Online tests and fortune cookies

As mentioned earlier, I found the COGIATI, one of the personality tests that helps you find where you are on the road to gender identity.  On a scale of -650 (all male) to +650 (ready for surgery), I scored -130 (“You are an androgyne”).  I question the validity of some of that, however, because many of the questions require an either-or choice when the true answer is “both” or “neither”.  For example, there are a lot of questions that make you choose whether you were/are better at math/science, or spelling/reading/writing.  Actually, I excelled across the board academically.  Sure, I won lots of spelling bees – but I’m also a science geek with a gift for computer programming.  Does that make me androgynous?  No, it means I got great genes from my equally smart parents.  Likewise, the several questions about identifying a person by voice – there’s no 100% accurate answer to that!  It depends on how long I have known the person.  Not being able to unequivocally say “yes” or “no” makes me androgynous?  Or the “direction a sound is coming from” questions.  How loud is it? What if my sinuses are backed up and I can’t hear much of anything?  I doubt you could find five “real men” who could pinpoint a sound’s source accurately 100% of the time, but a hesitant “probably, most of the time” moves you further down the scale towards womanhood.  That’s just stupid.

I’m not denying a certain amount of androgyny in my personality; I know that as a man who can cry at movies and discuss feelings and spend hours watching my avatar try on dresses in  Second Life, I’m not likely to win the Testosterone Prize of the year.  I like to deliberately stir people up by blurring the gender lines, so yes, a lot of my conflicting traits are the very definition of androgyny.  What I object to is being placed in that category on the basis of totally arbitrary and irrelevant standards.

Now having said that, the author of COGIATI herself expends a great deal of frustration at people who have just my type of criticism about the test – you can read the whole thing here: http://www.transsexual.org/wordoncogiati.html

Now having said THAT, there’s an excellent article on why these personality tests are about as reliable as horoscopes and fortune cookies:  http://www.tsroadmap.com/mental/gendertests.html

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About Ralph

Male. Straight. Married.
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One Response to Online tests and fortune cookies

  1. Zosimus the Heathen says:

    I’ve done the COGIATI myself, and like you, ended up with a result in the “androgynous” range (something that didn’t worry me; it made me feel like David Bowie!). Also like you did, I perceived some rather severe limitations with the test; one of my own beefs with it was that a lot of the questions seemed to promote the whole “girls are sugar and spice and all things nice” stereotype (I’ve worked in a female-dominated environment for over a decade, and have found through my experiences there that women are far from being as warm, cuddly and cooperative as such stereotypes would have people think). I also found, through taking it several times and altering the answers I gave each time, that it was surprisingly easy to score a rank of “feminine male”. You could arrive at such a result, it seemed, through choosing mostly stereotypical male responses, just so long as those responses weren’t the most extreme ones on offer.

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