“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:
The following is a letter to a friend, who asked me about using DNA sequencing to find an explanation for her adopted, adolescent son’s violent behavior:
I’ve thought much about violence from adoptees, as a woman I deeply love experiences the same behavior from her daughter(s). Interestingly, she adopted her daughters from a Russian orphanage—I know you also adopted from Russia. This similarity might matter as I’ll describe later.
Moreover, I’ve given much thought to household violence in general, having lived with an extremely abusive spouse for over a decade. I therefore have much to say on matters such as codependence, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
Finally, I carry a long and well-documented history of mental illness (bipolar disorder). For the most part I manage it well with medication and psychotherapy, but occasionally I require psychiatric hospitalization. Many of the articles on this blog document my experience with the disease—a narrative I’m constructing for researchers. My point is, I know quite a bit about different psychological treatment modalities and am going to recommend one in particular for your son, and another for you (below).
Your interest in your son’s genome as explanation is reasonable, and I’ve scoped out some options below that you can choose among (and get back to me for further guidance). However, I think the etiology of the violence is likely psychological or psychiatric. I’ll justify this statement shortly.
So I want to give you my complete thoughts on the matter, not just on mere genomics. Here is what I plan to discuss:
Psychology and psychiatry
PTSD and child abuse/neglect
Brain anatomy (briefly)
Identifying genes associated with violence
I’ll provide you with a list to have checked
Identifying nucleotide variants associated with violence
Looking at epigenetics and violence
How to legally analyze the data?
Alright, straight into it:
Psychology and Psychiatry
I hypothesize that violent adoptees underwent significant trauma and neglect in early childhood. I base the idea that such trauma may prompt violent behavior later on attachment theory (especially the learning—or lack of learning—of emotion regulation skills from a primary caregiver) ; and from witnessing my ex-wife’s violence, which emitted from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by childhood abuse.
This I believe is the most likely explanation for your son’s behavior.
I also suspect that Russian orphanages aren’t usually healthy environments to start life in, to put it mildly.
If my theory is correct, your son needs to learn emotion regulation. Unfortunately, most therapy modalities I’ve seen only “process” feelings, but don’t treat management of intense feelings as a “skill” that can be learned and mastered. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) , by contrast, does exactly that (and more)! Initial research suggests DBT may prove appropriate to reducing PTSD symptoms . You can search for a local DBT therapist or group at . Groups exist for teenagers, and I’m sure for younger children as well.
I personally attended a DBT group for adults twice in my life. Found it extremely beneficial for attenuating suicidal ideation. Therefore I highly recommend this treatment method for anything regarding emotion dysregulation.
Medication will only take you so far. But medication is a vital component.
Remember its okay to call 911 if you need to, both for violence and potential self-harm.
The other psychological issue to consider regards yourself: Codependence.
The Wikipedia article on codependency  sums it up well: “Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.” (emphasis mine). Essentially codependents become “addicted” to the relationship dynamic (whether they like the dynamic or not) and the “helping” role they play. Like all addicts they sacrifice themselves for the addiction. In mental health situations like yours where there is an “identified patient”, the likelihood of you developing clinical codependency traits proves high.
Take care of yourself. See a counselor. Get some rest. Have some fun. Attend a codependency treatment group or a codependency support group. (I’ve attended a codependency treatment group offered by my HMO. It proved extremely helpful).
If you haven’t yet, have a neuropsychologist run a battery of test on your son. Typical tests (as in the ones I’ve taken) include:
An intelligence scale appropriate for minors
Bender Gestalt Test of Visual-Motor Integration
Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-III)
Intermediate Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test (IVA-CPT)
A self-assessment inventory appropriate for minors
A self-rating scale appropriate for minors
Sentence Completion Test (SCT)
Rorschach Inkblot Technique
These tests quantify many mental health conditions, such as ADHD and antisocial behavior. The MMPI-2 is the most important one as it measures traits that may help defend your son if his behavior lands him in legal trouble (e.g., the “Antisocial Behavior” and “Disconstraint” scales of the MMPI-2). Also its finding might give you a “name” or two for your son’s specific conditions.
For an example of how I measured my own level of antisocial behavior and disconstraint, similar to how your son would be measured, see .
