Can You Guess Someone’s Appearance From Their Writing?

I’m interested to know whether it’s possible to tell someone’s gender purely from gauging the style of their writing – and even further, whether you can guess someone’s appearance in that way as well. Not everyone shares their photo online. Sometimes when I read people’s blogs or social media, I have a strong desire to know what they look like. This is not because I want to judge people from their faces. I’m simply very curious. When I can’t see someone’s photo, it makes me wonder about them even more.

I think that it’s a lot easier to tell someone’s age than it is to tell their appearance. Younger people tend to use simpler vocabulary, and it is also more common for them to state their opinions as if they are facts. Of course, they use more slang and emojis as well (like XD – Sound like someone you know?)

When gender comes into it, it can be a little harder to tell. Again, when I try to guess it isn’t because I necessarily think it affects my reading. It is just because my mind is annoyingly curious. There are many books, and some blogs I’ve read where I’ve been surprised when I found out the gender of the author. But is there really a difference between “male” and “female” writing? I’ve heard that there are certain keywords that are specific to each gender, but I’m not sure how much of the time that’s accurate. There’s actually a website you can go to where you paste in a sample of your writing and it claims to be able to tell.

So, if we’re not sure whether keywords are an accurate indicator, what about speech patterns, sentence structures and content? Let’s take a look at content first: If someone mentions something like getting their period or breastfeeding, then I think you can tell whether pretty quickly whether they’re male or female. But it’s kind of cheating to be using content when we take this into blogging context; blogs are mostly autobiographical, meaning that people tend to say their gender anyway. So we’ll get back to speech patterns and sentence structures. A lot of the time I think of “male speech patterns” as being more focused and to-the-point, whereas in my mind female writing has more detail. I don’t know whether this is just me being sexist and stupidly stereotyping people, or whether I actually have a bit of a point. Probably a mixture of the two.

Sentence structure… hmm… well, that sort of ties in with speech patterns. Again, I find myself subconsciously assuming the writer is male when their speech patterns are more “straightforward.”

I just want to quickly take another look at what the content of your writing says about your gender. I do feel like on the whole male writers talk about their emotions less than female writers (not all of them though). Sometimes it sounds like they’re scared to share their emotions! Haha. But I think this is more the case of modern writers. Not really “olden day” ones, for some reason. Oh gosh, I feel really bad because I think I might have offended male readers? I didn’t mean to; it was an observation, not a judgement.

(By the way, on the internet I’ve noticed that most of the time females use emojis and exclamation marks more than males.)

Now let’s talk about people’s physical appearance. I’m pretty sure the main indicator here is the content – I mean, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that brunettes have certain keywords vs blondes; that would be utterly hilarious. Let’s assume that people don’t just say what they look like. If they did, we wouldn’t be here theorizing about it. Well, I reckon if you give a hint at where your parents are from, or the country you live in, people have a higher chance of guessing your race correctly. From there, they can narrow down your potential hair and eye colour, and start to get an idea of your facial features.

If, in the past you’ve mentioned, let’s say, plaiting your hair, a) that means that your hair isn’t short and b) it could suggest that your sense of style is more classical. Likewise, if you’ve hinted at a mohawk or dyed hair, it might be more probable that you have piercings. It could also give clues to the style of clothing you like to wear. The kind of music you listen to could also be an indicator, as could your religion. If people roughly know your age they can narrow down the possibilities that way too. These are the kind of hints one could look for when guessing the appearance of a blogger.

Now, the reason I’m writing this post is because I have a question for you. Yep, you’ve guessed it. Here’s the question: What do you imagine me to look like, based on my writing? Although I do have a profile photo, which looks like this:
Straight bleached hair 1

it doesn’t say much about my current appearance, a) because it’s out of date, b) because it only shows half my face, c) the exposure of the camera is weird and d) it’s a pretty crap photo anyway. So, I’m curious to know how you imagine me to look based on what you’ve read of my blog. (Also, if you didn’t know the answer, would you say I was male or female?) I just think it would be interesting to know! It’s not because I look unusual or anything. And it’s not because I want you to say I look attractive but you can if you want. It would be especially interesting if you could tell me 1. How you would imagine me to look if you didn’t see my profile photo and 2. How you imagine my current appearance after seeing it. Because the photo does narrow down the options of how I might look. If you rake through all my posts (great way to improve Thisizapen’s stats) you’ll find a few hints around as well, but somehow… You probably have other priorities…

Wow, I feel really vain and egotistical now.

