I’m not a girl?

There’s at least one of you that thinks I’m a 14 year old boyAnd I swear on Hatsune Miku’s leeks that I am definitely not.

A few days ago, I posted a few polls, and while the questions about which posts people liked were put in, what I was really interested in was what people thought I was. You see, I’m a girl, and for whatever reason people keep thinking I’m a guy (like here, or here, or here). At first, I thought about reason that people would think that I was a guy, and justify the things I do with reason, while providing examples to why people should think I’m a girl. I thought of things like Choux is a very versatile type of pastry, which can be used to make cream puffs; It says that every writer here is a girl in our about page; I gush about BL once in a while, etc etc.

Then a few days ago I decided that that was just a waste of time. I do what I want and the rest doesn’t matter. But then I asked myself why some people would assume I’m a guy, and just why I felt so obligated to correct them.

The first question has an easy answer: porn and violence is manly. So, because I play visual novels while loving giant robots and blood, society laws dictate that people assume I’m a guy. On the flip side, it can also be said that people don’t think I’m a girl because I DON’T SQUEAL ABOUT SHOUJO MANGA WITH CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!!! KYAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!, I’m not BL crazy, etc etc.  I also believe that people will believe that others with similar interests will be of the same gender and similar age to themselves. This can be proven if I put out another poll for reader ages and the results look the same as the one for how old I am. However, my second question doesn’t have such a clear answer.

This isn’t the first situation where people thought I was a guy, there was an unfortunate incident which led to me sporting something close to a buzz cut for a while in Kindergarten. Also, more than one guy friend on more than one occasion mentioned that I acted/talked like a guy, leaving an awkward silence as I pondered on how to take the comment. I asked him about what he meant, how exactly I was guy-like, but he didn’t know how to explain it, leaving me more than a little bit confused.

What makes a person seem like “a guy”? I mean this now just about blogging and what a person chooses as their subject, but in life in general. I have absolutely no idea beyond a few stereotypes off of the top of my head. Is it the things they do? Are guys supposed to have a completely different world view? Different habits?

Is there still that line between the genders where one can’t take on the traits of the other without being homosexual? I’d say there is, at least in the eyes of the general society. I know a guy who enjoys shoujo manga and cared more about Lelouch and the rest of the male cast than the girls while watching Code Geass. I never put on make-up, I like eroges, I’d prefer nailing things together than putting on nail polish.  Wouldn’t many people say that the guy is gay (he isn’t)? Wouldn’t I be labeled as at least a tomboy? Ritchan said something to that effect which shocked me somewhat: “I had no idea you were a girl. You should probably make that more obvious…” He probably meant that I should be more obvious if I wanted everyone to know right away that I was a girl, but if you look at it another way, doesn’t it also mean that what I happen to like can’t be accepted as feminine?

Girls grow up with what my english teacher calls “nicey nice training”, where it is only right to be expressively feminine. Dancing, flowers, dolls, frilly dresses, all that stuff was there in my childhood, though the number of helocopters and cars outnumbered my dolls. I remember things like playing with the girls (staying sternly away from the boys), and being in love with the disney princesses. Maybe it’s because of this whole idea that girls are supposed to be feminine that I feel the urge to prove that I’m female.

Or maybe it’s just because of the culture that I’ve immersed myself in that I’ve come across this conflict? On one hand, I’m heavily influenced by North American media, where popular culture focus  on materialism (that is, the philosophical materialism, with the symbol of a woman being their physical body). On the other hand, I’m shown these Asian images with moe. I use that particular word here because of its connotation. Just look at any image, moe is related to childish innocence and therefore powerlessness, even if the characters themselves are powerful. The sole existence of moe anthropomorphisms should be enough of an example.  Maybe I’m trying to go against 2 annoyingly repetitive sets of images presented to me, and wanting to be presented as feminine is to prove those images false?

Another thing I want to note is just how similar the supposedly different things are. Looking at Asian pop culture, you can see that the popular guys look very feminine. And of course, women have been moving away from their traditional roles for decades now. But, it’s things in media that really shock me. The stories in eroges and shoujo manga are so similar sometimes, despite their completely different market (well, maybe not, seeing as there are people like me). What difference is there, in the eyes of someone who doesn’t know the story, between eroge girls and Disney princesses, other than a prince?

