You Write Like a Girl

I was reading Ward 6 (see under my Writing blogroll) and I found a post with the same title as above. It struck me because I had used the same title before when I (and a friend) wrote up a piece intended to provoke a discussion for a ezine attached to the online promotion for a television series about mysteries. When I went on the web I found that this was a pretty common phrase. Oh well. And the first paragraph was

“Readers are often surprised at the violence and sheer nastiness in Val McDermid’s mysteries yet I have to wonder why. Writers of the “gentle persuasion” have often produced stomach churning descriptions of crime scenes and lovingly laid out the repellant mindset of the murderer…I remember more than one person being repelled enough by Mo Hayder’s first book, Birdman, to never read her again. ” and so forth and then near the end I opined that”Gender is one of the red herrings in the ocean of literature” so maybe somebody out there wants to have a go at that.

But back to my story. The Ward 6 posting pointed one towards a little machine that if you plunk in your writing will tell you what gender you are, which I suppose could be handy for some folks. In my case, it had me wondering. Now, I am a male (asses of steel are common in both sexes of all persuasions) but I found that when I entered my usual musings I ended up males but my travel accounts or my story (blogentry: A True Story) showed me to be very female indeed (I hesitate to say feminine). This one by the way comes up as predominantly male. Anyway, try it out, let me know, and let me know if you think there are gender differences in writing.

3 comments on “You Write Like a Girl

  1. Thankyou so much for that link. I entered a bit of of my story that I wrote from a female pov and I got a high female score, and then I entered one in which I had tried to speak from a man’s pov and I got a very high male score. It matters a lot to me that I’m getting this right because my writing deals with a lot of gender issues.

  2. I’m guessing that the machine is based on some preconceived notions of feminine and masculine. Some of the writing out there is definitely masculine, but if you can tell with in two sentences than they’re probably writing that way on purpose. Almost making a caricature of their masculinity or femininity.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Good writing is just good writing, and some of the best writing, you’d be hard put to tell what the gender of the author is.

    That’s my two cents.

  3. I used two pieces of fiction and two random blog entries. For my Buffy “slash” I got a very high female score. One of my blog entries (“Ecouterism”) got a high male score. The other piece of fiction (“Meditations on Monogomy”) was male, and “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” was female. I didn’t know what to make of all this so I popped in “Big Two-Hearted River” by Hemingway and got a very high male score. I still don’t know what to make of it. I wonder if they are using Hemingway as a template for masculine and Charlotte Bronte for feminine.

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