"Androgynous" writing

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I have taken a few examples from the excellent Font Garden website to show characteristics deemed "masculine," "androgynous," and "feminine." These fonts are great for showing allographic characteristics of each letter, and what makes letter formation "masculine" or feminine."

Please note that deeming someone or something "masculine" or "feminine" is arbitrary and based on social custom. Not everyone would agree with my arbitrary assessments below.

This one is by a girl, but it is so illegible many people would probably rate this as “masculine.”

This one would probably be rated “masculine” because of the uneven lengths of the tails on j, g, and y. Note also how the ascenders have uneven vertical heights, and the m has a much lower x-height than the others.

Most people would probably say this was “feminine” because so many letters are rounded, but there is some irregularity that might make people guess.

This “androgynous” sample is probably by a left-handed writer (note the backward slant). What makes this feel “feminine” is the n and h shapes on the right side of the arch. See how it’s not a straight downstroke? Also, the counters are quite large in most vowels and closed letters.

Though the y is very “feminine” here, the backward slant on the l and h, and the lower x-height of the r would weigh this towards “masculine.”

This one of the more "androgynous" of the samples here. There is a real consistency in shape and slant of letters, which makes this feel very “feminine.” Note how the arched letters like m, n, and r are not very rounded, but angle up and then turn sharply downward. That's a little more "masculine."


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Handwriting and gender cues