Which sex is your computer?
A language instructor was explaining to her class that French nouns,
unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as
masculine or feminine. Things like 'chalk' or 'pencil,' she
described, would have a gender association although in English these
words were neutral.
Puzzled, one student raised his hand and asked, "What gender is a
The teacher wasn't certain which it was, and so divided the class into
two groups and asked them to decide if a computer should be masculine
or feminine. One group was made up of the women in the class, and the
other, of men. Both groups were asked to give four reasons for their
The group of women concluded that computers should be referred to in the
masculine gender because:
The men, on the other hand, decided that computers should definitely be
referred to in the feminine gender because:
- In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
- They have a lot of data but are still clueless.
- They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half the time
they ARE the problem.
- As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had waited a
little longer, you might have had a better model.
- No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
- The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
incomprehensible to everyone else.
- Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later
- As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending
half your paycheck on accessories for it.