Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Artificial Gender

A friend stumbled on this and I'm playing with it this morning.

This 'analyzer' looks at a blog and guesses/predicts the gender of its author. Breaking the Code was rated as likely written by a woman: 67%. My other blog was got a 72% 'woman' rating.

I've seen these kinds of programs for other types of writing in the past and remember trying out some of my grant language years ago when Peggy and I were working on increasing assertiveness in our professional language.

What reminded me of that was running another friend's (now somewhat neglected) blog through the "genderanalyzer" and finding it got a 55% woman rating.

Hmmm... the last group of students in my Women and Public Space class regularly dissolved into debates over whether the internet was a truly or at least potentially gender-free public space. I think I will send them to this site next time around and let them play with it. Will they argue that gender is fluid, that gender can finally be divorced from biology, or that, based on the existence of the website in the first place, gender persists as a fundamental category of social organization even in realms where physical bodies are not present?

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