evolutionary psychology and toxic masculinity

A well-known tension exists between evolutionary psychology theorists and feminist theorists. Feminists reasonably complain that evolutionary psychologists are simply reinforcing sexist paradigms—particularly the sexism that still pervades scientific inquiry—while evolutionary psychologists reasonably argue that their findings simply derive from examining our species’ mental adaptations necessary to ensure survival.

I’m not here to argue about which viewpoint is right. Truth probably lies in both modes of inquiry.

However, I’ve been thinking about “toxic masculinity”, a concept that wouldn’t exist without the feminists having identified it.

Let’s assume that “toxic masculinity” exists as the feminists define it.

Let’s also assume that toxic masculinity is a phenomenon we want to rid society of, that it is a bad thing.

Is it enough to simply think our way out of this mess? My experience suggests no. We need to examine the deep psychological pull of toxic masculinity, particularly in woman’s lives. (I’m assuming here without rigor that women are complacent in its social realization—part of the problem).

I propose that evolutionary psychology might explain some of this.

Assume that the patriarchy has dominated human relationships and individual humans’ self-realization since at least the time we settled down to start growing our food (about 10k years ago). Assume further that toxic masculinity evolved in men’s psyche as a way to maneuver within this patriarchy—that men who exhibited toxic masculinity prospered while men who didn’t exhibit it did not. Then it follows that natural selection favored the men who carried toxic behavior.

Women relied on men’s successes, and therefore it is possible that women who found toxic masculinity initially attractive (in terms of sexual/emotional arousal) would have more success finding a mate. Over millennia, natural selection might have favored this behavior.

Thus we may have a deep attraction to toxic masculinity written deep into our DNA.

Okay, so how does this help? If this hypothesis holds water, we know what we are up against and can adjust our cognitive reframing work and cultural change efforts accordingly.

lace punk, satin punk, petticoat punk, oh my!

This article was first published on the fashion blog Mad Hot and Artsy on 20 November 2018. Special thanks to them for featuring my content!

To satirize my proud (and adopted) feminine modality, I developed a personal clothing style I call “lace punk”, “satin punk”, and/or “petticoat punk”. It carries steampunk, burlesque, and pin-up influences; and emphasizes poise, class, and elegance. In other words, I give the appearance of “high class”. This combination kills when combined with sound posture and a confident stride—my satire has since evolved into a robust display of raw power.

Key elements involve millinery, corsetry, lace or satin gloves, heels, and frequent appearance in gowns.

The “punk” in all this is me: Accomplished hacker. Cyberpunk. Skilled guitar shredder. Free-thinking anarchist. These outfits tweak guys’ expectations when I talk engineering circles around them—“geek chic” never celebrated femininity quite like this.

I perform under the stage name “Napalm Fatale”. Have released two albums freely available at https://napalmfatale.bandcamp.com. Wrote an important article called “This is Transgender Music” describing this work and my musical goals.

I founded the company Whole-Systems Enterprises, Inc. to pay the bills. Am extremely interested in applying artificial intelligence to the fashion industry.

how to sit with ladylike poise, class, and elegance

Everybody knows I live an absolutely prim and proper life. For that reason I insist on spreading my copious knowledge to quality ladies everywhere! Here I demonstrate the “Duchess Slant” and the “Cambridge Cross”:

The Duchess Slant and the Cambridge Cross, attributed to Kate Middleton and Diana Spencer respectively, prevent your knickers from showing while seated, particularly in front of a camera [1]. We wouldn’t want the press to snap a photograph of the royal panties now would we?

Duchess Slant

English royals prove well practiced [2]:

Legs join at the knees and ankles (not crossing), and then tilt to one side. Heels touch the floor. Hands gently rest in the lap, ideally with one folded over the other [3]. Good posture—with back not touching the chair [4]—finalizes the position.

On my side of the Atlantic, I tend add a pronounced head tilt because I think it’s cute; compare to Ms. Middleton’s very slight tilt in the picture above.

Cambridge Cross

Again with the English royals [4]:

As the name implies, ankles gently cross when performing the Cambridge Cross, but otherwise one follows the Duchess Slant technique.