I don’t know much about this subject, but have a neurologist meet with your son. If they detect an anomaly in an MRI of the brain you will gain a lot of insight, and (again) gain more data to protect your son if his behavior causes legal issues. A great article discussing adolescent violence and neuroimaging can be found at , which includes the following graphic:
Notice that emotion dysregulation comes up again in this graphic. If a brain anatomic explanation is found, DBT still may be indicated. Cognitive control and ability to learn will be measured by the neuropsychologist discussed above and may correlate to MRI results.
To benefit from DNA sequencing, you need to know what to look for. Unfortunately, I expect a gene panel for “psychiatric violence” does not exist. So I designed a gene list for such a panel to provide a basis for further work. The method and resulting gene list are discussed in a separate article on this blog:
So one way of looking at the challenge is to sequence these genes and see what aberrations appear. However, most aberrations will prove benign or related to some completely unrelated issue. So I scoped out the following strategy for identifying the aberrations to look for using ClinVar , a database which we can search by disease. Unlike the gene list analysis, I have not automated the procedure yet (we’ll cross that line together if you decide to proceed with sequencing analysis). However here is a manual outcome, to demonstrate that we can pull the required information together.
We first search for the term “personality disorder”, and retrieve a list of known perturbations correlated with this cluster of diseases:
Clicking on the first variation in the list, we see that it involves an aberration in gene NRXN1. As a verification, we find NRXN1 in the gene list I produced above:
And if you’re curious, here is the aberration shown in context on its chromosome:
Again, if you decide to move forward with sequencing, I’ll automate this data extraction procedure.
So now we face a major decision: Whether to sequence your son’s entire genome or just his genes (a minor subset of the genome). What matters is the proportion of aberrations we find related to diseases involving violence that lay outside genes compared to those that lay within genes. The more of the former, the greater the need to sequence your son’s whole genome to stand a chance of finding anything.
The other thing we need to consider while identifying aberrations to search for is the strength of their known correlation to disease. We might need a cutoff threshold to remove low quality information, assume this measure is even available (I haven’t checked yet–again, right now I’m simply scoping out a strategy).
What this discussion leaves out is “epigenetics”, the science of how the environment can modify gene expression. Research suggests that PTSD causes epigenetic modification of the genome. There are ways to test for such events, and we can scope them out together if you would like. For now I’m going to skip that subject because I don’t know much about it (but can find out as needed).
Looking in the genome for disease markers is a crapshoot. At my last reckoning of the situation, there simply is not enough data recorded to make highly effective correlations for most diseases. However, this situation improves everyday. And, except for the case of epigenetics, your son’s genome is for all intents and purposes static. Therefore if you sequenced him now, and did not find anything, you might find something in a year or two using the same sequencing data.
So your next decision is whether to proceed with sequencing or focus on other ideas such as those suggested above.
If you do decide to proceed, your next move would be to find a genetic counselor to facilitate things. (That gives me legal protection if you use my gene list or aberration list). I’m simply not sure where the FDA stands on using a punk-ass hacker’s gene list to diagnose genetic disease causality outside a research-only environment. Don’t have a clue!
However being the complete anarchist that I am, if you handed me a whole-genome on a disk with the owner’s name removed, I can and will scan for these variants. If I find something I’ll say variant X suggests a remote possibility of condition Y for the genome on the disk, and that only a qualified medical doctor can confirm! It will be like an online MMPI-2 that tells you what you want to know but refers you to a licensed neuropsychologist for a legally defendable evaluation.
So again, think about this and get back to me if you want to proceed further down this rabbit hole.
The most import thing to do is commit, and constantly recommit, to love. I state the verb form of the word to emphasize that this involves a decision, a crucial choice. And let me repeat, you must continually make this choice again and again to achieve success at it.
One never knows when to turn the other cheek  and when to refuse to accept further abuse. This probably is a moving target that varies day by day. What I can say is that even when you accept such abuse in the short run, ALWAYS resist in the long game. This gives you an endgame—a goal of a better world for you and your son. It helps keep your head up. Again, play the long game.
I realized a few months ago that parents who adopt children that behave violently stand among the few who actually understand what love is. They walk among the best of us. What grieves me is how much their best get buried everyday by the stress of violence in the household.
For all the strategies I enumerated above, please hold reasonable expectations. Go for “good” outcomes not “perfect” ones. To demonstrate, I practice this concept with regard to my own mental health: Never managed to “cure” my bipolar disorder, just consider low daily mood-variance success.
