Is 5 a Boy or a Girl? – The Wonders of Synesthesia

When I found out about the concept of synesthesia—linking colors to letters, for example—I thought it sounded like the coolest thing in the world, almost like a superpower. I wanted to be able to see colors when I heard music. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can get just by willing it.

synesthesia

You can imagine my surprise when several later, my younger sister found out that we did have a form of synesthesia. Ever since we were little, both of us have thought of numbers and letters as being either male or female. To me it was just natural and I was rather surprised that everyone didn’t do that. I think of some of them as having colors too, although that is not as clear-cut.

Numbers

In my mind, the numbers 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 0 are male. 2, 4, 6, and 7 are female. The male numbers are mostly a blue or purple color , since I think of those as male colors, while the female numbers are all yellow or red.

It’s interesting when I think about numbers above single digits. 1 and 0 are male, but not strongly so, so 12, 14, 16, 17 are clearly female. However, something like 25 is not as clear in my mind. I would still say it’s male though, which seems to indicate that the gender is determined mostly by the last digit.

Letters

For letters of the alphabet, B, D, E, G, J, K, L, O, P, R, T, U, V, W, X, and Z are strongly male. A, C, M, N, S, Y are strongly female. The others, F, H, and I are a bit fuzzier in my mind; sometimes they seem male, other times they seem female. Are there such things as androgynous letters? Possibly.

The funny thing is, that my sister’s breakdown of the genders of the numbers and letters is totally different from mine. Actually, it’s almost exactly opposite. I’m not sure what that means, but I find it very interesting.

The ones without colors don't have a particular color strongly attached to them.

The ones without colors don’t have a particular color strongly attached to them.

Other types of categorization

Of course, there are many ways to visual or categorize the world. Some people think of different sounds as having colors. My anthropology professor in university grew up Africa where there is a rainy season and a dry season and so he naturally categorized all colors into “wet” and “dry” colors.

One strange thing I do is to categorize things by two micro machine trucks that I had when I was younger. One was blue and the other was yellow and red. My best friend used to play mostly with one and I would mostly play with the other one. I began to associate them with aspects of our individual personalities and then began to expand them to other things. It’s hard to pin down exactly what each represents, but in general, the blue one is more conservative and introverted and the red and yellow one represents more innovative, out-going things.

These are the closest I could find online.

These are the closest I could find pictures of. The bottom ones looks spot-on.

Is there any distinct way that you perceive life? Have you had similar experiences to me? I’m curious.

Advertisements

About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

12 responses to “Is 5 a Boy or a Girl? – The Wonders of Synesthesia

  • rochellewisoff

    Dear David,

    I find this interesting and never knew there was a name for it. I do think of numbers in particular as maculine or feminine. Letters,too. 4 is feminine as are 9, 2, and 6. 5 is a little boy. It goes on. Colors definitely have gender and in the business of cake decorating are very important.

    I also see inanimate objects as having personality and gender.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • David Stewart

      It’s very interesting to find out how others view the world. It’s so easy to go through life thinking that others see things the same way we do and then it’s a shock to find that they don’t. In our culture, we think of blue as male and pink as female, but it would be interesting to find out how other cultures view them, or if they do that at all with gender.
      Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  • Monk Monkey

    What the?! This just blew my mind. I have never thought of anything being male or female except males and females, not that anything had a colour except for colours. Weird! Wish I had your brain!

  • sharmishtha basu

    I too had very few linking like yours, yours is far more meticulous- I sometimes linked some numbers with some alphabets…

  • nightlake

    Interesting that you associate numbers with genders. Why is it mostly even numbers for female, except 7? I associate colors with moods. If excited and happy, it is red and green. If sad, dreamy or lonely, it is yellow or something pale.

  • ly

    Well, I never! Never thought that way, I mean. What an interesting idea! Will be giving everything I run into today a gender and a color…

  • What shape is the alphabet? | The Green-Walled Tower

    […] up, I thought this was just the way the world was, just like I thought that everyone knew that “C” was female and yellow. Honestly, I’m not sure how common this is, but here is how I visualize various number and […]

  • Jessica Mayberry

    I have this form of synesthesia (ordinal-linguistic personification), as well. You’ve described my experience almost exactly. Every letter and number is either masculine or feminine, though a few are kind of androgynous. And most letters and numbers have a certain color, though not all, and not as strongly as in those with grapheme-color synesthesia. I first remember being aware of this in kindergarten. I was looking at the alphabet banner that ran around the top of the room and naming them off: “A is a girl, B is a boy, C is a girl,” etc. I remember wondering if anyone else did this, but after many people telling me no, I stopped asking. Now I’m a grad student studying cognitive psychology, and studying synesthesia! 🙂

    I’m focusing in more on grapheme-color synesthesia at the moment (more common, at least that the scientific community has discovered thus far), but I find all forms incredibly interesting.

    • David Stewart

      It’s a funny thing, how we just make these associations and how not everyone does. When I was young, I thought it was natural until my sister told me about synethesia and then I started asking others and found that it wasn’t very common.

Let me know what you think. I appreciate all comments and criticisms.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Eve In Korea

My Adventures As An ESL Teacher In South Korea

Luna's Writing Journal

A Place for my Fiction

Bikurgurl

I'm just a gurl in the world

Here's To Being Human

Living life as a human

The Moving Quill

Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V

jenacidebybibliophile

Book Reviewer and Blogger

yuxianadventure

kitten loves the world

Strolling South America

10 countries, 675 days, 38,540km

It's All in Finding the Right Words

The Eternal Search to Find One's Self: Flash Fiction and Beyond

Reflections Of Life's Journey

Lessons, Joys, Blessings, Friendships, Heartaches, Hardships , Special Moments

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Chris Green

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Commendable Soap

"...the manufacture of stories... a business safe and commendable as making soap..." Willa Cather, 1920

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Total Time Waste

A Humor Blog!

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Unmapped Country within Us

Emily Livingstone, Author

The Found Girl's Bookblog

A lost girl found by good books

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

Learning how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

BJ Writes

My online repository for works in progress

wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/

she is confidence in shadows.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

obBLOGato

a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Life in Kawagoe

Japanese daily sight

The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writng, and More

Mondays Finish the Story

This is a flash fiction site where you finish the story!

Sketches By Boze

An ongoing exploration of faith, culture, myth, life, art. An advocate for all who are trapped in nightmares.

Tiffys World

A diary type blog following the life of a Forensic Science Student

San Diego Professional Writer's Group

A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

Five Years to Mediocrity

chasing kitties, crashing scooters, and learning spanish, one anxiety attack at a time

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

The Discerning Christian

Philosophy, Christianity, Social Justice

€merald Wake ©

❤ The art marked by the Pain ❤

Fiction et al

Navigating the modern business of book publishing

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

Marina Kanavaki

Art Towards a Happy Day

%d bloggers like this: