Google and the He/She Ratio

I’ve been tinkering with The He/ She Ratio on Google Blogoscoped.

A site’s he/ she ratio is measured by counting the number of pages on the domain containing the word “he”, then searching for the number containing “she”, and then looking at the two numbers in comparison.

Here are a few figures.

We’re running at 44/56 on Hoyden About Town.

Blogs

33/67 on sisterhood-and-solidarity.blogspot.com
36/64 on thefword.org.uk
36/64 on susoz.typepad.com
37/63 on allgirlarmy.org
38/62 on nopod.blogspot.com
43/57 on feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu
44/56 on womensspace.wordpress.com
48/52 on iblamethepatriarchy.com
48/52 on brownfemipower.com
48/52 on sarsaparillablog.net
50/50 on pavlovblog.blogspot.com
52/48 on feministallies.blogspot.com
53/47 on bitchphd.blogspot.com
54/46 on castironbalcony.media2.org
54/46 on pandagon.net
59/41 on larvatusprodeo.net
63/37 on shakesville.com
64/36 on dailykos.com
76/24 on boingboing.net/

Political Parties – Australia

58/42 on onenation.com.au
58/42 on greens.org.au
74/26 on democrats.org.au
82/18 on alp.org.au
83/17 on liberal.org.au

Politics: USA

77/23 on rnc.org
74/26 on nra.org
71/29 on texasgop.org
64/36 on aclu.org
62/38 on democrats.org

Religion

48/52 on quiverfull.com (a good example of a near-even he/she ratio not
indicating a feminist outlook)
55/45 on uua.org
58/42 on jewish.com
62/38 on atheists.org
66/34 on christianitytoday.com
71/29 on csmonitor.com and catholic.org
72/28 on infidels.org

Reproductive Choice

37/63 on mariestopes.org.uk
42/58 on plannedparenthood.org
47/53 on fpahealth.org.au
48/52 on prochoice.org
52/48 on prolife.org.au
57/43 on nrlc.org

Hobbies ‘n’ Stuff

18/82 on knitty.com
21/79 on wnba.com
24/76 on craftzine.com
28/72 on allcrafts.net
56/44 on slashfood.com
63/37 on ipl.org
63/37 on bookcrossing.com
71/29 on itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/
78/22 on slashdot.org
88/12 on eurosport.com
89/11 on sciencemag.org
90/10 on engadget.com/
93/7 on espn.go.com
95/5 on gamespot.com
97/3 on nfl.com

One last one:

70/30. On google.com.

Methodological notes:

My list is Australia/US/UK centric. And there are heaps of other biases, because most of the topics and all of the blogs are hoiked out of my RSS subs. This Is Not A Random Sample. However, I haven’t made any effort to be selective or cherry-pick to fiddle the numbers. If the site didn’t spring to mind spontaneously or pop up in my NetNewsWire eyescan, I searched google for the most obvious keyword, and looked for a .org or an association-looking thingy as close to the top of the results as possible.

The most striking overall result, of course, is the massive He-skewing on pretty much every site that doesn’t specifically have feminism, women’s bodies or traditionally women’s work as its focus. (And I’m rather amazed that some of the sites that _do_ have women’s bodies as their focus still have a He-predominance. What’s up with that?) And then there’s the fact that no-one seems to have noticed, let alone questioned, the fact that “He” always comes first in the construction “He/She”.

I’m sure there’s plenty of artifact in there; for example, One Nation’s ratio may be heavily influenced by the Hanson Effect. Bitch PhD’s may be skewed because she often talks about PK, her son.

But for some, like the other political parties, I’m thinking that the ratios may have something very real to say. And I’m ashamed of the Australian major parties – a higher he/she ratio than the GOP? Sheesh. And what’s with infidels.org?

Someone smarter than I might be able to make a fancy graph out of all of this. At the original site, of course, the results bar is Windex blue and bladder-haemorrhage pink.

[Hat tip to Elizabeth.]
[Yes, some of the listed sites don’t have html links. This is not an accident. On that, I’m unapologetically biased.]



Categories: gender & feminism, language

Tags: ,

17 replies

  1. ‘And then there’s the fact that no-one seems to have noticed, let alone question, the fact that “He” always comes first in the construction “He/She”.’
    I’m always aware of that and tend to mix it up, depending on context. I’m an unapologetic user of what I think may now be the slightly passé construction s/he, just because I like it and it’s my blog and I can. When I’m writing for the MSM I sometimes make a point of writing ‘she or he’. (I abominate the oxymoronic ‘singular they’.)
    As for a 50/50 score without even trying — whew. Close. But I write about offensive male politicians* quite a bit.
    *Is there such a thing as a near-tautology?

  2. Pav! You just made comment 10000 (which is mildly surprising when the previous comment was 9991 – something smells of herring). [virtual balloons are now falling from your ceiling and noisemakers surround you nonetheless]
    I too am a fan of s/he, which would also skew the stats towards the male pronoun count, although I even more often use sie and hir.

  3. *Is there such a thing as a near-tautology?

    Peritautology?
    Tautologoid?

  4. tigtog:

    I too am a fan of s/he, which would also skew the stats towards the male pronoun count

    As far as I can tell, Google seems to consider “s/he” to be “she”, not “he”, so I think the usage would She-skew, not He-skew.

  5. Thank goodness it was Pav Cat, I was worried it might be someone like Infidel Sage or whatever he calls himself, and that would have kinda ruined the moment. Congrats on the 10000!

  6. The page looked funny just then, so I went and closed an open [small] tag. It seems to be fixed now. I hope no-one had to squint too much.

  7. Wow — belated thanks for the balloons and so on. (But where’s my Lexus?)
    Thanks you Mindy, what a nice thing to say.
    Tell me, TT, do you find yourself stats-watching and feeling guilty about it? I had a big fight with myself when I first got a stats counter (and another big fight with myself when I signed up with the TTLB Ecosystem, though that was more for fun than anything) because I was full of scorn for boy bloggers comparing the sizes of their, erm, readerships and trying to artifically boost their numbers and so on. Lately this view was confirmed at a meeting I was at with a couple of male bloggers who said Yes indeed, much blogospheric male behaviour was all about getting big numbers and waving them in other male bloggers’ faces.
    But I can certainly see now, having been blogging for 18 months in this strange new world, what a very steep and slippery slope this numbers game could be.

  8. I don’t watch the numbers too much, Pav, but I do like to see what’s bringing people to the blog. It’s often a depressingly crass googlesearch of course!

  9. I haven’t seen the googlesearches, but I do like to see who’s linking – very often, they’re blogs I’d like to read!

  10. You can check out our sitemeter in the page-footer, Lauredhel.

  11. Interesting. My numbers are a depressing 65/35 – much of this is probably an artifact of me talking about science research, religion and pseudo-science (such as intelligent design).
    Still, I need to keep an eye on this, and try to change that.

  12. i’m content to think of “he” as the generic pronoun, and save “she” for when i really am talking about women. i do frequently commit the grammatical of using “they” in the singular as my choice for genderless pronoun.
    my blog is 40/60 by that measure, but funny thing, my posts on abortion are written by a man according to the gender genie.

  13. ps. i idolize emma peel. thanks for the photos.

  14. Uh-Oh. Pavlov’s Cat is about to battle you Jackie Chan style.

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