Take care of yourself. Please heed my warning about codependency. It will not help your son if you cease to keep yourself together.
Remember that specific mental illnesses might have once held an evolutionary advantage in earlier times, and they therefore are only “illnesses” in the context of post-hunter/gatherer society. Knowing this doesn’t make things better, but it at least provides some comfort to me. For example, a popular idea is that ADHD holds an advantage during the hunt .
I also argue that mental illnesses, particularly those that involve occasional psychosis, exist for spiritual reasons as well. (This is not to suggest that spiritual experiences, even those due to psychosis, are not genuine). Take comfort in that possibility.
What I’m saying between the lines in these last two paragraphs is that one can learn to take advantage of their mental illness if they can attenuate its liabilities. Again, to demonstrate, my bipolar disorder offers an endless wellspring of creativity. So I fully tap that creativity at work and everywhere else.
Finally, let me talk about “radical forgiveness”, a concept I’m developing for dealing with abuse, heartbreak, etc. Essentially it’s a doctrine indicating how to practice forgiveness as a “skill” and a “discipline”, rather than treating forgiveness as some ethereal idea. Try it! This idea is best explained in my video on the topic. Please forgive the sound quality (I will re-record it soon):
Remember that at the end of the day, your son is responsible for his actions. He can learn non-violence if he works at it (e.g., through a program such as DBT). It may require a parallel spiritual awakening.
Hold him accountable. Teach character. Set an example through your own character and through taking responsibility for your mistakes.
To demonstrate these principles in action: I’ve harmed several people whom I love due to things I’ve said while experiencing bipolar mania. I don’t blame the disease. I blame myself and commit to work on preventing the disease from motivating such action. This seemingly subtle difference drives my character.
So teach him accountability. And remember that in the grand scheme of the universe we are all equal in the eyes of God—and we all need substantial work!
I recently developed a method for specifying a comprehensive gene list for investigating genes related to psychiatric violence, which I describe below. First though, here’s a cool picture from the analysis:
I started by extracting a list of diseases involving violence from , removing epilepsy, dementia, mental retardation (is there a better word for this?), and Alzheimer’s disease. Also removed sexual sadism from the list as one might debate whether or not this qualifies as “disease”. I then matched those diseases by name–more accurately by components within each name–to diseases contained in DisGeNET  to determine genes associated with those diseases. Next, I built a network graph of the genes where an edge between two genes indicates one or more diseases in common. A tractable subset of this graph is pictured above for demonstration. Finally, I computed the size of the ego graph for each gene (node) and ranked them, as listed below. Greater ego network size indicates greater probable biological importance vis-a-vis psychiatric diseases having violence as a symptom.
I started working out a holistic map of my work ethic and work values, and quickly found that linearity failed to cut it. Essentially, I need to capture the interdependencies between spiritual, social, and financial wealth. More importantly, I need to illustrate the crucial balance between these factors. Enter non-linear system dynamics:
Simulation, based on ad-hoc parameterization (because there is no way to actually measure most of these variables), demonstrates that I’m at least moving in the correct direction:
William Gibson penned Neuromancer over thirty years ago, and the 1990’s ended viciously on 9/11. With the exception of cyberfeminism, I wrote off “cyberpunk” as an ethic once we as a society stopped saying “cyber” and replaced the word with “online”.
Yesterday I traced partial assets of an individual I distrusted—and needed the straight dope from—from my laptop. Dating while transgender proves dangerous and a girl must protect herself!
In between I persistently beleaguered Microsoft as a career-long Linux hacker.
Once declared squatter’s rights on a piece of land I identified though data mining.
I walk with the Big Data devils to broadcast my signal, a means to an end. Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Facebook receive my data, and in exchange they amplify my cultural imperative.
And they know where the real value in data lies: Not in the records themselves but in the interconnections between them.
Emergent properties steered by unholy gods.
“Cyber”: Greek for “to steer”.
Steering a boat requires connecting the data: Position, velocity, acceleration, time. State variables alone won’t suffice.
When we get burned by Cambridge Analytica or the Russian Federation, we realize our individual technological vulnerability.
Propaganda is hacking: Implant bias, implant ideas, grow emergent outcomes. Seduction is a system intrusion.
Technological warfare and psychological warfare forever link.
Class war must proceed asymmetrically.
I only trust the Prophets, not the Church, not the State, not the Oligarchs.
