Do You Write Strong Manly Prose? Find Out at Gender Guesser

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The Gender Guesser is based on some research done in 2003 by a team of researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University in Israel who developed a method to estimate gender from word usage. Basically you paste in some text and the Gender Guesser provides a score letting you know how likely the writer is to be male or female.

I've plugged in several of my columns and they generally score male, but some show up as "weak male." Not to worry, "weak male" or "weak female" scores may just mean that one is writing like a European.

In addition, I scrounged around on Web for for some Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Willa Cather and Margaret Mitchell. Their scores tended to cluster in the range of weak male and female. Next, I input some recent op/ed columns by George Will, Maureen Dowd, and David Brooks. Pretty much the same result. '

When you have an idle moment, try your hand at gender guessing by throwing in some of your own writing or that of authors in whom you are interested here.

Kudos to frequent commenter Rimfax for the link.

NEXT: Put Down the Book and Step Away From Your Co-Workers

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  1. It gave my writing a score of “Sean Connery”.

  2. I will take The Penis Mightier for $200, Alex.

  3. Episiarch: Not a “Chuck Norris”?

  4. Maybe we should try Ann Coulder..lol Strong male response.

  5. Do you really even need to ask, Ron?

  6. Hey, this accurately guessed my extra Y chromosome.

  7. I pasted in a Spillane-style, profanity-laden redneck fight scene and scored female.

  8. I entered a few of my H&R posts and it came back “Napoleon complex”

  9. Don’t know whether it’s good or bad that my writing scored very high on the male side, especially in the informal mode.

    In my policy field, most of the analysts are male, so I may be affected by that.

  10. I pasted in The Call of Cthulhu and got weak male. Now that’s just wrong.

    Washington’s Farewell Address “friendship and trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none”– gets 51.72% WEAK MALE. Who wrote this thing, John McCain?

  11. I’ve plugged in several of my columns and they generally score male, but some show up as “weak male.”

    You think the ones about global warming will make it change its mind, Ron? Huh?

  12. What exactly make a word more likely to be used by a gender, other than obvious references to genitalia?

    This strikes me as being targeted toward the bottom-of-the-barrel stereotypes.

    On the other hand, perhaps we libertarians have long since shed societal controls like gender roles, and therefore skew the results.

    I’m guessing the words they think are Male include:

    Fart
    Cock
    Wrestling
    Ribs
    Bacon
    life insurance

    For Women:
    Shopping
    tramp
    Bacon
    Flowers
    Unclean Down There
    Marriage

  13. I put in this and now it doesn’t work any more:

    You’re wrong! Jackson Roykirk, your creator, is dead. You have mistaken me for him – you are in error. You did not discover your mistake – you have made two errors. You are flawed and imperfect. And you have not corrected by sterilization – you have made three errors!

  14. US Constitution: Weak Female
    Hugo Chavez address to the US (translation): Male

  15. Edit: Address to the UN

  16. As they point out, the source code is right in the page, and it doesn’t look too good.

    The following increase your male informal score: if, in, is.

    Female informal: am, but, has

    “Something” is +male, “everything” is +female.

    Perhaps they need to explain why this isn’t as simple-minded as it seems.

  17. I wonder how Kipling stack up.

  18. OK, I call bullshit:

    “Chuck Norris will punch you in the face, then JOhn Wayne will crush your skull with a rock.”

    Genre: Formal
    Female = 69
    Male = 13
    Difference = -56; 15.85%
    Verdict: FEMALE

  19. A few months back someone showed me a similar program called the “Gender Genie,” which claimed that all of my articles were written by a man except for my story about working on a phone-sex line. So Gender Genie only acknowledges my femininity when I’m faking orgasms? What a misogynistic prick.

  20. So Gender Genie only acknowledges my femininity when I’m faking orgasms? What a misogynistic prick.

    Or maybe it confirms what I have always suspected based on your posts and your history in the sex-industry…

    Hermaphrodite!!!!

  21. Hmmm….my appellant briefs are overwhelmingly male (one in opposition to a drunk driver’s appeal was male 1085 and female 0) but my personal stories and essays covered the full spectrum. Seems I’m well balanced in my personal life but, when I put on the lawyer’s hat, I become a complete dick.