Why Bother?

Besides protecting modesty, these positions also slim and lengthen leg appearance [3].

I learned to sit properly from a modeling school’s video. Unfortunately I do not know which one so I cannot cite it. The video argued that given two equally qualified candidates for a photo shoot, the one that sits better will most likely get the job.

We can expand this idea to cover any job interview, and to cover career growth in general. Carrying oneself with class and poise, including how you sit, takes you places.

What About Crossing at the Knee?

The talking heads of etiquette have not sorted out amongst themselves whether crossing at the knee, while keeping angles together, proves appropriate for a lady of class [3]. But Ms. Spencer performs this position very elegantly:

Word to the wise: Prevent your petticoat from getting between your angles as demonstrated here:

The medical community continually debates the potential health hazards of sitting with legs crosses at the knee, but the jury is out [5].

How Not to Sit

Above I emphasized that one can only properly cross legs at the knee whilst keeping angles together, as demonstrated in the last two pictures. For contrast, this image [6] shows a less elegant form which ladies must avoid:

References

  1. https://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/What-Duchess-Slant-44944499
  2. https://people.com/royals/meghan-markle-duchess-slant-kate-middleton/
  3. https://www.vogue.com.au/culture/features/what-is-the-duchess-slant-and-does-it-really-matter-in-2018/news-story/e205f9b71548f9e9a004e15c6c573ba8
  4. https://brightside.me/wonder-people/12-exclusive-rules-from-the-duchess-of-cambridge-372910/
  5. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151013-is-crossing-your-legs-bad-for-you
  6. http://faze.ca/is-sitting-with-your-legs-crossed-bad-for-you/

 

thrift store mysticism

I treat thrift store shopping as a mystical experience, as a spiritual discipline.

Being somewhat of a mystic, and a massive optimist (see my post “curvilinear optimism“), I tend to believe that the Universe (or the Divine if you prefer) provides what we need to accomplish our missions in life as we need it (or immediately before).

Today I went to Goodwill and found four perfectly-fitting ladies’ business suits. All match my design ethic of “obvious femininity”—i.e., they are not simply men’s styles adapted for women. All have skirts, because, as readers of this blog know, I refuse to wear pants. All were well-made and extremely inexpensive.

The occasion is timely: I’m preparing to meet regularly with potential investors in the startup I contract with, representing the technical side of the company (I currently serve indirectly as that company’s R&D leader). Therefore I need managerial-level business attire, and a lot of it.

My optimistic, mystical self interpreted this Goodwill shopping haul as a “sign” that I’m “ready” for the business responsibility coming my way.

Asserting the Feminine

I stressed above the “obvious femininity” of the outfits. Feminism in the 1970’s and 1980’s urged women in corporate America to “act more like men”. That ethic led to women’s suit designs that really just mimicked masculine designs. (Shoulder pads, anyone?).

But diminishing the feminine to advance in the business world only marginalizes femininity in general—and makes many women simply unhappy. The truth is, while gender definitely moves on a spectrum at individual resolution, as a whole we can argue that women differ from men. We can argue further that that difference can (and should) add just as much value to the corporate world as masculine traits do.

So I for one will only wear business attire that screams “feminine”. I will not mimic a man. And I’ve taken a hit in corporate America for doing so… but I don’t give a shit because I know women are the future of business (but that’s a whole different topic).

Part of this practice goes back to my early days of living as a woman, where I learned quickly that to be called “she” I had to wear extremely feminine attire. In other words, I had to donate all my t-shirts to Goodwill and stop wearing pants. Now that my face has been surgically modified, my voice is higher in pitch, and my hair is longer I no longer experience this issue. But my memory proves long…

Strange Effects

The corporation I hold majority shares in gives 10% of its income to secular charities. Goodwill Industries of San Diego receives most of it, and the cash donations are made through local stores. As a result, the staff of the North County Goodwill stores have come to know me, resulting in two unexpected effects:

First, recognizing that my personal style is almost entirely constructed from thrift store finds, they now seek my opinion on displays, which I am thrilled to give. It’s nice to be seen as a style authority!