No matter why I am how I am, I can say two things. Firstly, it is often amusing to see other people’s shock when they realize their image of you is completely different from what they expected. Secondly, I am definitely not the only girl on the blogosphere that gets mistaken for a guy.

I can’t define feminism, not for myself and not for the readers. I can’t change what so many people in the world believe either, but can I just ask you to keep an open mind about the people in this world? The web makes it easier for people to be annomyous and judge one another, the things that many people decide without basis isn’t just gender, but also age, race, and beliefs. You remember the last time you thought about someone because of their age and race, don’t you? I can say that most of you don’t have the “right” image of me, because what most people voted for was wrong. I’m only 16.


33 thoughts on “I’m not a girl?

  1. Consuming media that’s normally targeted towards males isn’t a feminine trait. Most people just assume you are male by default, since it’s hard to tell from your writing (it’s not masculine either by any stretch). And since most bloggers who read your blog are also males, they’re not gonna get the Choux part. This isn’t about closed minds – people aren’t denying the fact that you’re female – this is about first impressions, assumptions.

    Personally, I think you can just solve the entire issue of people not thinking of you as female by using a photo as an avatar. In a community where most people use anime characters as avatars… you get the point.

    Whether doing so sidesteps the issue of whether you are feminine enough or not isn’t my problem, but I’ll say that it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to find your life partner through this blog, that’s for sure. Fanny Mendelssohn never concerned herself with making her music more feminine.

    May I ask why do you think that your online gender matters? It doesn’t matter to me, although I’m not exactly manly myself (working on it though, thank you very much). It matters just as little as your age – as long as you can type coherently, people will be impressed with that little statistic and move on.

    • Ah, I guess the closed mind part was just a bad choice of words then.
      There are 4 things that I’ll never reveal through the internet unless through a situation where I really had to and there was a secure connection (like shopping): my real name, the place where I live, my banking information, and what I look like. It’s just what I do. So a photo is out of the question.
      And that’s just it, I DON’T know why it matters so much, just that somehow it does.

  2. Oh yes, I forgot – I’m promoting my other site, andychiw.com. It’s about Japanese culture/anime/VN/manga/art and computers.
    I need help on the anime front, because I post way too much computer news as it is. Interested? We can see if gender really makes a difference online.

  3. “can I just ask you to keep an open mind about the people in this world?”
    Nice line~!

    Unfortunately whether we like it not, rotten stereotypes define the world, whether it be that only men are interested in eroge (it’s all porn right?) and giant robots, or that only girls like shipping and bishies, or that all otaku are guaranteed to be sad lifeless escapists, or better yet, Asian girls care mostly about the size of your wallet (<_< ).

    This is one of those times where I know I've certainly raged against social perceptions, realized I can't do a darn thing about it, and everything pretty much comes off to a matter of do I accept that part of myself or not (still working on that). Well, at least you're a lot further ahead of where I was at 16…

    It's especially hard to tell if a person is guy or girl from just the online stuff we blab about. I know at least one other person whose baffled by why the nets thinks they're the other gender xD. I guess when people are lost their heads automatically try an educated guess, and chances are far more likely than not that an otaku who likes visnovs is definitely a male…

    I must admit I'm shocked at the 16 part. Gut feeling more than anything else I can base off of. However it does also mean: you're not suppose to be playing any of those Eroge!!! (lulz)

    • Meh, rules are meant to be broken, I see no reason for censorship based on age.

      But I’m really surprised that you brought up the Asian girls and wallets thing. I’ve never heard that being said about us in general (though I’ve heard my share of bad opinions for American girls).

  4. umm…

    if this helps at all, i always knew you were a girl and about 0~3 years younger than myself. i think you strike out quite feminine to me in your own way.

    heck, honestly though, however creepy it sounds (meant nothing bad by this), for a guy who doesn’t have a habit and interest in the blog sphere in general, if I didn’t think you were a rather neat girl with an attractive personality and interest, i don’t think there’s any reason for me to be in this blog at all except just to pass by and say hi to Sakura. (who i say anyway on AIM.)

    so don’t let what others say bother you, i don’t even get how they possibly seen you as a guy.

    (uh… did that count as an internet confession? wait wait, i’m not a creeper or stalker or anything, totally don’t get the wrong idea. was just impressed with your drawings and not sure where i’m going with this, imma shut up now cause this is creeping myself out.)

