Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Have you ever commented to someone, “You write like a girl!” or “You write like a guy!”
Leaving aside whether we intend such comments as insults or compliments, researchers say there really are subtle indicators in English about whether a writer slants male or female.
Apart from word choice, these indicators include sentence structure, paragraph length, punctuation choices, use of pronouns, emotional intensity, use of numbers and focus on things (male-ish) or on relationships (female-ish).
If you’re trying to persuade or attract one gender more than the other, or if you’re wondering why one gender responds more to your pitches than the other, it’s worth experimenting with two free online gender analysis tools that apply what’s known from statistical databases.
Another set of tools helps if you’re trying to be gender neutral, for instance, in describing your next marketing hire or in recommending a colleague for a position.
You might object that these tools accept gender stereotyping. They do, but it’s just a fact that unfair beliefs influence how a particular arrangement of words gets perceived.