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Character Genders

I was recently given a URL for an interesting web site: Hacker Factor Gender Guesser.  It purports to use text to determine the gender of the author, and while I have no idea what the general validity of the method or how independent it is of things like education levels, socio-economic classes, religious points of view, cultural backgrounds, etc. the results of playing with it are interesting.  I put in text from three of my novels, starting with Thinking Outside the Tower.  It has a two character first-person POV: Allison and Sean.  I did the same for first-person sections of The Tower of the Ancients for Paul, Simon, Stephanie and Jenna.   For all those I used the formal results, since it is a book. I then put in spoken dialog from characters David, Fiona, Jirina and Klara, but I used the informal results since that was dialog.  These are the results I get:

  • Allison - female

  • Sean - male

  • Paul - male

  • Simon - female

  • Jenna - female (strongly)

  • Stephanie - female (strongly)

  • David - male

  • Fiona - female (just)

  • Klara - female

  • Jirina - female (strongly)

Now, many of those are described as weak, but the web site points out that European patterns tend to be weakly identified.  Since David, Klara, Allison and Sean have European-like patterns, that is perfect.  While Paul is a highly trained military officer, he is also fairly empathic and good with people.  Jirina is very strongly secure in her gender role and identity, so that also makes sense   Fiona is a heavily conflicted character who is ascerbic and judgemental, so I'm not surprised her patterns came out very close to the line. Simon did not surprise me: he's a highly educated historian, a sensitive character who's very conscious of his (poorly understood) emotions and not confident nor comfortable within himself.

Actually, the surprise was Stephanie.  She's a street smart and hardened, tough-minded witch that calls a spade a spade, contemplates eating her pet when she is starving, curses as swears like the best of them, considers many emotions to be a weakness and will be in your face if it suits her.  Sure, she understands loyalty, familial love and team-work, but when the cards go down, she's a survivor.  When she is attacked, she's more worried about her chickens (food supply) than the humans she might kill when defending herself.