  5. The difference with the internet compared with real life is that people can’t see each other face to face. It’s that simple. So the best way people try to figure out what kind of person is perceptions based on experience. From my own experience, girls as a majority do like to type in capital letters and use emoticons. and I do it too

    I often do mistake a girl online as a boy and vice versa. But then I would usually shrug it off and make note of it next time. If the person believes it was offensive than I would apologize for the misunderstanding. I think it’s important to know that because someone mistakes a person’s sex doesn’t mean he or she has a sexist agenda.

    Usually on a blog or forum, many users jump into a conversation without knowing anything personal of the others. The only way we can identify anything about a person is based on a writer’s content and style. Normally that is greatly insufficient and there will most likely be mistakes which can potentially last for a long time and be a huge shock in the end.

    But I think the most important thing is how to deal with the “unexpected revelations.” I personally believe to learn from my mistakes and move on with no strings attached. It makes my life simpler.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    • Actually, I don’t think I find it insulting, just…odd, I guess.
      By the way, how do you feel about Asuseka right now? I got to the part where they find out the world is ending a few days ago, but then decided on finishing Jingai Makyo first. Like you, I’m interested in Minami, but it’s mainly because she said that one really creepy line…

      • Despite all the depressingly heartache moments, I’m really enjoying this. Just when I thought the outcome would be set, the game throws another wrench and twists it up. Lots of “NUUUUUU” and “SHIKUSHIKU” belts out of my mouth. There are hard and sad choices the characters have to make. I usually hate emo stuff with a passion but I’ll make an exception with this. That’s how absorbed I am in this game.

  6. Based on your post, you stated how completely different genres like shoujo manga and eroges can have similar stories sometimes. Well, you are a girl who perhaps formats blog posts or communicates like another boy.

    It is very nice that you don’t use all capitals over shoujo manga with a squeal though.

    On a random note people thought I was a girl back when I was 16. And that was with no deliberate typing formats to match something stereotypical (meaning I typed normally). By now it’s much different due to certain mental decay (work) and a seven year difference.

    Seriously though, my answer would be due to your typing format. Your behaviour or typing structure is consistent (I suppose, as I wouldn’t really know reading only like 30 some blog posts of yours and commentary you’ve done elsewhere every now and then). Perhaps again, your typing structure is similar to a boy that does a blog with proper english and analysis.

    Looking at this blog, which is a fine and fun read, it appears that certain things you enjoy such as mecha and visual novels, just happen to have a lot of cohesion [Note that that’s not the word that came to mind. It’s escaping me at the moment. Synergy? No, gah, can’t think of the correct word.] with how other boys enjoy the same content.

    Because of this massively similar structure or format, people discover there isn’t something within the text you type that display certain … girl signals … I suppose. I also suppose girls with long detailed coherent posts are very few (with a good rate of activity too, with frequency of topics and participation).

    Also you are aware of one of the best part of a visual novel, which is generally a good story. All factors are important, but certainly good story is key, and therefore you properly analyze/see/enjoy it (with objective opinion too). I suppose most girls people know in general, don’t see this part of visual novels at all?

    Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s the rarity, but rather the format you structure your lines have strong affinity [ugh I still cannot figure out the correct word] with what people reading blogs with solid visual novel content, or reading your commentary when you leave replies on other sources/blogs.

    Choux may be a versatile type of pastry, and the topic content or commentary you spawn may also be versatile (I meant to say you have a variety of stuff you blog about, already stated on your about page.). Like you stated earlier, certainly you mention something like BL, which a girl could reasonably post about, but it is also not rampant and perhaps not frequent enough to signal that mindset of you being a girl (or rather you not being a guy).

    Since people see what you post and not you specifically, the commentary of thinking of you as a tomboy is unlikely. Well … that’s even more unlikely if people think you’re a boy in the first place, so tomboy is even less likely of people’s impressions of who you are than thinking you’re a girl, really.

    Point form may be another factor. If you yourself state that sometimes your posts (or typing format) denotes certain strangeness, then it also implies you’d be less likely to input text that a supposedly typical girl would produce. That indirectly would also lead you to be more likely seen as a guy, given how you do structure posts/commentary.

    It’d be funny if there was some massive turn around where you later say you are a boy, though to state the I-am-a-girl/I-am-not-a-boy misconception so often would imply otherwise.

