21 Apr Writing like a girl
I guess it must be some kind of pre-historic remnant from an earlier, sexist age—implying that a male does something“like a girl” be necessarily an insult. But merited or not, I’m taking the fact that I officially write like a girl in my stride.
Which doesn’t mean, to excuse a clichÃ© or three, that I am about to start talking about my feelings, throw a ball sideways, or slip off to the bathroom for a cry…
A team of researchers have achieved an 80% accuracy rate with a computer algorithm (The Gender Genie) designed to predict the gender of an author from just a sample of their writing. And after several samples submitted the news for myself was wearing a skirt.
The algorithm works best on texts more than 500 words in size, and tallies a score based on a list of gender assigned key words determined by extensive research. Key words? With an exhaustive search of poems and do-it-yourself handyman guides behind them, the researchers led by scientist Moshe Koppel found that women are far more likely than men to use personal pronouns (“I”, “you”, “she”, etc), whereas men prefer words that identify or determine nouns (“a”, “the”, “that”) or that quantify them (“one”, “two”, “more”).
The conclusion reached is that women are more comfortable thinking, and therefore writing about people and relationships, whereas men prefer thinking about impersonal things.
Whatever. Give me a millenia-old text on Taoism or Hinduism any day of the week for a satisfying explanation of the mysteries of gender; in my opinion the above truisms come no closer to defining the essence of male or female than the shapeless lab-coat they were written in.
So I use “myself,” “not,” “when,” “should,” “we,” “me,” “be” and “where” more than is gender predicated. C’est la vie. I have already admitted that my most favourite topic of all is myself…