Second, the women working in these stores have become familiar with the kinds of items I typically look for, so when I enter a store I can now find these women first-thing and ask for recommendations based on their knowledge of what has recently been placed on the racks. But they don’t just try to accommodate my style, they suggest their own ideas. This proves fun for everyone involved.

The money the business gives created this situation, but the fact that I’m simply nice to everybody nurtures it along.

See Also

curvilinear optimism

declaring myself an arbiter of proper ladylike behavior

Today I officially declared myself an arbiter of proper ladylike behavior. Issued the announcement via Twitter and Facebook:

Obviously I’m not a perfect lady myself, having immediately mocked the whole concept by using foul language in the second sentence of the announcement tweet.

But this speaks to a fundamental issue: A proper lady will not take herself too seriously! A proper lady knows that “ladylike behavior” is an abstraction and a ruse, yet chooses to employ it anyway. It’s a means to an end, and, for those that wish to participate, one of many pathways an individual may take toward creating a more civil and empowered society (if taken within proper context).

For a transgender lady such as myself, and perhaps for all ladies, ladylike behavior exercises empowerment. It provides an assertion of identity against a world that devalues the feminine. Deep in my transgender femme brain (and I’m only speaking for myself here), becoming a woman is never enough. I need to blossom into a lady. A “proper” lady. This liberates, not oppresses!

The best thing about this process is that I get to define “proper” and define “lady”. I’m creating something that works for me within the current time and place. Certainly I draw on a multitude of others’ etiquette manuals, blog posts, and how-to videos. I tap the Kama Sutra and the Bible for ideas. But the tiara stops with me—I’m the ultimate arbiter of my intent.

However, I plan to actively influence culture with my process and conclusions. Therefore I will add my voice to the growing worldwide call for promotion of civil, polite, feminine, demure (when appropriate), and of course, “ladylike” behavior by (interested) women of all ages. Will never treat my contribution as mandate, as many fabulous women will find no interest in it. This is perfectly fine.

My perspective proves unique in that no one taught me proper ladylike behavior growing up. The result is that I still “man-spread” and chug my beer when I lose mindfulness. As a work in progress recreating my own social construction from the ground up, I assimilate ladylike behavior as a foreigner learning a new language from scratch. This is beautiful and absurd. And it means all assumptions fell off the table.

So in my derivation of ladylike behavior for this social reconstruction I’m learning a lot about it, and intend to share my findings from a position only a transgender lady can offer.

Let’s get started!

Ladylike behavior involves many “musts”. I now issue my first:

“A proper lady never wears flip-flops in public, except at the beach, the pool, or the public shower.”

Proudly developed this “rule” myself; read it in no style guide or etiquette post.

The world is ours, ladies!

Update 27 April 2018

Received the following perspective-enhancing reply to my Facebook announcement:

Just reminds me to follow what I first admonished above:  “A proper lady will not take herself too seriously!”. Also illustrates how “expertise” lies in the eye of the beholder.

women’s style recommendation with artificial intelligence (part #2)

In “women’s style recommendation with artificial intelligence (part #1)”, I introduced my work toward developing artificial intelligence (AI) for fashion and style recommendation. Essentially, its an expert system built on a Bayesian belief network. Now I discuss model validation and next steps in the design iteration process.

I first wanted to see if the trained network correctly returned known recommendations (“wear” or “don’t wear”) based on known clothing selections. This procedure successfully validated the code I wrote. Then I wanted to see if the model can derive new style rules. Experienced partial success on this account; I will outline a possible strategy for improving it.

The rest of this article details the processes summarized in the previous paragraph:

Consider the following trained Bayesian belief network structure:

While calculating the structure, the learning algorithm also calculated the node value probability distributions from the training set:

We first evaluate the model on three fashion rules, asking whether the selected node combination’s values are okay to wear:

  • IF body shape = “apple” AND skirt zipper = “on front” THEN wear = “No!” [1]
  • IF body shape = “apple” AND skirt zipper = “on side” THEN wear = “Yes” [1]
  • IF shoes = “flip-flops” THEN wear = “No!” [2]

(I trained the model upon 126 such rules simultaneously).

