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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Why are boats called "she"?

24 replies

Hullygully · 31/08/2012 16:32


OP posts:
BlueMagoo · 31/08/2012 16:35

No idea. Cars are 'she' too Smile

puds11 · 31/08/2012 16:37

I imagine the car thing follows on from boats, and maybe its because boats were typically sailed by men?

JammySplodger · 31/08/2012 16:38

Dunno, DHs cars have all been blokes though. My one car has been gender neutral.

FuckityFuckFuck · 31/08/2012 16:39

After a quick google, it appears nobody knows for sure. It could be because 'in the Romance languages, the word for "ship" is always in the feminine. For this reason, Mediterranean sailors always referred to their ship as "she", and the practice was adopted over the centuries by their English-speaking counterparts'


'a ship "was nearer and dearer to the sailor than anyone except his mother." What better reason to call his ship "she"?'

However, not all cars a 'she'. My car is Dave :)

JammySplodger · 31/08/2012 16:40

Dave is a good name for a car.

Balderdashandpiffle · 31/08/2012 16:41

I was going to do a joke about containing sea-men, but thought better of it.

Countries are female as well and of course mother earth.

JammySplodger · 31/08/2012 16:43

Are planes too?

witchwithallthetrimmings · 31/08/2012 16:44

but fitf barco (spanish) is masculine as is bateau (french). barca (little boat is feminine

FuckityFuckFuck · 31/08/2012 17:22

I have no idea, just going by Mr Google. I can barely speak english half the time :o

TiggyD · 01/09/2012 09:56

I believe it was also considered back luck to have women on board, so why are ships female? Odd.

TeiTetua · 01/09/2012 21:31

Because they're meant to be under men's control, but in reality they show that they have minds of their own.

honeydragon · 01/09/2012 21:36

My Granda said it is because she carries lives safely to their destination

honeydragon · 01/09/2012 21:37

Erm he was a navy captain btw

LadySybildeChocolate · 01/09/2012 21:39

Arr, ye be wantin' to know this, yarr... Uh... Garr, we be not knowin', ye landlubbers... walks the plank

LadySybildeChocolate · 01/09/2012 21:42
FoodUnit · 01/09/2012 21:59

I think anything men want to own, control or conquer is called 'she'. Lands and countries as well as boats, cars, musical instruments, etc.

Uppercut · 04/09/2012 12:28

"I think anything men want to own, control or conquer is called 'she'. Lands and countries as well as boats, cars, musical instruments, etc."

Doesn't look like it.

ThatWasOneFatAssCatThere · 04/09/2012 16:15

I think it is to justify the weird anthropomorphising men do about their cars and boats. Boats become sexy or loyal and reliable. They'd probably feel weird calling it an it or a he

FoodUnit · 04/09/2012 16:32

"Doesn't look like it."
Confused I thought this thread was about calling boats 'she' in the English language - which is remarkable because the majority of inanimate things are gender neutral. How come you're bringing the word 'fatherland' into it (which doesn't tend to be used for the UK or English speaking countries) and isn't even comparable since its not referring to an object as 'he'?

When people are speaking about history, etc, they refer to countries as 'she' and 'her' like they do about boats.

namechangeguy · 04/09/2012 16:44

FatAssCat - my car is called Claudia (after Ms Schiffer) because she/it is German, a beautiful shape and the perfect age for me Grin

FoodUnit, is your point then that it is only the English-speaking nations that want to conquer or own? Are you not considering other nations or cultures? I thought patriarchy and misogyny were international traits, and would therefore be reflected in all languages?

Snorbs · 04/09/2012 16:49

I believe that Russians refer to ships as "he".

FoodUnit · 04/09/2012 16:59

"FoodUnit, is your point then that it is only the English-speaking nations that want to conquer or own?"

No my point is that in English we don't have gendered pronouns for things that do not have a sex. The exceptions in the English language is what this thread is about.


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GoldShip · 09/09/2012 20:15

So men can refer to then lovingly?

GoldShip · 09/09/2012 20:17

Strangely enough I have this 'thing' where each item I come across has a gender, inanimate objects.

A boat to me is female, a car female, a bike male. It's weird I can't explain it

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