So, answers, thoughts and abuse in the comments section please!
If you’re as egocentric as I am, it might also be interesting for you to ask your followers how they imagine you to look, and read all their answers >.<
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26 thoughts on “Can You Guess Someone’s Appearance From Their Writing?

  1. Like you, I really like to have some personal information about a blogger. In fact I’m more likely to follow if I find a real person (with gender, age, and some personal data) on their about page. I have no idea why I care – I don’t have a preference as regards gender, age, nationality, etc; my main reason for following a blog is that it’s interesting and well-written. I just want to know!

    But I really don’t care what people look like. Don’t think about it. Have no idea what you might look like – sorry!

    And, just for fun, I ran this post through that Hacker Factor analyzer you shared. It thinks you’re probably female … but it’s not really sure. So good for you – you’re staying outside the box!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly – I totally know what you mean! I actually always wonder about people’s age as well. (Especially when they seem young and like they’ve done something really impressive because that makes me a bit jealous >.< So I always want to make sure they're a realistic age for their achievements otherwise I wanna go cry in a corner. But that's not always why I want to know their age, mostly I'm just curious XD)
      Haha, that's funny that you put my post through the hacker factor – thanks! 🙂 When I put a sample of my writing through it said I was a weak – probably European – male. LOL! Did you put your writing through?

      Like

      • Ha ha ha – I feel exactly the same way about what people have achieved relative to their age! That’s why I look at author pictures on dust jackets, too. And let me tell you, there are a LOT more reasons to go cry in a corner when you’re in your 50s!

        Also yes, based on the last post I wrote, I’m a weak, probably European, male. Why knew?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so interesting. I never really thought about it much, but when I first discovered your blog I thought you were much older because you write so eloquently. So I suppose I do do a bit of analyzing when I first find new blogs. It’s a very interesting topic and now I really want to analyze blog posts more. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for reading and sharing your thoughts! Especially since they are so positive ^_^ I’m really glad you found the topic interesting. I thought no-one else would 🙂 And I really appreciate that you said I write eloquently. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never considered that people’s writing could tell me that much. It’s very fascinating. I tried out the gender guesser and I kept getting male. Maybe it’s all the swears in my posts….. Haha. Yes, I really love your writing, it’s so well put together! I’m definitely jelly of it >u<

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL about all the swears!! >.< Haha!! That's cool you clicked the gender guesser link. For the gender guesser I also got male (to be more specific, WEAK male… wow, thanks a lot) – possibly because the writing on my blog is slightly more formal than my other writing?? Not sure!

        OMG, thank you so much for the compliment!! XD
        Jamila x

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Deborah Tannen is an author that writes about communication differences with both sexes and other issues, as well. I’ve met her, personally. You may just like her writing. She’s funny and informative. John Gray also writes on “gender communication issues”..Both authors you may like. Well written piece!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much! Deborah Tannen – I will try to remember that 🙂 She sounds really good. And I am so intrigued by gender and whether certain gender differences are cultural or biological. My to-read list is now like a mile long, haha!
      Thanks for giving my post a read 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Sweetie! I’ve always been fascinated with communication and gender issues, as well. I’m sure your “read list” IS a mile long!!!! So, Kiddo, any FUN things planned for the Summer???? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If I didn’t know your age, I would probably think you were much older. You way of writing is amazing 🙂
    About your looks, I think I had imagined you different for some reason but I don’t remember how. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oooh now this is interesting! Damn you, you’ve got my poor brain all curious about nearly everything I read – including my chemistry revision! Hahaha. However I guess I cheated on my blog slightly because I linked my Instagram up to it, so no surprises there for any visitors. But you’re right: I do build up an image of people mentally when I read their work, based on what they say. Interesting, interesting

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so happy you found it interesting! Thank you for reading 🙂 LOL, well that’s actually really good that you were thinking more deeply about your chemistry revision ^_^ Haha, I will check out your Instagram.
      Thank you for your interest! XD

      Like

  6. This is really interesting! I’ve never thought about it at length, but I dooo frequently make assumptions about various blogs when I first come across them, and as for without your picture what I would’ve guessed… hmm well you shared your list of dares with your best friend which points to teen, and at the same time your writing style and personality also make you sound older so I’d say probably a bit more reserved in the clothing department???? Sorry if I unintentionally insulted you! XD I love guessing things!!!!! You do sound like quite an awesome person Cx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fun post. 🙂

    Okay, I know I’m wrong about this, because I can see the “What’s This Blog About?” section just below the “Leave a Reply” box I’m currently typing in, but I’m going to tell you what I guessed about you based on what I’ve read of this post.