  22. The website owner used this and some other analysis tools to profile some
    vandal/hackers.

  23. Jennifer,

    I ran some of your old comments here and got FEMALE/FEMALE. I just used the first few that came up in Google (“site:reason.com Jennifer”).

  24. I ran some of your old comments here and got FEMALE/FEMALE. I just used the first few that came up in Google (“site:reason.com Jennifer”).

    Well, my comments are written in a somewhat different style from my professional pieces. Apparently, using a lot of crudeness, prfanity, obscenity and vulgarity is a “female” trait. Huh. Who knew?

  25. Apparently, using a lot of crudeness, prfanity, obscenity and vulgarity is a “female” trait. Huh. Who knew?

    I did, bitch! (said in falsetto)

  26. Now I know how to get in touch with my feminine side. Hooray! I hope it’s not all gooshy, though.

  27. Mine came back Chuck Yeager.

    Somewhat offended to be confused with a Air Force fixed-wing driver, but not that bad to be confused with that particular one.

  28. 85% Male! Woo! My gender identity issues are OVER!

    I think it liked that I used the word axiom.

  29. I hope it’s not all gooshy, though.

    So you said this just to temp me to be disgusting, then? Well, I’m not taking your sloppy bait.

  30. I pasted in a Spillane-style, profanity-laden redneck fight scene and scored female.

    Well, on the flipside, if you pasted in a profanity-laden catfight (preferably in the mud), that would almost have to be male, right?

  31. my writing came back weak male.

    best part:
    “Weak emphasis could indicate European.”

  32. Article criticizing proposed no-smoking-around-kids law:

    Genre: Informal
    Female = 432
    Male = 1177
    Difference = 745; 73.15%
    Verdict: MALE

    Genre: Formal
    Female = 592
    Male = 759
    Difference = 167; 56.18%
    Verdict: Weak MALE

    Weak emphasis could indicate European.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    So informally, I’m a man, but formally, I’m an effete European man.

    This is NOT a fucking improvement AT ALL.

  33. I was consistently male until I threw in a letter with a reference to my son’s dance lessons. Then I turned into a female. Think there is any connection?

  34. I thought for sure I would come up female, given my hesitation to the use of profanity but came up “Male”. Who knew cursing was female?
    FUCK! (gotta get back in touch with my feminine side).

  35. I just pasted some of my writing, and it said I’m an asshole.

  36. The first thing I got it to say anything other than “weak male” (including my own writing) was pasting the entire text of Rothbard’s Do You Hate The State?. For that it just said MALE. Walter Block pieces also seem to rate as MALE. Bastiat also seems to rate as MALE, despite his euro heritage.

  37. Shit, Jamie, I could have told you that without the extra effort.

  38. Mises, human action – MALE
    An essay I wrote on GM in europe – MALE

    MISES and I are the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am the same caliber of writer!!!!!!!

  39. Nathan,

    I put bastiat’s what is money through and it was weak male, but the whole piece is set in dialogue which might change shit.

  40. Dagny walked straight toward the guard who stood at the door of “Project F.” Her steps sounded purposeful, even and open, ringing in the silence of the path among the trees. She raised her head to a ray of moonlight, to let him recognize her face. “Let me in,” she said.

    “No admittance,” he answered in the voice of a robot. “By order of Dr. Ferris.”

    “I am here by order of Mr. Thompson.”

    “Huh? ? I ? I don’t know about that.”

    “I do.”

    “I mean, Dr. Ferris hasn’t told me ? ma’am.”

    “I am telling you.”

    “But I’m not supposed to take any orders from anyone excepting Dr. Ferris.”

    “Do you wish to disobey Mr. Thompson?”

    “Oh, no, ma’am! But ? but if Dr. Ferris said to let nobody in, that means nobody-” He added uncertainly and pleadingly, “-doesn’t it?”

    “Do you know that I am Dagny Taggart and that you’ve seen my pictures in the papers with Mr. Thompson and all the top leaders of the country?”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “Then decide whether you wish to disobey their orders.”

    “Oh, no, ma’am! I don’t!”

    “Then let me in.”

