Friday, June 24, 2011

Can you tell an author's sex?

Master Of The House
ah stop, I don't mean this in any unkind way

Today The New Yorker blog continues with the Naipaul controversy, for any one who missed it - Naipaul was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He was very certain in his answer...

"I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me."

`" this was because of women's "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world". "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too," he said. He added: "My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way."`

Lo and behold!

Now it seems there is a new program - gender classification from text - it `spits out a gender judgement: male, female or neutral. The neutral option points to how much of the text has been stripped of any indication of gender. This is something particularly prevalent in scientific texts, the researchers say.`

I tried it and, Lo and Behold!

I'm a man! Who knew, who knew... so, click, if you dare....
Gender Classification from Text


After you've found out what sex you are, you can find out who you write like over at SortofWriting
I know, I know, I should be just writing...


120 Socks said...

What a post! I remember once an author(male of course),told me that novice writers should not cross gender - I immediately went home and wrote from a weido male point of view! Which incidently turned out to be one of my most sucessful characters in the little old novel! Oh Lord!

120 Socks said...

Can't get on to the link by the way! Guess I will have to keep wondering!

120 Socks said...

Okay, managed to get link to work and I am a MAN! So now I understand how I can write from a male pov. In the follow up question asking if the results were correct, I was tempted to click 'not sure' - how many people out there are not sure if they are male or female - much more important question!!! Can I do a blog post on this gender link - It would be lots of fun!

Brigid said...

Niamh, that is a great idea for a writing analysis, I cant get it to work though, will go back to it later.
Dying to know if I write like a man, I certainly cook like one!!

Words A Day said...

120 Socks
You write like a man too? What can this mean?!

I think it might be getting a lot of traffic, hopefully it will answer ALL your questions later...:)

Old Kitty said...

In the words of the Jack Lemmon character in Some Like it Hot: "I'm a boy. I'm a boy. I wish I were dead. I'm a boy. Boy, oh boy, am I a boy."


And I write like Neil Gaiman!

So stick that in yer pipe Mr Naipul.

Take care

Words A Day said...

Old Kitty
great quote! (I love that film.)
Aint there anyone out there write like a woman?

martine said...

Interestingly when I read 'One thousand splendid suns' I thought that Khaled Hosseini was a woman, because the name was unfamiliar and i had no means of knowing either way (I had not read the Kite Runner) and the voice of the main characters was so convincing I just assumed he was female. The statement by Naipaul was just misogynistic ignorance, but it does raise interesting questions about the way writers write and readers read.
thanks for sharing

Brigid said...

Ok, Niamh, got it to work.
And yes, I write like a man!! Interestingly, the text I entered was from a story I wrote where I wanted to write in a sharper, cleaner, male type of way, so maybe I am on the right track.
Great fun, I now write and cook like a man, by the way I think Janie Joyce is a great name, I may set up a blog under that name and write about life today in a strange Joycean way..

Mari G said...

Great post, Niamh.
I actually have Naipaul's quote stuck on to my writing notebook so fascinated am I by his misogynism.
Haven't tried the analysis yet...

Theresa Milstein said...

You make such a lovely-looking man!

I'm going to have to try this.