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 were neutral.
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
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
The men, on the other hand, decided that computers should
definitely be referred to as the feminine gender because: 1. No one but
their creator understands their internal logic. 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.