View Full Version : Does Tone= Gender?

5th January 2006, 4:24 AM
So, an interesting thing happened to me the other day; I was letting my friend read something I wrote, but didn't get a chance to tell him it was mine. He gives it back and asks if my girlfriend wrote it.


Obviously, I took this weird. After telling him it was mine, he looked at me for a minute and practically insisted that by the style, a female wrote it. So this made me think about it for a bit. Can people really tell the author's gender by the tone of writing? And if so, what kind of things would be the factors to finding such a thing (distinct themes for particular genders)?

5th January 2006, 4:44 AM
I don't think that it's the tone that indicates whether the author is male or female. However, I will say that I can usually tell the gender of the author by the way that the story is written. This reminds me of another instance of a friend of mine who was rather put out by the fact that someone told him that he "writes like a girl." Which they seemed to think was a compliment.

In any case, I can't really put my finger on the difference between a "guy" story or a "girl" story. It's not to do with subject matter (as I'm sure Scrap's fics attest to, and I knew she was a girl right away) nor is it really to do with the specific words that are used or anything like that. Guys just seem to turn different phrases than gals; the syntax, I think, is a little different, and possibly the focus of the description as well. I don't really know how to put it into words, because I don't really know how I get the impression of the gender of the author just by reading what they've written.

Anyway, it's not something that applies in all instances. You said that your friend thought your 'fic was written by your girlfried, so I take it that you're a guy. I have to admit, I guessed wrong in your case.

Willow's Tara
5th January 2006, 4:47 AM
No I don't think so, I write stories, alot, Romance, Drama Action, Suspense, Anst, and I am a guy so I don't think it matters with the gender.

5th January 2006, 5:22 AM
I seem to suffer from a condition where most of my readers are shocked to discover I'm a girl. It could be because of my subject matter...or my girl x girl relationships, mostly associated with overweight 30-year old men with no life and a limp dick. XP I honestly can't pinpoint why exactly people assume I'm a guy, so I'm no help. But I'll try to take a wild stab-- the "emotional" content.

I once heard this analogy at school where a man's writing hits you like a blunt sledgehammer, while a woman's writing hits you like a crystal dagger. It makes no sense at first, but when I thoguht about it after a while, it seems to. Take the psychology in question. I don't really want to go into the whole gender psychology thing here, but it's like...aw, the hell. I'll use myself and Syra as an example.

Most people think I'm a guy, while Syra is often mistaken for a girl. Comparing our writing, it makes a weird kind of sense.

My way is most often associated with the MAN's way-- I take people by the hand and place their hands on the non-visible corpse under the white sheet....and forcibly make them touch it, feel it, without letting them pull away, despite their shrieks and shudders.

Syra's way is to dramatically rip the sheet off the corpse and gleefully point out all its details, like a travel guide. He excitedly describes to the disgusted viewers how the black hemorrhage is oozing out of the lung cavity because it's exploded and collapsed into itself from diease; however, I PUSH the readers' faces into the mess like a groom pushing a bride's face into the wedding cake. My way reflects a "masculine" brutality while his way reflects purple roses. (Don't ask. XD)

Does that make sense? @_@

5th January 2006, 5:35 AM
Well, I guess this is the best thread to do it...

My full name is actually Billy Jean. Had all ya'll fooled, huh?

No, just kidding, but I really don't know what it is about someone's post that immediately identifies them as male or female. I super thought Willow's Tara was a girl until ten minutes ago. I agree with Negrek in that guys seem to have a different way of putting their words together. Also, a guy's fic will probably have less emphasis on emotion than a girl's. Probably more focus on things that are without [without what?] rather than things that are within.

5th January 2006, 9:25 AM
I get more confused on people's usernames who write the stories than the stories themselves.

5th January 2006, 11:12 AM
Sometimes I think I have a feeling from the way people post about which gender they are, but I do tend to be very wrong sometimes... (Admittedly, I'm often right too.)

There might be something we think we can sense, but can't really. =/

5th January 2006, 11:34 AM
how can tone make you think a girl wrote it, the content, maybe, but tone?

5th January 2006, 3:38 PM
I seriously thought that Willows Tara was a girl. *blinks* Oops...

Well, I don't know. Normally I can tell, but the usernames often hint the gender. I have gotten it wrong plenty of times. I don't know about my own writing, my family would know and my friends would never read it. On here, my user name gives it away. katiekitten Kinda feminin isn't it? It is the way people write, I know that, but I haven't read enough fanfics to know the difference. Haven't checked either. I'll get back to you on this...

Elemental Charizam
5th January 2006, 5:15 PM
No, I don't think you can tell. I think what people do is associate a certain kind of writing style with a gender because in their experience, it's people of that gender that write that way. And perhaps there is some truth to it; a style may be favoured by one gender, but as evidenced by the huge amount of times people get it wrong, it isn't reliable. There are too many people who don't fit into these patterns to assume you can predict a person's gender based on them, IMO.

5th January 2006, 7:47 PM
I generally just went on my gut feeling, so I almost always get it wrong unless it's glaringly obvious(cases in point: Billy5772 and katiekitten, about the only people I guessed right) Eventually I just got fed up and then started reading their sigs for hints(what their bishie is, any comments, the blantly obvious "I'm a girl/guy" comment)

The writing thing can work sometimes, and sometimes it can't. People never seem to guess my gender by my writing. By which I mean they haven't attempted, so I'm stuck with the fact I can't use my own as an example. But yeah, Scraps about right. I also go on main characters in a first story, as usually main characters are the same gender as the writer. It makes it easier to get inside the head of that character as you can use yourself as an example. Of course that too also fails as of course numerous writers use mcs of the opposite gender(Pikachuism is the only example that comes to mind, though it's hard to tell if it's Rinoa or Felix who's the mc).

I have no examples to present of my own, as even IRL, most people just struggle to believe I wrote something like I do(my school isn't famous for writers).

So in other words, your better off guessing than taking writers style, as all it takes is the skills they have in order to write to change tone and then it ruins the system.