Robot Hall of fame

What gender are Ramen noodles?

Most languages have a gender for nouns; in French, a pencil is male, and a pen is female. But the thing is, this isn’t just a quirk of language: People often seem to feel that objects actually have a gender. I once roomed with a women who insisted that toasters were male, for example.

I can’t remember how the hell I got in that particular argument, but now we can settle it once and for all — because Paul Grzymkowski has set up an online project where people can vote on the gender of a particular object. That pack of Ramen noodes? According to the votes so far, 60.62% of people think it’s male. Meanwhile, 45.98% of people think ice pops are female, a sizeable 78.10% of people think a deck of cards is male, and 68.42% felt that disposable paper cups are female.

If you don’t see an object in there you’d like to see classified? Gryzmkowki’s taking suggestions here. Me, I’m wondering about whether a typewriter is a he or a she.

(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson