Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gender, Sex, Identity

She Who Would One Day Be Fabulous cited this name tag creator which contains a prefabricated list of hundreds of gender, sexuality and identity terms (there's also a "Randomize" button, if you're feeling shameless and free; I will admit, there are probably more terms on that list I don't recognize....). This raises an interesting issue which came up in comments on the Blog Against Disabilism Day post.

This blog has been reasonably gender-neutral, I think. I haven't given away any personal information which is obviously gendered that I'm aware of; it's a deliberate choice. I have a gender, sexuality, sexual identity and preferences; this blog isn't really a place to talk about them, though. Looking at my blogroll and carnival interests, they're pretty balanced. On carnivals, for instance, I highlight and participate in predominantly female events (Carnival of Feminists, Kid Comedy) and some that are mostly male (Carnival of Satire, Skeptics' Circle, Vanities) and a bunch that are pretty balanced (the History carnivals, Liberals, Grand Rounds, Blogmandu, Teaching). My blogroll is about 1/3rd female (though I think my blog linkage, insofar as it can be gender-sorted is probably closer to half/half, and my comments on other blogs, too).

So I find it fascinating when other bloggers assign a gender to me. The consensus in the BADD comments was that I'm female and my spouse male; other bloggers have labelled me male ("Dude" "Guy"). So far, as near as I can tell, it's female bloggers who've tagged me as female, and male bloggers who've tagged me as male. I don't know that it means anything, necessarily, but it's interesting to see.

I'd love to hear from other non-gendered bloggers out there about their experiences, and anyone (aside from those few people who actually do know who I am, who are politely but firmly requested to keep out of it) who thinks I've "given it away" without knowing it is invited to make their case.


Anonymous said...

Well, I have gender. :) But I also have a guess.

I assume 60% of the time that you're male, and 40% of the time that you're female. (Maybe 65-35.) (My brain isn't an exact science.)

As for why? Hmmm...I like your position on women's issues but there's a touch of...well, of distance in the way you discuss them. Not always like you've "been there," if that makes sense.

Of course, you talk about them more than I do, which makes your choice of topics more "female" than mine. :)

You're very rational and very balanced. Dispassionate but humorous. In ways that strike me as male. (I tend to find myself leading toward men's writing, whether as a result of training ovr the years or inclination, I don't know.)

On the other hand, you take a lot of on-line quizzes and I generally see those showing up on women's blogs. So then I think of you more as female.

Heck, I don't know. I always think of you as one of my favorite bloggers and one of the most interesting stops in my day.


Ahistoricality said...

Kids are female and satire is male?
No, that's not what I meant. The participants in the Carnival of Kid Comedy are mostly female and the participants in the Carnival of Satire are mostly male.

There's no inherent reason why that should be so (and I'm the first [well, the loudest, anyway] to say that making them more balanced would probably improve them), but sometimes that's the way it goes.

Anonymous said...

I assumed you were female because you commented on my blog, which has a mostly female readership. There's a few good guys who hang around, true, but they're the minority.

Another thought, though. Bear in mind that I've been involved in online stuff since the old GEnie free after hours network back in the early 90s (before that, the old Plato system in the early 80s), so I'm what passes for a net old-timer. As the internet came to be known as such and became more popular, I chose to keep myself gender neutral by using a non-gendered form and spelling of my name. I met quite a few other people doing the same thing, and they were predominately female. It was our defense against harassment and a way to have our ideas taken seriously in the days when the internet was very heavily male-dominated, and to be brutally honest, overrun by idiots who'd been kept out before by virtue of lacking the ability to write a dialer script. In those days, most assumed I was male because I hung out in political and writer chats, which was fine with me. It kept the obscene private messages to a minimum.

So, when I run across someone making an effort to stay de-gendered, I default to female because of those experiences. For what it's worth.