Is Flynn a Guy or a Girl?
Am I a male or a female or something else?
Alright, first off I'll make it easy and say I'm not something else. But what my actual sex is has apparently been a source of question and confusion, and so of course, I had to make a page about it (because I'm a Squidoo addict).
One's choice of presentation online, being not necessarily related to one's actual sex, is more accurately termed gender, so that is what I will use the two terms as. Gender for one's identification, sex for one's physical state.
Why is this a question? Because gender is one of the most basic questions about people - is it a boy? they ask of babies, can I have sex with them? they ask of new people (...well. Maybe not explicitly!) People tend to categorise others as one or the other and this runs into some interesting problems with only written and pictorial clues...
I decided not to choose, because both 'boy' and 'girl' came with a set of assumptions. Sure, these assumptions change from person to person, but I don't want to categorise myself like that and then have people learn about me as an individual. Rather, people talk to me, then categorise me as one or the other depending on their own perspective. I also found that it's 'over the line' of too much sharing - it's part of the few areas I consistently keep private, and when people know too much about me online, I start avoiding those sites.
Some of my first online friends were transgender - they were awesome people, from a site I've long since retreated from, and they made me hyper aware of all the issues and privileges, and words associated with gender issues. So now I also try and make it a silent statement.
"Gender bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken in response to assumptions or over-generalisations about genders"
You have to grasp at hints. I have been told I am male because I use the name Flynn. And draw a lot of women. Female, because I have the tag 'the Cat' (although this also varies) and because ... actually, not sure. Statistics :D I think people just assume. I've seen a few rather heated debates on the subject, where one person takes issue with the other's use of a pronoun for me.
The painting above is nine times out of ten instantly assumed to be either he or she (fairly evenly split each way). As are the other pictures I will be using. Very rarely does someone actually ask, or consider it not to matter.
Some people KNOW for sure, because I've actually emailed them or met them, under my real name (and face, of course) - to be fair, please don't tell?
Because it's funny.
Because I'm making a statement for all the people for whom it actually matters what people think they are.
Because it's the internet and you really don't know anyway.
Because it isn't worth arguing about.
Because people are more comfortable assuming I am what they want me to be.
Because I like my privacy and it is the one thing I can abandon and not have it matter.
I only made this page about ME because people kept asking. And because I wanted to make it 'real' when I explained. I happily survived on the internet for years without a page making a big deal about my gender ^_^
I'm not convinced that what are traditionally considered to be male energies or qualities or female energies or qualities really have as much to do with gender as many people think they do.
What do you think I am? - Take a guess on me!
I do wonder at the number of people who 'know the answer' because I'm pretty sure there aren't that many people on the internet who actually know - much less have visited this page!
(No seriously. About 20 people have picked it so far, and I think only about four people know for sure).
Am a male or female?
I appreciate the sentiment that I am a popular woman in computer gaming circles; but I prefer being thought of as a computer game designer rather than a woman computer game designer. I don't put myself into gender mode when designing a game.
But your avatar is female!
That must mean you're a girl!
Well firstly, I use my own art - and as I draw a lot of women, this means the better pictures are probably going to be female. And I know enough to use an actual face online, rather than a bird or a dragon - it looks more 'real' and trustworthy. And I'm advertising my artwork, so I want to use the best. So yes, I use the pictures with the greatest impact. I also tend to use whichever I just painted, when creating new accounts - so often that's the only major factor in the decision! But yes, Negative Space on the right is now my best painting and makes a good icon. I also can't sell it, as it's copied from a photo of a model, so I might as well get some mileage out of it!
Secondly, well, maybe I'm trying to throw you off! No, joking. But plenty of guys are very happy to play rather attractive elf warriors in WoW, for the simple basis of that's what they want to look at on the screen XD And maybe, maybe I'm a guy who likes girly things and would rather be thought a girl, than girly.
Lastly... to be honest, when I look at the picture just above, my brain doesn't even say 'female'. I know she does to other people, and I know the original model was, but I often don't realise until much later that everyone's seeing a girl when I stick my random colourful picture up!