    My guess was that you were in your mid-twenties with shoulder-length, dark hair. I don’t know why I would say shoulder-length hair, but it’s just a fun guess so it doesn’t really matter, right? I would also guess that you wear glasses because your writing sounds smart and smart people wear glasses (now I’m being stereotypical lol).

    If you want to take some guesses about me based on what I’ve written on my blog, feel free. Also, if you want to see a picture of me, send me an email and I’ll send you a picture. I don’t care to post pictures of myself; I’m just uncomfortable seeing myself in pictures.

    Oh, and if you want to guess my gender, I’m not sure the Gender Guesser will help much. I pasted just under 600 words from a manuscript (formal writing) and it came out to 50.38% male. Then I pasted almost 400 words from a couple of emails (informal writing) and the result was 55.99% female. I would say that I’m European, but I’m not.

    Anyway, this was a fun little exercise. Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dude, thanks so much for reading and giving a full, thoughtful comment! Ah, that ‘What’s This Blog About’ pop up thing is really annoying, it’s quite out of date yet I can’t figure out how to change it. It is very frustrating and I’ve spent hours trying… uuuuurgh! I just want to get rid of it but I can’t. It says I’m 13 and I’m not anymore?
      Aaaanyways, I highly appreciate that you gave a detailed guess as to my appearance – you’re one of the only people who actually tried properly and “followed the assignment” LOL! I like your guess and the reasons behind it.
      I will head over to your blog and make some guesses about you now. (That didn’t sound threatening in my head!) Thank you for the invitation!! I’m quite enjoying this game now.
      Oh, and any guesses about my race/eye colour?
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Total shot in the dark on your race: I’m going to guess… German? No reason why, that was just the second thing that popped into my head that I’m thinking is totally wrong. The first thing that popped into my head was South American Hindu. I’m not sure that’s a race, though.

        Eye color? Green. Just a guess that’s trying not to be as weird as the first guess.

        By the way, I spent the last hour trying to discover how you can change the What’s This Blog About section and I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I still have no clue. The good news is that the bad news didn’t sound so bad, did it? Well, I tried. I’ll keep searching. I thought it may have something to do with the Widgets editing page, but I’m sure you’ve been there, done that.

        Anyway, thank you for taking a look at my blog. Happy guessing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, I’m liking all your guesses!! Hmm, German… I probably DO have some German blood, like really far back – but nothing that I know of. I’ve never been to Germany but I REALLY want to go to the Black Forest, it sounds awesome.
        South American Hindu – LOL, I love it. Haven’t been to South America; again, that’s somewhere I want to visit at some point!! As for Hinduism, the stories about the gods are epic, I had a book of them when I was younger. It might have been given to a charity shop by now, hopefully it’s still hanging around the house somewhere though!

        Wow, you spent AN HOUR trying to figure out how to change that widget thing for me? Thank you so much 🙂 That’s really cool of you! I’m relieved the bad news wasn’t too bad; for now I’ll just have to hope that somehow no-one scrolls down that far?
        I’m off to go check out your blog and make wild guesses about your hair colour XD

        Liked by 1 person

  8. ooooh tough one!
    at first i always ‘think’ a person i dont know is female / maybe because i am reading in my voice in my head? sure that person mentioning they are male makes me switch to a male in my head reading voice. i dont think i imagine a persons face / outfit that fast though… and definitely wondering how much being a blogger writing in a second or third language influences what one thinks about the author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get what you mean about that! Totally. I usually automatically assume authors are male, I think? Usually when it’s autobiographical for some reason. When I’m reading Victorian books I’m always surprised at how well males can write from a convincingly “female” perspective though.
      Good point about people writing in their first or second language. It must be frustrating for one to write like that because it’s harder to express your thoughts in the BEST possible way. And you know you CAN think of the right sentence structure in your FIRST language, but it’s just not as easy in something you don’t speak as fluently.

      Like

    • I just have to say, I really like your Liebster post that you wrote ages ago and I ALWAYS meant to comment but never got round to it! I thought of lots of responses but the time has passed now – I’m sorry for not commenting when you posted it. Anyway, I read it and enjoyed it. And I really appreciate that you take the time to read my blog too!

      Like

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