And we can be prophets in cyberspace. We can create technology that liberates the world.
We can steer toward our own emergent outcomes.
We can end material scarcity.
Love forward. Program. Network. Build enterprise. Produce art. Write. Love forward.
Jam the system, and prepare to be jammed by the punks that follow you.
The 1990’s are dust, but the “system” still remains cybernetic control. Therefore resistance remains cyberpunk.
I’m publishing this strategy because maybe it will help someone else survive in the future:
I feel an intense psychiatric compulsion to suicide every time I experience romantic heartbreak. It’s simply part of my bipolar disorder (which I improve management of everyday). Usually I’m well adept at handling these situations and moving quickly out of them.
However, this morning’s heartbreak incident proved much more difficult to manage; I moved beyond psychiatric compulsion and actually considered offing myself. It’s not that the woman involved is any more awesome than previous situations (she is), it’s just that I feel beaten down from years of serial heartbreak. I always get back up again after getting knocked down. Won’t ever stop doing that. But sometimes one just needs a break.
To survive, I constructed the following two-part argument, built entirely on the deep love I have for this woman. I reframed survival as an expression of this love:
First, and less importantly, she asked me not to contact her in the future, which I intend to honor. I realized that if I took my life she would certainly find out—which be a form of contact—a message somewhere between “I love you” and “fuck you”.
This first reason isn’t particularly rational, but the second reason carries tremendous clarity and precision:
Taking my life in response to her rejection would likely traumatize her, even though my action wouldn’t be her fault by any stretch of the imagination! I could not do this to her. She’d spend a lifetime second-guessing her decisions, and potentially years on unnecessary guilt. She’d perhaps require therapeutic intervention. It would disrupt her life in significant ways. I cannot do this to someone I love, who’s well-being I care so much about. So better for me to endure the pain which will pass in time.
The interesting thing about this last reason is that, while I constructed the argument expressed above based on concern for her well-being, I was even more concerned about her son’s well-being (who doesn’t know me). Here is my logic: If my beloved withdrew into trauma due to a suicide on my part, she would be less able to provide emotionally for her son. This of course would do great damage. Again, I cannot do this to someone I care about, so I’ll endure the pain.
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.
We occasionally find ourselves in the situation where someone we love deeply refuses to communicate with us. In this video I present six strategies for transmitting validation across the divide. (A text version of this content is available here).
I sincerely hope you find this material useful in your own life! Please let me know how it goes, or send comments and questions, by commenting on this post or through Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you!
Update 27 February 2017
I’m happy to have touched someone with this video! Received the following comment through Facebook today:
No significant other shares their life with me, a fact that usually annoys me on Valentine’s Day. This year I decided not to fuss about it, choosing instead to celebrate my healthy love for myself. So I’m wearing cute Valentine’s Day lingerie for my own joy.
Girls, if you find yourself single next Valentine’s Day, get yourself some sexy lingerie and delight in your own company!
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.
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.
My firm desire (pun intended) is that all women, particularly transgender women, take complete ownership over their presence and their bodies. Presence emits power. Ownership delivers power. Here I refer to “power” in a feminine network sense, enabling women full constructive influence within the relationships they build and expand. These relationships may include friendships, business connections, or romantic partnerships.
In the case of romantic connections, whether short or longterm, sexual competency wins constructive leverage. I therefore encourage all women, and again, particularly transgender women, to study sexual technique. To set an example, I’ve embarked on the reading list given below.
Why do I focus on transgender women in particular? Because we often regard ourselves as “inferior” women and I wish that to cease immediately. Furthermore, we are often sexualized for being transgender rather than treated like human partners. That probably won’t cease but can be manipulated. My opinion is that developing skill in bed resists the former mindset, and shifts control toward transwomen in the latter situation.
Regarding the latter: Instead of thinking of myself as objectified for being trans, I think of myself as having cornered a market. This economic viewpoint empowers. I can set my base price (expectation of a partner) based on scarcity. I can then increase my price (expectation of a partner) by enhancing my sexual technique.
Become a world-class lover. Own yourself. Own your power.
My reading list:
Here is the most famous one, but you should know that sexual technique is only a small part of it. Wikipedia explains this well:
Contrary to western popular perception, the Kama Sutra is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life.
Finally, we must learn to seduce, a skill separate from competency in bed:
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.
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.
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).
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.