I think we're struggling with trying to redefine various positions at this point in history. To allow freedom for women, freedom for men, freedom from those sharply defined gender roles.
But Your Name is Male!
Flynn is a guy's name, right?
It's not my real name, I'll tell you that now. I picked it because I liked the name, I wanted something not too fancy and overly romantic or fantastical or ... or, yes, Mary/Gary Sue-ish. But it always sounded like an interesting name to me, I'm not sure why. And it was similar to a character in a story I wrote, when I was in high school. (And therefore it is buried in the depths of the earth, Forever). And yes, I am thoroughly creeped out by the new Rapunzel movie - Flynn's apparently uncommon enough that whenever it pops up in relation to Tangled I get a 'huh? what? me?' reaction! (I predict a sharp rise in the use of the name 'Flynn' if the film is a success!). Come to think of it, the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood was one of my favourite films as a kid...
And guess what? Flynn's actually a unisex name. It's Irish in origin (I had an Irish grandfather, actually, maybe that's how I decided I liked it!) and means ruddy/red-headed and is a form of the (masculine) name Flann. Or alternatively, Flynn is a male name and means 'son of a red-haired man'. But it can be a female name.
'the Cat'...? Well, I was signing up on DeviantART and this became one of my major online presences. It's a big site, and most names are taken. So I picked something I could live with. I like cats. And yeah, to some people it's girly. To others it's mysterious thief-assassin in the night. And to others it's just 'meow! I'm a kitty! now I will tek over teh world!'
Our true nature is free of any and all notions of gender, of any notions of difference whatsoever.
But I/Someone Referred To You As He/She!
And you didn't correct them!
People assume, and throw out random pronouns because they often feel they should. I have a policy of not saying anything - after all, what would I correct them to? Besides, it's the sort of thing that can usually sidetrack an entire thread with explanations and discussions.
But this tends to mean that the next person assumes the first person actually knows, leading to entire forums referring to me by that gender from that point on. As you've probably gathered by now, I find that quite funny.
Also, some sites REQUIRE me to select a gender when signing up. This is terribly aggravating, and I tend to try and select randomly - if I get the choice, I'll choose not to display it.
Gender Neutrality - Why be Either? - Which am I trying to be?
Alright. I'm not trying to be either - I set out to not state which I am, and see what happened.To not let it interfere with my interactions online.
I don't care. I wanted to step outside that and see what happened. Sometimes this means biting my tongue when people make generalisations, and I want to jump in and say 'actually...'
And I can't claim NOT to fit one, without proving myself the other. (YOU know... when people say that Girls Like X or that Boys Aren't Capable of Y)
What happened was either people decided it didn't matter, or a fairly even split figured I was one or the other. More interestingly, people made an assumption, and stuck with it.
Even MORE interestingly, most (apparent >.> ) females assumed I was a girl, and most (apparent :D ) males decided I was a guy. So in webcomic forums (for example) there are more guys, and the general consensus is that I am too, on Squidoo, more of the (active) lensmasters seem to be female, and they tend to guess that way. DeviantART is split fairly evenly.
Interesting Links and Studies - Some very interesting articles about online identity and gender bending
- Psychology of Cyberspace - Identity Management in Cyberspace
Who are you in cyberspace? Am I the same John Suler I am in-person or someone a bit different? One of the interesting things about the internet is the opportunity if offers people to present themselves in a variety of different ways. You can alter yo
- Psychology of Cyberspace - Gender Swapping
Brad first met Natalie on a MOO. He was a college senior at an eastern university, she a junior on the west coast. They got to know each other better by corresponding through e-mail. Over time, he felt very close to her. Maybe, he thought, he was eve
- Bending Gender Online for Fun, Profit, and Faux Feminism � Kittywampus
The feminist blogetariat is abuzz at the revelation that freelancer and professional blogger James Chartrand is actually a lady, and that ze could only make a real living after swapping genders. Sure, hir story definitely demonstrates that sexism is
- BBC NEWS | Technology | Gender gap alive and well online
Men like the new things on the net but women use it to maintain social ties, a US study finds.