    Conclusion: Typing format affinity is what I see. [Again, affinity is likely the wrong diction.] You could supposedly say guy-like, but from what I’ve seen I would be more inclined to think that the way you structure your wordings and such just happen to have very good flow with guys to the point guys seeing what you say would be things he could see from another guy that has point form posts or long detailed posts or some other pattern which I can’t think of the name of.

    It’s not so much you’re not like a girl, but rather you happen to enjoy and post about things that have certain similarity to what guys like to a niche degree.

    • “your typing structure is similar to a boy that does a blog with proper English and analysis”

      …wait, what? People in general don’t think that there are analytical girls?

      Are you SURE it would be funny if I said that I was a guy later on?

      • There are analytical girls. I haven’t seen many that post on a blog that features visual novels. It’s not the analytical part that I meant was rare. Bad wording by my part. I meant to say you could see a guy writing on a visual novel blog with a similar writing format and having a gender difference would hardly change the topic content or the wording since the writing/typing isn’t hinting at either gender at all.

        And no it wouldn’t necessarily be funny, but I certainly can’t imagine the response. So I find it funny that I would have no idea. Realistically it would be odd for a guy to lead people to think he’s a girl just to say he’s a guy later. I would not be inclined to believe a guy would have an extensive post to describe what you’ve described, and later state that no, I wasn’t a girl even though this claim would post so. So in this case, that scenario isn’t going to occur.

        Bah, that was really poorly worded. Ignoring all differentials with tendencies and typing formats and such, if a reader was going to generically guess the gender of the reader of a blog that doesn’t present implications on which gender, the general guess would be male. This is similar to how like a general quote referring to a general person would use “he” simply because English does not have a gender neutral word to refer to someone specifically.

        So unless others already knew otherwise, if someone was referring to you without knowing gender or other facts, simply using “he” would have a higher chance of being correct. It’s like the unknown gender makes it less likely for people to assume you’re a girl, as opposed to thinking you’re a guy. Hm, not the best analogy, but you do see the consistency with “thinking Choux is a girl didn’t come across my mind” is more of the cause of the assumption you’re a guy, than strictly thinking you’re a guy. In a way it’s “these possibilities did not come to mind” that lead to assumptions, instead of specifically assuming.

      • “People in general don’t think that there are analytical girls?”

        Tell that to Chinese culture. I quote them, “males are logical animals, females are emotional animals”. I’m sure other countries have similar responses.

        Society isn’t quite modernization fast enough.

  7. I could probably make my own blog post about this topic in this comment, but I won’t. Because this is your blog, and I’m tired. I think it’s topic that should be seriously considered by a lot of people, but probably won’t be.
    Also, no one reads the About pages on blogs (well, I do), which is kind of sad. Because on the internet, it’s the best way to have some idea of what you’re talking to. I don’t blame people for getting confused about genders, but I don’t think it’s great either.
    And never stick a gender on a blogger if you haven’t even bothered to look it up first. Is my opinion, anyway.

    • I like reading about pages, though it is sometimes a bit of a shock to see photographs… Although a lot of the time the person doesn’t say that gender they are (like you).

      • Photographs are indeed a shock. A real slap in the face on the internet.
        I do not state my gender simply because it is more fun for me to be a trap. (:D) And also because I do not think that it is important what gender someone is on the internet. Plus, I certainly do not want favoritism for being a girl. Or less favoritism for not being one. Which is, sadly, something seen relatively often.

  8. You see, this is why I love anime in general – that even when you feel you’re on familiar ground, any generalization you make about someone’s gender, tastes, erotic preferences or typing styles might still be wildly wrong. And that’s the way it should be!
    Not to belitle your annoyance though. Though some may thinks it’s silly that you insist on recognition as a girl, it’s much sillier that some stranger insist you are a boy.

  9. i never thought of it, or at least it never connected in my head until i read it in the post several above this.

    you’re 16 and you’ve been playing eroge for years.

    where do u even get them? u must look really mature for your age for the stores to sell them to you. i walked in akiba-like place, walk past the isle of eroge, walked away. walked back, took a glance, walk away again. then walked back, picked it up, made sure no one was around, looked at the back, put it back, and left the store. everyone was too focused on the crappy new Street Fighter demo that nobody paid attention to me. i didn’t even have the courage to pick it up even though i wanted it.

