I happened upon this site, Gender Guesser at Hack Factor, the other day. Being I never gave much thought to gender roles as a writer (I often head hop into characters, both male and female), I figured I’d give it a go.
Two samples of fiction turned up a ‘male’ results. Factors the system considers includes the use of words like ‘and’ and gender specific keywords such as ‘was’ and ‘is’ as female, and ‘the’ and ‘it’ as male.
I’m not sure how they made that conclusion.
Whatever the results, I feel they are just plain biased. First of all, labeled as one or the other as ‘weak’ already shows bias against a gender, not a writing style. Weak writing should be seen as weak writing and only weak writing- not female or male.
Oddly, I’m often mistaken for male online. My guess it has more to do with my online name as Frootbat31. One guy explained he thought I was male because “what female would pick a bat as her avatar?”. Um, me, apparently.
A fellow chatter once explained his reason of assuming my being male had something to with my humor and style of talking. Perhaps it has that element my son told me the other day, how I have a ‘take-no-crap’ attitude?
I think the real issue should focus on weak writing versus strong writing, and how we, as writers, need to practice the strong writing. Labeling as one gender ties into all sorts of nature versus nurture arguments, and I think in this modern age, we can recognize there’s exceptions to every rule.
If the gender guesser assumes you’re female, reread your stuff and highlight any words such as ‘is, was, were, should, should’. Find stronger verbs to describe the action, or even delete them. “We were late to the party” can easily be shifted to “We arrived late to the party”.
Personally, I feel I write like a PERSON and am satisfied with that.