, we use the word sweat but in this instance more would have been used to define exactly what she was feeling. And this "She put a look on her face" I feel would have been worded differently by a woman. The use of put a look doesn't ring female writer to me.

#3 I picked female. Okay, guys are, in general, not going to notice that the color of their car compliments what the woman is wearing. He's going to be checking other attributes. That's what I call a guy thing. "a fuss of wind underneath her dishwater-blonde locks" does not read male to me. A fuss of wind isn't what a guy would be thinking. And do most guys even know what dishwater blonde is? "She slowly peeled that neck of hers around" is a bit more descriptive than, I think, a guy would use. She slowly turned might be more like it. "the hem of her dress slide down her velvety legs" was the capper for me. A guy would watch the hem of her dress slide "up" to reveal more and he would use something different than "velvety" to describe what he was seeing. If nothing more, it was this last sentence that decided me.

#4 I picked male. No words or sentences that jumped out at me, but there wasn't any sense of what the day was like or the place either. In the country, I guess, but it could have been the edge of a small town. I had no hint of the ages of the two women or what feelings there are between them. There wasn't a lot of connection between the two.

#5 I picked male. Some mentioned the shoes, but a guy could have done his research, even if to ask a few female friends or relatives. Really, this was a tough one for me and, as I said, it was tricky. I felt it could have been a male or female writer, so it was more a matter of picking one at random.

#6 I picked female. In a way it was a gut feeling. On the other hand, this writing reminds me of a certain author, but I have no idea if she contributed or not. It just "felt" like her to me. If it isn't her, that's still a complement from me. :) Other than that, I had nothing jump out at me that this was male or female.

#7 I picked female. No words in particular to draw on. I'm afraid my decision rested on the husband's mention of weight, and the weakness of the wife in being placative. And that sounds weak to me for a basis, but it's all I have for this one.

In conclusion, I don't think these scenes were written in a hurry to try to deceive us in picking the gender of the author. Each one dropped us into a scene to show us a small bit of the story. I felt each one was tightly written and quite good. My analysis is only from my own perspective, right or wrong.

Oh, and I haven't read #8 yet, but I will.

AnnieColleen
04-30-2007, 08:55 PM
I'll try to do more when I get home, but I was surprised at seeing people pick out single words as basis for choosing male or female. (But then I am mostly clueless here, so I have no grounds to complain!)

Bartholomew
05-03-2007, 06:16 AM
Hey all. I got a cookie for anyone who (not already knowing) can PM me which excerpt is mine. <3

Three more excerpts went up and one of them should be a no-brainer. :)

AnnieColleen
05-03-2007, 08:04 AM
Hey, I want a cookie!!

(Ha - maybe I should offer one. I want to see if anyone can guess mine! Now I'm curious.)