- deviantART Forum: Gender Bending... online
Anyone already tried it out ? Anyone already have been lied to ? It seems easy to pretend being the opposite sex, it seems like there can't be any consequences, but what happens when bounds are created anyway ? Sometimes, even crossing a box is enoug
- Pickled Think: Gender and Pseudonyms: What I've Chosen To Do
The Public Me of Writing is also wrapped up in my name and gender. Yesterday, I read a good examination of this by M.R. Fall over at Tiger Beatdown, entitled "The J.K. Rowling Complex, or, Why My Initials Are How You Know Me". Fall discusses her iden
- He, Once a She, Offers Own View On Science Spat - WSJ.com
Ben Barres, a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University, has a unique perspective on why women are so rare at the highest levels of academic science and math. He used to be Barbara.
- Gender bender - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gender bender is an informal term used to refer to a person who actively transgresses, or "bends," expected gender roles. Gender bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken in response to assumptions or over-generalisations about gender
- Gender identity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gender identity (otherwise known as core gender identity) is the gender(s), or lack thereof, a person self-identifies as. It is not necessarily based on biological sex, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation. The gende
- Parents keep child's gender secret - Parentcentral.ca
"So it's a boy, right?" a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier. See...
- One teacher;s approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom
Gender is not a subject that I would have broached in primary grades a few years ago. In fact, I remember scoffing with colleagues when we heard about a young kindergarten teacher who taught gender-related curriculum. We thought her lessons were a wa
- My son has long hair with pink ends
Until a month ago, when my 9-year-old cut her hair confusingly boy-short, everybody, everywhere commented on the beauty of my daughters. Which is kind of funny, since one of them is actually a son. A 12-year-old son who has hair down his back and who
Share your thoughts! - Am I a guy or a girl?
Go on! Tell me! I'm dying to find out XD
What am I?
When I Was A Boy - I Was Just A Girl
This is a very perceptive song about humanity and society, and gender roles... Initially feminist, I do recommend listening to end. (or just skip to the next bit below)
"I won't forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand
I said I was a boy; I'm glad he didn't check.
I learned to fly, I learned to fight
I lived a whole life in one night
We saved each other's lives out on the pirate's deck.
And I remember that night
When I'm leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me it's not safe,
someone should help me
I need to find a nice man to walk me home.
Boys Don't Cry... Songs About Gender Roles.
When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked.
And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too.
And you were just like me, and I was just like you"
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar ...
Being online allows people to experiment or attempt to abandon preconceptions and gender stereotypes
It's a common cliche that there are no girls on the internet. Sure there are - but most of them are pretending to be boys! (Actually, on social blogging sites like Squidoo, the balance is tipped towards women, due mostly I think, to the predominance of mothers blogging from home, having found somewhere they can actually DO something when looking after their kids).
A girl playing the guy gets to avoid sexism, and creepy guys hitting on her. Or perhaps they want to 'indulge' in some of the typically male interests and don't want the stigma of being a girl (although I think this one's getting less and less the case). Lastly, power. Men are usually seen as more dominant and find it easier to gain respect (and followers, in WoW clans!).
What about a guy playing a girl? Well, most people seem to have no trouble with a girl wanting to pretend to be a man, but the other way around...? It's actually quite common. For fun, to create the illusion of interaction, to take advantage of attitudes towards women (e.g. a woman is probably more trusted when talking about raising kids - plenty of 'affiliate' account pages have a female username, but are actual run by men)... perhaps they feel female inside. Perhaps they just like what comes with it and aren't actually trying to be female at all.
This article covers some of the main points very well:
* Due to the pressure of cultural stereotypes, it may be difficult for some men to explore within themselves what society labels as "feminine" characteristics. These males may rely on the anonymity of cyberspace to express their "feminine" side which they feel they must otherwise hide. Some of these males may strongly identify with women.
