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 - even though in English, these words
Puzzled, one student raised his hand and
asked, "What gender is a computer?"
The teacher wasn't certain, so divided the
class into two groups and asked them to decide if a computer
should be masculine or feminine. One group was composed of the
women in the class, and the other, of men. Both groups were
asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.
The group of women concluded that computers
should be referred to in the masculine gender because:
1. In order to get their attention, you have
to turn them on.;
2. They have a lot of data but are still clueless;
3. They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half
the time they _are_ the problem;
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had
waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.
The men, on the other hand, decided that
computers should definitely be referred to as the feminine
1. No one but their creator understands their
2. The native language they use to communicate with other
computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory
for later retrieval;
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself
spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.