Guess… (a.k.a. “Weaver STILL doesn’t believe anyone can tell an author’s gender by writing samples alone.”)

This is a follow-up to an earlier test I did with my own fiction as well as others’ for samples. Because I cannot leave well enough alone, I did another round of playing with that Gender Guesser program…

Sample 1: male author, male POV character. Test results: female 2889, male 3584, difference 695 (55.36%) = ‘weak’ male, possibly European*

Sample 2: male author, male POV character. Test results: female 1583, male 4230, difference 2647 (72.76%) = male

Sample 3: male author, female POV character. Test results: female 7206, male 8488, difference 1282 (54.08%) = ‘weak’ male, possibly European

Sample 4: female author, female POV character. Test results: female 7887, male 7986, difference 99 (50.31%) = ‘weak’ male, possibly European

Sample 5: female author, male POV character. Test results: female 4806, male 5259, difference 453 (52.25%) = ‘weak’ male, possibly European

Sample 6: female author, female POV character. Test results: female 4786, male 11588, difference 6802 (70.77%) = male

Sample 7: female author, female POV character. Test results: female 5666, male 12541, difference 6875 (68.88%) = male

Sample 8: male author, male POV character. Test results: female 1345, male 2763, difference 1418 (67.25%) = male

(*This is not saying European men are weak; it’s saying there is more difficulty determining the gender of a European author than there would be with an American. Y’see, you can always tell if an American writer is male or female — except when you can’t, of course. But apparently European men are less likely to feel they have to prove their maleness by using only “manly” words and writing only “manly” sentences, or something like that. Which gives me an idea. Please wait a moment while I go find something by that guy with all the polydactyl cats… Got it. Tested “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” The Gender Guesser program thinks Ernest Hemingway may not have been a man. Or if he was, he was possibly European and didn’t write “manly” sentences. It rated this short story at only 50.48 percent male in writing style. Hemingway… Isn’t he the one all the “manly” dude-writers want to be like when they grow up?)

Now let me tell you what those samples are. (So you don’t have to scroll back and forth, the ones that were guessed wrong are in red.)

1: the first part of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

2: “Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains,” by Roger Zelazny (In the previous test, by the way, the same author — and same POV character — got a different result.)

3: “Elhy,” by Gregory S. Close

4 and 5 are both passages from Emma Bull’s novel Falcon

6: “Personal Paradise,” by Barbara Hambly

7: “Whisper,” by Barbara Hambly

8: the prelude (like a prologue but called something else so readers don’t foolishly skip it) from In Siege of Daylight, by Gregory S. Close


 

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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6 Responses to Guess… (a.k.a. “Weaver STILL doesn’t believe anyone can tell an author’s gender by writing samples alone.”)

  1. What an interesting article!! I wonder if they’ll be able to tell my gender when they read my books? I know I have nothing to prove, after the war, so would I register as a weak European male?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The degree of things our writing reveals about ourselves can be disturbing at times…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ziresta says:

    Does it EVER conclude the author is female? It seems like regardless of what I put in, I get either male or ‘weak male, possibly European.'”

    Liked by 1 person

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