Running the inference code:

All looks good. As a control, I added “shoe = pumps” (instead of flip-flops) to the above calculation, and see that these are okay to wear as expected. (However, see the discussion below where I ran into trouble).

So now I start to derive novel new style rules from the model. Suppose we want to simply find out if it is okay to “wear” an “apple” body shape. We expect the model to report “yes”, as it does, assigning a probability to the conclusion:

However, the model cannot handle the addition of a shoe type to the “apple” body shape query above:

The problem is “fixed” when I add a style rule specifically allowing apple-shaped folks to wear pumps, but I am not happy with this. Ideal outcome would be for the inference to conclude this. I’m first going to check the dependencies encoding… which, if that solves the problem, stresses the importance of specifying dependencies well in additional to lateral relationships. For example, I might establish a “human” node, and indicate that each clothing article and feature proves appropriate for humans to wear. Then I’ll declare that each body shape associates with “human = true”.

Nonetheless, the progress reported here is significant!

I’ll keep you posted.

– Emily

References

I figured out this whole “ladylike” thing today

“A ‘lady’ is a woman who, through her mere presence, simultaneously commands power while setting others at ease.” – Emily Marie Williams

I achieved public womanhood on 14 July 2015 when I declared myself a woman before a judge and started living full-time as one. But as discussed several times on this blog, I work consistently to develop my personal concept of “lady” (a concept distinct from “woman”), and labor to assimilate this concept’s traits into my core being. (Check out the “See Also” section at the end of this post for links to my previous writings on the subject, which illustrate my progress through this exercise).

Today I experienced a breakthrough in this concept’s development, upon writing the following letter to my mom. I quoted the key innovation at the introduction to this post:

I have discovered that when I dress simultaneously classy, elegant, and ladylike; and move with casual grace while wearing heels, strangers take me more seriously. They step out of the way in stores. They open doors for me more frequently. They resolve conflicts with me more effectively.

Of course, it helps that I smile at and make eye contact with everyone I pass, and that I’m tall. And that I’m confident in my skin. Somehow I’ve discovered how to command power while simultaneously setting people at ease.

I think that last sentence is the essence of the “ladylike” concept I am striving to create for myself. I now have a vision that fits my feminist ethos and still matches my extremely gendered ideas about class.

Recently concluded that my days proceed more effectively, both in my mind and out in society, when I dress sharply.

Here is what I was wearing when I figured this out, what earned me the respect from strangers I received today that enabled me to put the pieces together:

See Also

women’s style recommendation with artificial intelligence (part #1)

Introduction

We know several basic style “rules” (ha!) based on body shape:

  • Skirts:
    • “Apple” Body Shape:
      • IF body shape is apple AND skirt has front zipper THEN don’t wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND skirt has side zipper THEN wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND skirt has no zipper THEN wear
    • “Rectangular” Body Shape:
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND skirt has front zipper THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND skirt has front zipper THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND skirt has front zipper THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND skirt is A-line THEN wear
  • Pants:
    • “Apple” Body Shape:
      • IF body shape is apple AND jeans have flare THEN wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND jeans have pleats THEN don’t wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND jeans have stretch THEN wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND trousers have flare THEN wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND trousers have pleats THEN don’t wear
      • IF body shape is apple AND trousers have stretch THEN wear
    • “Rectangle” Body Shape:
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND jeans have flare THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND jeans have pleats THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND jeans have stretch THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND trousers have flare THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND trousers have pleats THEN wear
      • IF body shape is rectangle AND trousers have stretch THEN wear

We want to create an artificially intelligent system to probabilistically decide, given a query such as “I have an ‘apple’ body shape and am thinking of wearing a skirt with a zipper in front. Should I?”. To accomplish this we use these rules to train a Bayesian network, and then use the network to make inferences upon queries such as the one given above.

