Feb 24, 2009

Cross Dressing, the Feminine Voice and Passing - Part 2

Regular check ups and routine maintenance, they say, are important to the long life and satisfactory performance of the things we own and operate. Things like our bodies and our blogs.

There is a little check up I put Voyages en Rose through every month or so (the 10,000 word scheduled maintenance). The check up is an online diagnostic tool called
Gender Analyzer.

The Gender Analyzer scans a web site and looks for
”sugar and spice and everything nice”, or “snips and snails and puppy dog tails”. In fractions of a second it renders a judgment as to exactly what the author is made of and, therefore, what Gender the author occupies.

Well some days, my sleek and stylish friends, one just feels pretty. Today is such a day. Gender Analyzer indicates with a 74% degree of certainty that Voyages en Rose is written by a woman. Well my, O my. Petra passes.

This is a small victory, and not a comprehensive one. It is a small victory because I don’t know how Gender Analyzer actually works. Ideally, I would want to find out that there are true structural indicators of femininity in my writing. I may only find out though that the tool does a simple vocabulary scan and guesses that somebody who talks ceaselessly about pantyhose is likely female.

I dropped a note to customer service last week. I have not heard back yet. I am hoping they will peel open their pretty little kimono for me and whisper sweet everythings in my anxious ear.

If there is an something beyond simple vocabulary tests that predictably and systematically identifies an authors gender, I truly believe that would be something worthy of investigation. I think that most of us cross dressers and absolutely every transgendered person I have spoken with would agree that we were served up with something, a disposition towards our desires at birth. When we dress, or when we transition we are yielding to that very natural and very deeply embedded desire.

I believe that all of us examine our own behavior pretty closely for “tells”, for indicators of our tendencies. The F2M TG might look back at a childhood where dresses just felt wrong. The M2F CD might look at early adult years where he is the only guy in the room with his legs crossed at the knee.

Does writing have similar tells? It’s a question I look forward to investigating more.

For you, dear friends with a blog of your own, or visitors who simply want to play around with an interesting tool, go ahead, visit, and hopefully surprise yourself. Find out if your favorite blogger is floating on a frothy sea of literary estrogen, or bashing away at their keyboard with a surfeit of testosterone.

If you have any thoughts about how your gender journey is reflected in your writing, please comment here. Happy to plunder this line of thinking with thoughtful people from any point on the compass.

3 comments:

Cassidy Brynn said...

Writing does have tells, but it is not so easily signified. A literary male might signify as female due to range of vocabulary and voice. If I am correct the analyzer searches for content associated with one gender or the other. Still, it's cool.

Jon said...

Thanks for your emails and blog post. Sorry that I've not taken time to answer until now.

Basically it looks on word usage, not sentances. The classifier core is a naive bayesian classifier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naive_Bayesian_classification

You can actually test it on single words and sentances here:
http://www.uclassify.com/browse/uClassify/gender_v3

However the more text - the more accurate =)

I hope that helps!! Keep the blogging up!

Petra Bellejambes said...

Cassidy --- nice thoughts. Here is a follow up question for you (I will send it privately too...) Do you feel occupied by a Feminine Authorial Voice when writing for your blog? Or are you simply writing, as you always do?

Jon ... Thanks! I am guessing that you are the Analyzer guy. Good information, and yes it helps. I just go weak at the knees for Naive Bayesian Classifiers. They are so easy to take advantage of its practically not fair...

Cheers - Petra

 
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