Saturday, August 9, 2008
Last year I did this little experiment on my myspace blog and I found the Gender Guesser website in my bookmarks today--So I thought I would share it here.
This is a link to Gender Guesser, where you can paste something you've written and the site will evaluate whether it was written by a man or woman.
I haven't pasted something random here--It's actually the first couple pages of CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS. Surprise! Later, you'll be able to read the whole first chapter on my www.laurabenedict.com website or on the Random House site.
She was just plain Alice, and they never let her forget.
Roxanne and Delilah, who was called Del, knelt close to Alice by the light of a candle, the skirts of their stiff blue school uniforms crumpling against her. Del rested a hand on Alice’s shoulder as though she might try to get up from the leaf-strewn ground and run away. But they all knew she wouldn’t. Roxanne used a twig to stir some pungent concoction in a shell-thin African bowl she had brought from home. The odor suffused the copse like the fug from an ancient outhouse. To Alice, it smelled suspiciously like a baby’s dirty diaper. There was something else, though. Something caustic and chemical-smelling that made her eyes water.
“I don’t have to eat it, do I?” Alice said.
“Oh God,” Del said. She hadn’t wanted to go along with this whole thing in the first place. She was nervous enough about being in the park after dark. And there was something deeply wrong with what they were doing, she knew. Witchcraft on television was fine, but this was something else.
“Of course not,” Roxanne said, her voice patient. The bowl was heavy in her hands, though it hardly contained anything at all. If she were a few years older than thirteen, she would know it was heavy with her own desire—a desire that she could, at that moment, identify only as dimly sexual.
“Get her coat off,” she told Del.
“Come on,” Del said. “Don’t be a baby, Alice.”
She reached for the buttons on the front of Alice’s pea coat, which was exactly like the ones she and Roxanne were wearing, though Roxanne’s had a black velvet scarf with elaborate roses etched into its nap tucked beneath the collar. Alice didn’t help with the coat, but she didn’t resist, either. Del flung the coat and the blue cardigan sweater with its Our Lady of the Hills crest onto the dormant grass.
Alice shivered in her blouse, hoping that she would be able to leave on at least her skirt and socks.
Roxanne nodded. Del’s cold-numbed fingers tugged at the buttons of Alice’s blouse.
“For pity’s sake,” Roxanne said. “Alice, you need to unbutton your blouse. You don’t have to undo it all the way. Then you need to lie down.”
Alice did as she was told. Roxanne put down the bowl and tucked the discarded coat beneath Alice’s head. She brushed her fingertips over Alice’s brow and smiled. Sweet, tender Alice. Though perhaps not so sweet—she whined sometimes. But at least she was Pure Alice, who had never been kissed—a virgin, as they all were.
“Now. Everyone be quiet,” she said, picking up the bowl. Her hands shook a bit with the excitement of it all. She closed her eyes.
The words she spoke—seemingly to the sky, or the air in front of her—were unintelligible to the others. Her tone was one of supplication: a petition or a prayer, not so different from the prayers the priests said at mass. She tried for the same singsong in her voice, the same careful cadence. She’s added a few thoughts and words of her own to the spell she took from the satanic witchcraft book she stole from the public library, thinking that they would make it more effective.
The herbs in the mash were ones she remembered being used in a joyful Santeria rite that her mother had taken her to, when her mother was on one of her “spiritual quests.” It was this blending of dark magic and the divine that she believed would give them what they wanted.
This is what Gender Guesser says:
Female = 470
Male = 1236
Difference = 766; 72.45%
Female = 988
Male = 737
Difference = -251; 42.72%
Verdict: Weak FEMALE
I'd consider this formal writing, so I'm apparently a weak female--or possibly a European male!
What does Gender Guesser say about your writing?