* Adopting a feminine role in cyberspace may be a way to draw more attention to themselves. Getting noticed and responded to in cyberspace is not always easy, especially in such distracting, "noisy" environments as the visual chat habitats. Donning a female name and/or avatar, especially a sexy one, will almost instantly draw reactions. The gender-switched male may even like the feeling of power and control over other males that goes along with this switch.
* Some males may adopt a feminine identity to investigate male/female relationships. They may be testing out various ways of interacting with males in order to learn, first hand, what it's like being on the woman's side. Hopefully, they use that knowledge to enhance their relationships with females. Some, however, may be looking for ways to gain power and control.
* In some online games where participants assume imaginary identities (e.g., MUDs), being a female may be advantageous. Sometimes males lend more assistance to females, so they progress faster in the game.
* Disguised as a female, a male looking for intimacy, romance, and/or cybersex from another male may be acting upon conscious or unconscious homosexual feelings.
* Transsexuals (people who feel, psychologically, that they are the opposite sex rather than their given biological gender) and/or transvestites (people who cross-dress for sexual arousal or as an identification with females) may be drawn to virtual gender-switching. In rare cases, gender-switching could be a sign of what would be diagnosed as "gender confusion" - i.e., a psychological disturbance where one's identity as a male or female has not fully developed.
I don't see gender as the most significant fact of human existence.
Other Andrognous Characters - I'm not alone in confusing people!
Other famous, or infamous genderless people online include:
Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick - an elven mage that keeps everyone guessing, even going so far as to spill ink over the m/f question when signing up to the Order of the Stick adventuring party and then sneering about how unimportant it was (in the prequel book).
Yugi, Kirby, Alucard, Chris Lightfellow... this hilarious list identifies the The Top 16 Androgynous Game Characters of all Time!
Ah, well, do I wish that we lived in a world where gender didn't figure so prominently? Of course. Do I even think about myself as a woman when I go to make art? Of course not.
Text Analysis - Guessing the Gender from their Writing
"About Gender Guesser In 2003, a team of researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University in Israel (Shlomo Argamon, Moshe Koppel, Jonathan Fine, and Anat Rachel Shimoni) developed a method to estimate gender from word usage. Their paper described a Bayesian network where weighted word frequencies and parts of speech could be used to estimate the gender of an author. Their approach made a distinction between fiction and non-fiction writing styles."
My results for this page (copying actual chunks of text only, updated whenever I update this lens)
Female = 3054
Difference = -151; 48.73%
Verdict: Weak FEMALE
Weak emphasis could indicate European.
Female = 1570
Male = 2361
Difference = 791; 60.06%
(Interestingly, I went from 'weak male' in both to weakly female and 'just' male with the latest update)
Informal is closer to a blog-style, and it varies with the amount of text. I usually hover around the equal zone, occasionally coming up weakly female or male.
This brilliant and accessible work of biological criticism has the potential to revolutionize the way readers conceive of gender and sexuality in the natural world. Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, argues that the diversity of gender and sexuality one finds in many species suggests that evolutionary biologists of a strictly Darwinian bent are often misguided, since, according to Roughgarden, they erroneously assume a universally applicable gender binary in all species. The first half of the book brings that sexual diversity to light through innumerable examples among birds, reptiles, fish and mammals provided in highly readable anecdotes. The significance of this first section lies not only in this startlingly original portrait of nature, but also in how it suggests that contemporary Darwinian sexual selection theory is in part a result of cultural bias, since it "predicts that the baseline outcome of social evolution is horny, handsome, healthy warriors paired with discreetly discerning damsels."
We have been very conditioned by the cultures that we come from and are usually very identified with the particular gender that we happen to be a member of.
As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag.
Comment here! - What other ambiguous characters do you know of?
See more Guestbook Artwork
Are you curious about how difficult it is to write non-gendered language? Or how differently people write about different genders? is pretty fun - . It actively swaps pronouns as you read online (and it's easy to turn on and off).