    “But I can’t disobey Dr. Ferris, either!”

    “Then choose.”

    “But I can’t choose, ma’am! Who am I to choose?”

    “You’ll have to.”

    “Look,” he said hastily, pulling a key from his pocket and turning to the door, “I’ll ask the chief. He-”

    “No,” she said.

    Some quality in the tone of her voice made him whirl back to her: she was holding a gun pointed levelly at his heart.

    “Listen carefully,” she said. “Either you let me in or I shoot you. You may try to shoot me first, if you can. You have that choice-and no other. Now decide.”

    His mouth fell open and the key dropped from his hand.

    “Get out of my way,” she said.

    He shook his head frantically, pressing his back against the door. “Oh Christ, ma’am!” he gulped in the whine of a desperate plea. “I can’t shoot at you, seeing as you come from Mr. Thompson! And I can’t let you in against the word of Dr. Ferris! What am I to do? I’m only a little fellow! I’m only obeying orders! It’s not up to me!”

    “It’s your life,” she said.

    “If you let me ask the chief, he’ll tell me, he’ll-”

    “I won’t let you ask anyone.”

    “But how do I know that you really have an order from Mr. Thompson?”

    “You don’t. Maybe I haven’t. Maybe I’m acting on my own-and you’ll be punished for obeying me. Maybe I have-and you’ll be thrown in jail for disobeying. Maybe Dr. Ferris and Mr. Thompson agree about this. Maybe they don’t-and you have to defy one or the other. These are the things you have to decide. There is no one to ask, no one to call, no one to tell you. You will have to decide them yourself.”

    “But I can’t decide! Why me?”

    “Because it’s your body that’s barring my way.”

    “But I can’t decide! I’m not supposed to decide!”

    “I’ll count to three,” she said. “Then I’ll shoot.”

    “Wait! Wait! I haven’t said yes or no!” he cried, cringing tighter against the door, as if immobility of mind and body were his best protection.

    “One-” she counted; she could see his eyes staring at her in terror-“Two-” she could see that the gun held less terror for him than the alternative she offered-“Three.”

    Calmly and impersonally, she, who would have hesitated to fire at an animal, pulled the trigger and fired straight at the heart of a man who had wanted to exist without the responsibility of consciousness.

    Her gun was equipped with a silencer; there was no sound to attract anyone’s attention, only the thud of a body falling at her feet.

    She picked up the key from the ground-then waited for a few brief moments, as had been agreed upon.

    Francisco was first to join her, coming from behind a corner of the building, then Hank Rearden, then Ragnar Danneskj?ld. There had been four guards posted at intervals among the trees, around the building. They were now disposed of: one was dead, three were left in the brush, bound and gagged.
    Total words: 748

    Genre: Informal
    Female = 1119
    Male = 1072
    Difference = -47; 48.92%
    Verdict: Weak FEMALE

    Weak emphasis could indicate European. Genre: Formal
    Female = 715
    Male = 723
    Difference = 8; 50.27%
    Verdict: Weak MALE

    Weak emphasis could indicate European.

  41. Hey! I finally wrote something non-orgasmic which Gender Guesser accurately realized was written by a woman! Here it is, in its entirety:

    MY BATTLE WITH PROSTATE CANCER
    By Manly McRambo

    “Shit!” I said. “My testicles are rotting from within. Ouch ouch ouch this hurts and cancer sucks.”

    My wife, a woman with whom I enjoy regular heterosexual intercourse, looked concerned. “You ARE current on your life-insurance premiums, aren’t you, dear?” she asked.

    “Of course,” I said. “Being that I am a man, I take my responsibility to my family very seriously. I also enjoy going to strip clubs and watching televised sports. Ball-scratching also used to be fun, until that started to hurt too much.”

    Genre: Informal
    Female = 80
    Male = 44
    Difference = -36; 35.48%
    Verdict: FEMALE

    Genre: Formal
    Female = 152
    Male = 86
    Difference = -66; 36.13%
    Verdict: FEMALE

  42. Thread to Jennifer…

  43. OK, one of my articles and my statement of teaching philosophy came back male (though as with a lot of people here, apparently, my article showed euro-male in the formal setting).