Training the Network

From these we derive the 13 nodes of our Bayesian network:

Node
apple
jeans.with.flare
jeans.with.pleats
jeans.with.stretch
rectangle
skirt.with.a.line
skirt.with.front.zipper
skirt.with.no.zipper
skirt.with.side.zipper
trousers.with.flare
trousers.with.pleats
trousers.with.stretch
wear

We use the rules and the nodes to produce an automatically generated graph. Put to help it along, we will apply some expert knowledge and specify some

We seed the model structure identification algorithm with some basic expert knowledge by manually specifying the following 12 causal relationships:

From To
rectangle wear
apple wear
skirt.with.front.zipper wear
skirt.with.side.zipper wear
skirt.with.no.zipper wear
skirt.with.a.line wear
jeans.with.flare wear
jeans.with.stretch wear
jeans.with.pleats wear
trousers.with.flare wear
trousers.with.stretch wear
trousers.with.pleats wear

(We will see later that the automated graph structure learning procedure adds one more edge).

We save these relationships in “output/style_edges.csv” for later import using R.

We then encode the rules in dictionaries/hashes for items co-joint in a rule. For example, we express the skirt-related rules pertaining to apple-shaped bodies in JSON as:

    {
        "wear": "Yes",
        "apple": "1",
        "skirt.with.no.zipper": "1"
    },
    {
        "wear": "Yes",
        "apple": "1",
        "skirt.with.side.zipper": "1",
    },
    {
        "wear": "No",
        "apple": "1",
        "skirt.with.front.zipper": "1",
    }

For each entry, we zero out all other nodes (expect for “wear”, which is set to “No”), and express all 19 rules as a data frame, where the index order corresponds to the node order displayed above:

0,0,0,0,1,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,1,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,Yes
0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,Yes
1,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,Yes
1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,Yes
1,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,No
1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
1,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,Yes
1,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,No
1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,Yes
1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,Yes
1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,No

We save this data frame as “output/style_rules.csv” for later import by R.

In R, we load the necessary libraries and the CSV files. We also ensure everything is a factor in the rules data frame:

We look at the expert-specified edges, noting the existence of 12 relationships. After running the hill climbing algorithm to derive the network structure from the prior-specified edges and the rules, we notice that now 13 edges are present:

Here is the added edge:

From To
apple rectangle

We derive the model’s parameters from the training data, and then compile it for use in inference.

Results

Suppose we have an “apple” body shape, and want to choose a skirt using this model. We try the following skirt types against the apple body shape to infer whether or not to wear a particular skirt:

The first result in the image above resoundingly rejects wearing a skirt having a front zipper when one carries and apple-shaped body. By contrast, the second result approves of skirts having side zippers for apple-shaped folks. Both results concord with the IF-THEN-ELSE rules initially specified. The third result proves interesting—we did not provide a rule for apple-shaped bodies and A-line skirts, so the model provides no conclusion.

We observe similar results for trousers: The first two outcomes match the rules, but the third provides no decision because we provided no information about whether flare and stretch may be used together in a pair of trousers for apple-shaped bodies, or for any body shape for that matter!

Issues to Resolve

As indicated in the last paragraph, in practice a pair of trousers may have both flare and the ability to stretch. Each of these traits alone proves great for apple-shaped individuals. So together I manually infer that the two together are at least okay and may be even preferable. However, the model does not derive such a conclusion. In other words, we need to add rules saying these two traits may coexist.

Also, this effort took a lot of manual “expert” specification of the initial “seed” graph structure. Ideally one would learn the final structure purely from rules. My thinking is that the rule data frame is rather sparse, making it hard to learn the structure in an automated fashion. On the other hand, I may not have chosen the best learning algorithm.

Stay tuned…

– Emily

Update 16 April 2018

I’m onto the next iteration of the model design. A visual of results so far:

constant self-reinvention: my profound habit for creating success

Video of speech I gave at a Toastmasters meeting about my primary method for obtaining success:

my spinning moral compass

I’ve discovered a complete willingness to manipulate men into one-night stands purely to stroke my ego. (The trick is to let men feel like their own ego is in charge).

However, I experience complete moral repulsion at the idea of treating women this way.

I think my reason comes from evolutionary psychology: Women may become pregnant and therefore require support during their “down time”, the period when hunting and gathering would be difficult due to carrying a child—consequently they learned to highly value relationship stability across an evolutionary timeframe.

