Writing like a girl

ImageChef.com - Create custom images 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 cliché 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…

  • Desiree
    Posted at 04:20h, 24 April

    Well quite frankly I’d take that as a compliment if I were you….though I suppose you could consider me a tad biased. 😛

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 10:33h, 24 April

    Maybe I should admit my own, author’s bias: any other result wouldn’t have given me a story to write… 😉

  • rhian
    Posted at 00:05h, 26 April

    J -your poem/prose on Thailand floored me. I may have been reading the symbolism into it but i’m betting not given the symbolic tie-ins between Buddha, sacred cows and the injuried dog, representing earthly suffering. The run becomes a journey through life. All i can say is wow and i’ll be returning to read it over and over.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 07:27h, 26 April

    Thanks so much Rhian! Yes you are absolutely correct in reading those meanings, although some of them I may have added less consciously than others.

    I intend to refine the piece a little when the inspiration strikes as I am still not happy that I have managed to convey successfully the experience which inspired the whole piece—coming across the most beautiful Thai/Indian music playing to nobody at all, from speakers mounted in an empty field.

  • PatyC
    Posted at 09:06h, 26 April

    Girly smishly, I think you write awesome! 🙂

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 09:51h, 26 April

    Gee shucks Paty—were I not such a big girl my male ego would be getting seriously inflated 😉

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