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June 03, 2011

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Ugh. Three out of ten.

The more I think about, the more I think a low score is a good thing.

Leslie - Three out of ten for me too and Laura I agree. A low score is a good thing. It's just that we're so competitive that we hate to get a low score on anything.

Thanks for the exercise, LO. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. I took it twice without looking at the answers, scoring 4 the first time, 8 the second. But I am convinced that the exercise is flawed because of the medium's interference: you keep applying your test-taking intelligence to the task, assuming that -- as on SATS, GRES, and other standardized tests -- there are trick questions and that the ones that seem "obviously male" or "obviously female" are not as they seem. Of course I agree with Stacey about not liking low scores (except on cholesterol, blood pressure, and earned-run average). Wouldn't it be nice if people could make their speculations about sex and gender without being and sounding obnoxious, arrogant, angry, defensive or complacent? -- DL

I agree, DL - it's hard to take seriously anything Naipaul says on the subject, since his egomania borders on the sociopathic. Actually, he's such a great big jerk that it is hard for me to take seriously anything he says about anything.

To preface what could be a dangerous comment: I am not defending the words of an asshat.

But what I would like to say is that oftentimes, telling the difference between a female and a male narrative voice isn't so difficult. There's no misogynistic meaning in that, and I'm not judging a voice that is "better" than another. There is, however, often a major difference in style and tone.

And yes, yes, it varies from person to person. But I often find myself in the same situation - not so much with fiction - but in essays. Pick up Newsweek; you can tell within thirty words if the article is written by a man or a woman.

D.O. - while I don't agree with your contention that a writer's gender is that easy to determine, I do think that what annoyed everyone - and what got my steam up - are Naipaul's contentions that no woman writer is "better than I am" and that women writers are sentimental and sloppy. The discussion vis-a-vis style is worth a look; Naipaul's raging egomania and misogyny are not.

First, congratulations to Naipaul for saying something -- was he serious? -- that stirs the pot like this. But the topic is one I've often thought about and not only does it seem to me that women writers can be "as good as" Naipaul, but there is an argument that all artists (including writers) actually ARE women. This idea was articulated by none other than the otherwise very misogynistic Pablo Picasso as follows: "I am a woman. Every artist is a woman and should have a taste for other women." Since for some time now I've realized that I am a male lesbian, I could not agree more! Another male lesbian, Gustave Flaubert, was very on point about this when he stated, "I am Madame Bovary." He was a woman! Joyce was obviously a woman. Indeed, Naipaul himself is almost certainly a woman, although he may be struggling with it. He has also said he doesn't like music. What a character!

I took the test and got three of ten. Score sheet said, "What are you, a girl or something?" Yes!

Completely agree; well said.

10 of 10. Don't see what the rest of you found so hard. Er, difficult.


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