The Gender Genie is scary: it can tell I’m a woman from what I write. Apparently I (as a woman) write relationally (with, me, you, us, here, his) whereas men write informationally with lots of categorisation (it, they, the, a, more). Informal testing (by me, on a sample way below statistical significance) demonstrates that mens’ personal emails are far more relational than their blog posts (also, fiction is more relational than non-fiction), whereas I write the same everywhere, it seems. Or I do now. My MA thesis was probably written by a male, the Gender Genie thinks. Back then, of course, I was still stuck in the master discourse, trying to write the way I thought “they” wanted me to write. Obviously I thought they wanted me to write like a man.

15 thoughts on “gender revealed

  1. Jon

    It also says Edward Forster is writing like a woman. At least when I pasted a text from Howards End.

  2. Alan Levine

    It got me was a woman (wrong) based on an article I wrote for our publication. According to the right/wrong stats posted at the Genie, it is running pretty much 50/50, suggesting a magic 8 ball might do just as well or a coin flip.

    It is interesting and should (hopefully) promote discussion about the written word.

  3. Anonymous

    well, that’s an interesting issue. 🙂 it is amazing how statistical methods would predict your gender/sex. nevertheless the methods are made by people right…? hence the statistical method bases on it. cheerio. mo

  4. Dennis G. Jerz

    The introduction from my dissertation and some of my pages on interactive fiction are “male”… but plenty of my online writing handouts are “female”. The Genie seems to be running at only about 50% accuracy right now, but I think that may be because accuracy is user reported. The design of the interface may discourage people from telling the Genie it is right. (I’ve posted more about that on my blog, so I’ll spare you the details.)

  5. Liz

    It pegs all of my “techie” posts (MT courseware, grad program restructuring, etc) as male, and my “personal” posts as female. I’m unimpressed.

    Based on the stats it puts up when you tell it if it was correct, it seems to be about as accurate as a coin-toss. 🙂

  6. Liz

    Ooops. Just noticed that Alan already pointed out its poor performance. Sorry. That’s what I get for writing before I read. :/

  7. chuck

    I’ve been getting mixed results. Sometimes I’m male, sometimes female (and not necessarily based on the topic of whatever blog entry I’ve submitted). I agree with Dennis that self-reporting isn’t going to reflect a sample with any degree of precision, but I’m not sure that the effect will be that significant. For example, I sometimes forgot to submit my results, often when the gender genie was wrong. Interesting questions.

  8. Jamie

    I wouldn’t trust anything that restricts the world to only two genders. I have ahard enough time dealing with people who do that.

  9. Elin

    Hi Jamie:-) What other genders do you propose?

  10. Jamie

    Hi Elin 🙂 Fancy meeting you here

    How about butch, and femme for instance?

    A few words of clarification: The word `gender’ is tricky in English. It isn’t exactly the same as male/female/whatever, it is more like masculine/feminine/etc. I subscribe to Kate Bornstein’s view that gender is more like a social club with rules of behaviour and that a person can belong to many genders and change genders frequently. I don’t agree with everything she says though (although I certainly haven’t thought about it as much as she has).

  11. kaye trammell

    I have been playing with that old gender game the past few days myself. After testing it on my husband (who was less than thrilled to be involved) & it failing — I realized something.

    My hypothesis: it will (almost always) come up female as default.

    Rational: Why on earth would a male bother to test his gender?

    It seems like such a feminine thing to do. Those gender genie people are so smart!

  12. Norman

    The genie, not surprisingly, assigned a different sex for each of two pieces I submitted. I was “female” praising Australian Armed Forces in a reflective manner, and “male” when I discussed the significance of personal relationships. The Genie’s “interpretation” simply refelected the style I’d felt appropriate in each case, for a particular purpose. The biological basis of differences between male and female brains [including those of homosexuals] may not be openly discussed in “polite” or “PC” circles; but the evidence is overwhelming, including the existence of significant overlapping in the general population. Let’s look at some of the points raised above re the “Genie’s” effectiveness.
    1] Males’ emails would be expected to differ from their “public” writings to a greater degree than was the case with females. Females tend to relate in a “personal” manner in their everyday discussions more than males do. Males adopt the more personal [i.e. more typically “female” response] in their less public communications, such as emails.
    2] Jill’s doctoral thesis was the result not so much of any subconscious attempt to adopt a “male” style, as using skills possessed by many members of both [all?] sexes, that were most appropriate to the task in hand. At best, it’s merely a contingent fact that males TEND to use this style more than females in their everyday communication.
    3] It would be surprising if many male writers DIDN’T employ a style closer to the “female” form of communication in “Howard’s End”, or other novels.

  13. Unfogged

    Chromosomes can lie
    Yesterday Ogged admitted to being a woman. It’s now official: according to the Gender Genie’s analysis of that very post (minus the quotes), he’s female. (Thanks to jill/txt for the pointer to the Genie, which resides at Bookblog.)…

  14. speedysnail

    Gender Bender
    The Gender Genie [via jill/txt] applies an algorithm to a block of text to predict the gender of its author. I’m a sucker for these things, so I tried it…

  15. | logblogwhatever...

    woman or man?
    Test your writing and see if you are a woman or a man. The Gender Genie uses an algoritm to decide the sex of the author. Found via jill/txt.

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