Tuesday 3 May 2016

Top of the Pops

I've got quite a numerical mind, and I am always interested in my statistics. I check my hit counter most days, and I enjoy watching what happens as the posts rise and fall in popularity.

Best chart show ever: TOTP
Sometimes a post from a while ago will experience a curious surge in popularity over a few days. Sometimes my blog will appear to suddenly become popular in a new country (Hello, Ukraine!). Why does this happen? I have no idea, but it's fascinating to watch.

What's very interesting to me is that I seem to have no ability to predict in advance which posts will be the most successful or popular. There are certainly some surprises in the Top 10, posts which are much more popular than I ever expected them to be.

Conversely, some of my favourite posts (in a personal sense) don't seem to have done all that well, and again I wonder why this is: am I completely missing my intended audience? While the blog is all about me, the hit counter is all about you, the reader, and shows me where your interests lie.

If this were a glittering award ceremony, I would be announcing the winners from a golden envelope, in no particular order. However, it isn't, and I am not. Instead, I here are my top 10 blog posts by number of hits (as I write, the total hit counter is 373,416).

(1) Jan Hamilton. The winner, with 10,047 hits. No real surprises here: the former soldier turned reporter has attracted considerable public interest over the last few years, and appears again at number 10 in this countdown.

(2) Jaye Davidson. A close second with 9,635. Again, not a surprise. The ephemeral Jaye Davidson sprang to celebrity in The Crying Game in 1992, playing a beautiful transwoman. After a brief appearance in Stargate, in 1994, he retired completely from acting. Ever since, or so it seems, everyone has been asking: what happened to Jaye Davidson?

(3) Female Bodybuilding comes third with 9,051. This is my first real surprise. I can't really account for why this article has been so popular. I suppose the subject matter must be especially compelling.

(4) Women who Crossdress comes next with 6,008 hits. A fair way behind the top 3, this is another surprise to me. Again, I suppose the subject matter must be interesting. While (1), (2) and (3) are quite close numerically, so are the next four entries.

(5) Leah True, with 5,774. This one doesn't surprise me. Like Jaye Davidson, Leah is beautiful, fascinating, and gone from public gaze. A lot of people looking, and I guess they end up here. I've tried to contact Leah and never managed it.

(6) Men With Long Nails, with 5,457. Again a surprise. Why should this subject be so compelling?

(7) Emma Ballantyne, with 5,423 hits. Scottish Emma has the famous YouTube channel, starrynowhere, which has over a million hits. She also allowed herself to be interviewed by me here, though this post (curiously) has only had 3,288 hits.

(8) Helen Boyd Interview, with 4,741. Helen Boyd needs no introduction at all to anyone even remotely trans. Here she answers my questions. Although she is so famous, she has her own very successful and popular website, which means people don't need to come here to find out her latest.

(9) Gender Variants on Facebook brings in 4,021 hits. This topic was very popular a couple of years ago-- though I notice that they still haven't introduced gender variants in my country. Come on, Facebook! Get with the program!

(10) Abigail Austen has rushed into the top 10, despite being one of my more recent posts. Not a surprise, since her latest documentary, and book launch, have brought her once more into the public eye.

Writing is better with nice nails
When I look at this top 10, I can see two clear patterns. First, celebrities (Abigail, Jaye, Leah, Emma). Between them these four are responsible for a lot of internet traffic; no surprises at all that some of it should find its way here (though my article about Caitlyn Jenner has scored only 408 hits). The second group seems to be articles about the boundary (the sometimes uncomfortable boundary) between male and female: female bodybuilders, female crossdressers, men with long nails. In this theme, I've also written about women with beards, and men in skirts. My article about That Whole Bathroom Thing, another ongoing issue, can be found here.

While we wait for the applause to die down and the speeches to finish, I would like to point your attention to some of my posts from the archives, which I think are deserving of a little more attention than they received at the time. These are in temporal order, starting with the oldest. These are some of my favourite posts. Why not take a look, and maybe even leave a comment?

(1) Lyn Tornabene and the Red Queen was one of my better early posts. Written back in 2012, it has gathered in only 574 hits. In it, I discuss the theme of pretending to be something other than your natural self, and how this relates to my own feelings about crossdressing.

(2) The More Things Change... was also one of my favourite posts from 2012, and has managed only 480 hits. It discusses one of history's most famous crossdressers, Lord Cornbury.

(3) Subfuscation! has scored only 427 hits. It's a whimsical discussion of the clothing restrictions facing students at Oxford University.

(4) My article about Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura has managed only 738 hits, despite featuring Morimura's homages to Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

(5) My article about Alex Reid, a transvestite cage fighter who married a topless model, managed only 861 hits. Are you seriously telling me you don't want to read that one?

The final very interesting hit count is the About Me page, which has scored 9,471 hits, making this page the third most popular overall on the blog. That's very satisfying for me personally. I am always delighted when people email me to say they came across the blog and found it interesting or thought-provoking.

So please keep coming, keep reading, and tell your friends!


  1. Vivienne,

    I am delighted to find this post! I love your writing but I don't have the time to read every single thing. So now you've provided a fun treasure map for us to follow, which I definitely will!


  2. Hi Emma. A "treasure map" is a very flattering phrase. Hope you find something you like!