Sunday, February 18, 2007

Not Much of a Girl

For various reasons, something I say about myself is that I am definitely a woman, but I'm not much of a girl. My partner (female) says this about me all the time, in fact. If you've met me, I feel sure you understand why.

Well, I am happy to announce that it's really true. A posting at Making Light, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog, pointed me to the Gender Genie, a site that analyzes word use in a block of text and then makes a guess at the author's gender.

I plugged in four chunks of text. Three were postings from this blog, one was an essay of sorts about things going on in my life at the moment (work, my mom's health, etc.). I indicated that the first two were blog postings and called the third posting and the essay nonfiction.

My scores were as follows:

For my blog review of The First Emperor, female score 1870, male score 2847.

For the blog posting about the Berkeley Symphony, female score 716, male score 873.

For the blog posting about Fidelio at S.F. Opera in 2005, female score 564, male score 1015.

For the essay, female score 1492, male score 1543.


Elaine Fine said...

Thanks for the link to the Gender Genie. I have been having a hard time convincing it that I am female, but it has been fun nevertheless.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm not trying. :)

ACB said...

All of my blog entries (4) come up as heavily male, all of my emails (2) even more heavily female, although I had a hard time finding emails over 500 words!

I think this sentence from BookBlog sums it up well: "a woman author whose passage comes up with a male result is seen by Koppel and Argamon's algorithm as having a masculine quality to her writing because she's writing more about specific things (using keywords like "the," "a," "some," numbers, and "it") than connections (using keywords like "with," possessives, possessive pronouns, "for," and "not")."

Funny that we still associate these ideas with gender. Seems a bit silly, to me.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Indeed. I bet many of Terry's blog postings would read as female....