A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. “House” for instance, is feminine: “la casa.” “Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”
A student asked, “What gender is a ‘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 its recommendation.
The men’s group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computadora”), because:
- 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 the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
- And, as soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (“el computador”), because:
- In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
- They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
- They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem;
- And, as soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The women won.