What Gender Is Computer?
Posted by Ranjan Gunawardana on 3/30/2005

A French teacher was explaining to her class that, in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine:" House" is feminine -"la maison." Pencil," is masculine -"le crayon."

A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?" Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups- male and female - and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for their recommendation. The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"), 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 the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible latter review; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half of your salary on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computer should be masculine ("le computer") because
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they themselves are problems; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

Did the men OR women win?

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