    I checked and I do indeed have the testes, so this is an excellent program.

  44. Jennifer,
    In your story, you have the dude complain to much about his aches and pains and discuss life insurance. The machine thinks that’s girly.

    “About Gender Guesser” returns:

    Genre: Informal
    Female = 383
    Male = 1460
    Difference = 1077; 79.21%
    Verdict: MALE

    Genre: Formal
    Female = 794
    Male = 891
    Difference = 97; 52.87%
    Verdict: Weak MALE

    Weak emphasis could indicate European.

  45. That was brilliant, Jennifer.

    I was consistently male until I threw in a letter with a reference to my son’s dance lessons. Then I turned into a female. Think there is any connection?

    I’d venture to say yes. Everything I ran through was firmly “male” until I put in a piece of creative non-fiction about breaking my leg at a high school dance. That was “weak female” until I removed some words like “tulle” and “chiffon.” Other than that, an inorganic chem paper was the most androgynous of my “weak male” writing.

    I’ve seen my karyotype, and I’m definitely XX.

  46. In your story, you have the dude complain to much about his aches and pains and discuss life insurance. The machine thinks that’s girly.

    Yah. More manly dialogue would go thusly:

    “Are you busy, honey?” he asked. “No? Then bend over the couch here. Ow! Ow! Ow… oh yeah!”

    Genre: Formal
    Female = 0
    Male = 35
    Difference = 35; 100%
    Verdict: MALE

  47. If they actually wanted to do this, I can give them a few ideas. It would actually be pretty interesting to see if one could develop software that can accurately predict male or female based on writings.

    However, some crappy little javascript code is not the way to do it. It looks like they are rating the “gender” of words themselves — they would be better suited with a database that updates itself after each trial.

    For instance, you submit text, it analyzes it then predicts your gender. Then you tell it if it was correct. Based on that, it adjusts the gender values of various words (only slightly) & would even allow for the addition of new words.

  48. syntactic analysis would be interesting as well:

    Do men and women (on average) use the same words in different ways?

    disclaimer:
    I do not think this implies genetics as causation, obviously could be cultural. Testing how well this sort of thing holds up over different cultures and languages would be interesting as well. Its just an interesting thing.

  49. to the guy who’s spoofing joe,
    Please don’t spoof joe while he’s not around. Then I might pick an argument with a satire. It’s very difficult to know when it’s a spoof and when it’s actually joe. I have posted this warning on another thread, too.

  50. economist:

    I use this screen name, or “joe’s an idiot” and use the same email (except that I forgot a couple of times recently)

    And I don’t use joe’s name or email. It ain’t kosher, and anyway I get no juice from teasing (baiting) an absent joe.

  51. Wow. My writing scored as “Eurotrash with an enlarged prostate.”

  52. I’m a boy. What’s disturbing about the ratings of my writings at my site (linked from post ID) is that while I rate overwhelmingly male in my informal writings, usually male but sometimes somewhat female or European in my informal writings, in the one place I want to be most formal in the sense of serious, my resume, I come out solidly female. So it’s like the more formal the circumstances, the more female it takes my writing to be.

  53. An excerpt from one of my articles was male.

    I tried two 80+ post H&R comment threads, and they came up as “male” (assuming we count comment threads as informal). I did a H&R thread with about 35 posts, and it was “weak male.”

    Ann Coulter’s latest column came up as weak male/possibly European. Unless you classify the column as informal, in which case it’s male.

    I plugged in a couple scenes from “Hamlet,” and they were weak male/possibly European. This is understandable, because Shakespeare is technically European. Also, Hamlet was, let’s face it, a wuss.

    But then I plugged in the last scene of Shakespeare’s *Titus Andronicus.* This is the the grossest, most violent scene in a gross, violent play. It’s the scene where Titus tricks the queen into eating her own children. It came out as weak male/possible European, just like the Hamlet scenes! Maybe it was the cooking reference.

  54. Hmmm…my failed “novels” came back as ‘weak male possibly EUROPEAN’, whilst my overly verbose poetry and blogging came back as overwhelmingly male.

    It also forced me to confront what a mediocre writer I am when my writing is more ‘female’ (disregarding my awesome usage of descriptors).

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