    (well, the thing that scared me the most was the price tag, i could buy Final Fantasy XIII again with that price…)

    • Well, I don’t BUY eroges from stores per say…Though I have bought stuff like Remember11 and princess maker (both completely safe, though there was this ONE really disturbing scene from R11…) Let’s just say that the internet is really convenient and leave it at that, shall we?
      Also, you just come here to say hi to Sakura? OUCH.

  10. I’d say gender displays are relatively physical. The same thing happens in the physical. Most of the time, I hope, everyone has their privates covered and it’s difficult to ascertain biological gender just by glancing. This is where people look for clues, ie gender displays of hair/clothing, to infer HOW to respond. What defines the rules of gender display and how to respond to female/male is all socialized into people by society. So going online you removed all the obvious physical displays like clothing and hairstyle. Readers probably only have your post topics to infer gender.

    I disagree with some of the above that syntax and grammar, CAPSpam, and emoticons are any sort of reliable indicator of gender, probably more along the lines of an age display.

    Finally, stereotypes are natural, maybe even required for functioning in real time. Things like age and gender are too obvious and people use stereotypes too much to disengage from labelling, at least in this generation, but I say it’s not a problem as long as it doesn’t interfere with equity of law/rights etc..

  11. I could go on for a long time about boys and girls and identities online. But so many others have done a great job of it already. Basically unless you tell us outright whether you are a boy or a girl all we can do is guess. Looking at your interests/ writing style/ and name a boy is a logical guess as is a girl. CG are mostly enjoyed by guys, writing style is pretty neutral so no help there, and your name is neutral as well… so i can see how people get guy. No offense but I never really cared, your gender really dosen’t affect your writing and/or updating speed. And even if we were to become internet BFF’s gender still wouldn’t matter. So I say let it go it was an honest mistake.

  12. Well of course I knew right from the start you were a girl since we were setting up a girl blog, although I guess you could have been a spy and I would never have known.

    Online you just have to take a lot of this stuff on faith, I know Hoshi is a girl, but that is only because she’s a facebook buddy.

    I like reading about pages, so I generally have a fair idea of a bloggers gender if they are obvious about it there.

    Otherwise as everyone says, its purely down to guesswork since we can’t physically be seen.

    I’ve also been thought of as a guy. For similar reasons to you, such as my love of mecha and shounen, demons, blood and gore.

    Of course my online name wasn’t Sakura back then. But rather I went with hubby’s name for me which is D.J. Which is kind of ambiguous so I can see why they would think I was a guy.

    Especially when I would talk about my love of scifi (I can tell you what TARDIS means how geeky is that!

    Although any Dr Who fan worth their salt should know what it means.), video games, actions movies etc I grew up with a brother no sister. So there was no sharing of clothes and braiding hair. It was mostly knock down drag out fights, punching each other til we would both collapse, or one of us was bleeding. I mostly hung out with his friends, I played basketball rather than netball etc etc

    Basically you wouldn’t have called me very feminine. I probably had two really good friends growing up who were girls. The rest of my buddies throughout school were all guys.

    They were better at playing basketball, they weren’t bitchy behind your back. If they had a problem they would tell you to your face and I knew if anyone messed with me they totally had my back.

    Its really only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve got more girly, not that I’ve lost my love of more macho type things. Its just that my nails will look pretty now when my fist connects.

    Anyway I guess I’ve gotten off point. As long as people enjoy what I read and I have fun responding to comments they can think I’m a guy or a girl, it really doesn’t bother me.

    If anything I’d just get a good laugh out of the fact they got my gender wrong.

  13. Wow such a heated discussion I could only read the first bit at school but now that I have read the whole thing… it is very interesting.. indeed first of all like you trying to confirm yourself as a girl is so strange to me because I have always known you are a girl.. trust me when you meet her in real life she is as much of a girl as she can be no question there but its interesting that on an intelectual manner how assumptions are made… of gender.. personnally I dont think it should or would matter to me because remember we are 3 on rambo and 3 on barbie! I like to call it nuetral… oh I can talk on and on but plain and simple neutral

  14. For what it’s worth, you always seemed like a girl through your writing style. Dunno why. Sometimes I think I sound like a girl when I spam tildes, but I guess the default assumption of rule whatever-number-it-was comes in handy in my case.

    More importantly, I did not know that you’re younger than me! I could have sworn we were the same age. It’s not much of a difference, but now I have to add you to my mental list of bloggers who aren’t my age or older (I think the current population is three). Consider that a compliment, I guess? 😛

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