Saturday, December 27, 2003

Sitting down
A while ago Jill, me and several others, among those Liz Lawley and Dennis G. Jerz, sent our writing through gender-detection software. We all had texts that came out both as male and as female. Typically for the texts that came out as written by men was that they were written in the authoritative voice of scholarship - it was the voices we use when we talk about the topics we really know something about, something other than our private lives and emotions, and on fields where we are authorities. Also, it was when we made conscious attempts to conform to the writing in fields where men are supposed to dominate.

So, Edward Castranova runs the texts from a Dominant Woman at a BDSM site through the gender-check software, and finds that she is male:

And there's the added benefit that, in collecting the data, the company has some weapons to go after the behaviors that are messing up Sims Online. Example: I took text from Lady Julianna's writing at the Alphaville BDSM site Black Rose Castle (found through Ludlow's Alphaville Herald BDSM interview) and ran it through a gender-detection engine. OK, so Lady Julianna is a man. Doesn't really mean anything here, but it opens interesting potentials and problems.

If somebody writes with authority about something they know - suddenly they are male? Gentlemen... really.... think again. Writing in a way the gender-recognition software recognizes as a male does not require male genitalia.

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