However, men can deliver sperm without such risk to their livelihood. Therefore they experienced less evolutionary pressure to value relationships than women. Given that I don’t want to hurt anyone, I provide far more ongoing commitment to my romantic relationships with women than men, due to the difference in evolutionary psychology between the sexes illuminated above.

Men do love, and greatly. I certainly did when I identified as one.

Moreover, I’ve realized that the manner in which I love IS very masculine (culturally), and that that is extremely unlikely to change. For example, I carry a strong “hero instinct”–want to solve problems for my beloved. I delight in the role of “pursuer”: Will combine culturally masculine flirtation technique to make my intention clear no matter how impeccably feminine I appear. I would feel shame if I couldn’t economically provide for a partner, despite the fact that times have supposedly evolved beyond that. Most significantly, I want to provide a constant beacon of (inner) strength.

Certainly, I have love-traits we could label as culturally feminine (commitment to radical kindness and collaboration). But the sum total of how I love leans strongly masculine.

And that is where things get interesting. Evokes my moral crisis:

I am a complete predator when I pursue women. Calculating. Shrewd. Persistent. Experimental. Adaptive. Creative. Subtle. Patient.

My motives prove decent but never pure. I operate by gaining the trust of women through my innate femininity (even did so back when I was “Dan”), and then later strike at opportune moment. My metaphor for this activity is “moving through the back door” when most suiters only show the wit to try the front. I suppose the redeeming feature of this maneuver is that the trust I establish is 100% genuine—as my intent always is to create a successful long term relationship (which relies firmly on trust).

So I demonstrate capacity for commitment during my pursuit. I only act this way when I’m prepared to deliver.

The other redeeming feature in this approach is that I only practice it when I’m completely besotted. Therefore the woman involved holds all the power!

The moral crisis lies in the fact that I do not like the idea of being a “predator”. But that is the correct word, so I’ve accepted it. More to the point, I’ve accepted the duality of being simultaneously predatory and noble in my pursuit, of delivering both genuine trust and absolute danger.

spinning masculinity into a seduction tool

Last night at my favorite bar I found myself flirting with two stunning women. Delivered bold masculine technique punctuated by proud feminine presence. I stood out hot and I knew it. Through my maneuvering I made it extremely clear which side of the tracks I walked on that night.

A man in their party saw this behavior and quickly complimented me on my dress. I thanked him genuinely, smiled, and then immediately returned my attention to the ladies that enraptured me.

Later I started thinking about what motivated the man’s compliment. While I really don’t know, here I’ll brainstorm through a feminist lens:

  • He could have genuinely liked the dress. Nothing to deconstruct there.
  • He could have genuinely wanted to flirt with me. Again, nothing to deconstruct there.
  • He wanted to remind the women whom I was so obviously putting the moves on that I was a woman.
    • And this is where things get interesting…
      • Was he jealous—afraid they’d take interest in me over him?
      • Was he jealous—wanted my attention but wasn’t getting it?
      • Some combination of the last two?
      • Or was it more fundamental?
        • He subconsciously intended to assert the heterocentric social order?
        • He subconsciously intended to assert the patriarchal social order?

I’m certain my use of masculine flirtation technique combined with my confident feminine poise knocked everyone involved off guard. I planned this juxtaposition while arranging my tactic prior to engaging.

From the point of view of my transgender journey, this experience demonstrates how I completely operate from a feminine foundation now. I started as, and remained, feminine throughout the whole encounter, only employing masculinity as a tool for seduction.

power and the art of seduction

In my last post, “power and sexual technique”, I urged women to gain leverage in their romantic relationships by increasing their skill in bed. More importantly, I developed this idea as a strategy transgender women may employ to decrease their overall marginalization—to help close the power differential that exists when straight men sexualize us for our unique bodies.

So far so good. But as a charismatic person (and natural propagandist) I know that the real establishment of a relationship’s or sexual encounter’s power distribution occurs at the encounter’s initiation—at the point of seduction—not in bed. One skilled at seduction, even if they lean submissive within the overall dynamic, owns the situation.

I frankly enjoy seducing my way into an encounter, thereby controlling the situation initially, and then joyfully sharing this power as the night unfolds. I might even completely surrender this power depending on the lover.

So a skilled seductress wields a mainline to authority and control.

I therefore, in a manner similar to my last post, encourage women and particularly transgender women to learn the art of seduction. My intent is not manipulation, but enhancement of mutual joy and an attenuation of the patriarchy’s power. I want us to diminish our marginalization by grabbing men by their psychosexual balls.

I realize that now I need to set an example. Problem is, I don’t particular think I’m good at seduction. To remedy that I’m committing to a thorough study of the art, starting with Robert Greene’s classic “The Art of Seduction”:

Need some inspiration? I started with a video featuring the fabulous Dita Von Teese where she irresistibly (yes, I’m bisexual) explains basic technique and attitude (below). However, I consider her words just the tip of the iceberg…

…I want the ability to start wars with my seduction (a la Troy), not merely get a date! I want to force Odysseus to break the ropes binding him.

And now, Dita Von Teese:

ten ways to deliver class (part #1)

“Class” strategically combines humility with knowing you stand a cut above the masses.

And now we begin writing about class.

“Class” is:

  1. Knowing when to lead and performing it gracefully.
  2. Knowing when to follow and performing it gracefully.
  3. Returning your shopping cart to the requested place.
  4. Realizing the full humanity in those who serve you (e.g., at a restaurant, etc.).
  5. Sitting up straight.
  6. Using proper grammar.
  7. Admitting and apologizing for your mistakes, and immediately working to remedy them.
  8. Dressing appropriately for an occasion.
  9. Driving politely.
  10. Counting your blessings.

More to come in future editions of this series!

tracking my gender transition through computational linguistics and machine learning

I wrote 299 blog posts in the last decade, roughly half on badassdatascience.com and half on genderpunk360.com. Produced most of the Badass Data Science content while publicly expressing as a man, and most of the Gender Punk 360 content as a woman. Some articles appear on both blogs—for example this one—and in the analysis described below I account for such duplication.

My speech therapist observed that I successfully employ feminine language in my recent video “radical forgiveness”. This led me to thinking: Has the language I use in my prose evolved as I blossomed into femininity? I detail my attempt to answer this question using mathematical analysis below.

Two Caveats

I make two major assumptions in this analysis, assumptions I will address in future work:

First, I assume my writing skill remained constant throughout the last ten years. Not a great assumption in the long haul but necessary to simplify the math for this “back of the envelope” analysis.

Second, the two blogs cover different subjects, and the first one even contains source code on occasion. This may distort the clustering process described below. Again, ignoring this concern proves acceptable for this “quick-and-dirty” calculation to enable exploration of the problem domain.



Method

I download each of my blog posts and then calculated the part of speech (POS) for each word in the post. After that I computed the frequency distribution of the POSs. I then performed hierarchical clustering using a similarity matrix defined by the dot product of each pair of posts’ POS use frequency distribution vectors. The resulting dendrogram looks like:

I recommend downloading the image to view it at full size.

Each vertical line represents a blog post, and the trees linking the vertical lines indicate the degree of similarity between any two blog posts. For example, in the above image, the cyan and magenta colored posts prove similar but the green and black posts diverge significantly in terms of their POS use frequency distributions. The asterisks indicate posts created after I started expressing publicly as a woman full-time. The colors divide the tree into sections that group similar blog posts. Please note that I chose the grouping threshold manually (but rationally).

Results

By visually inspecting the density of these asterisks for the different color groups we derive an indication of how “feminine” or how “masculine” we might regard each group of blog posts. For example, we see sparse femininity in the green, yellow, and black groups; while we see enriched femininity in the cyan and purple group. The algorithm clearly found little distinction between the posts within the large red group, but even there we visually recognize sections of diminished femininity and sections of enhanced femininity.

So a linguistical difference between my pre- and post-transition writing appears to exist. But is it real? Can we conclude that my prose grew more feminine after my public transition? Not so fast! We must build a model that includes time as a variable to cancel out possible influence of improvement in my writing skill, and then test that model for significance. I’ll save this work for a later date.