This morning I was awake stupidly early and ended up watching a bit of a documentary about an aircraft carrier being sunk and turned into an artificial reef (yes I know, I am a geek). It actually was quite interesting, but there was something about it that was very jarring for me. Whenever the ship was referred to it was as ‘she’. Now I am very familiar with the maritime tradition of ships being ‘female’ not least because for many years I was very into sailing and even owned my own boat. But sitting there watching the programme and constantly hearing ‘she’ when referring to an inanimate object just got on my nerves this time. It kept making me think how women are treated as objects, like it was a reminder of how society sees women. It felt like a big neon sign flashing, saying; look women, we think so little of you as independent human beings that we group you together with chunks of floating metal.
I know this is a tradition. I know. But not all traditions are good ones. Why is it that we maintain this one? Its one thing for some salty sea dogs to refer to ships as ‘she’ while they are floating around the ocean, but why do we still do it on the discovery channel or on the BBC? Cant we just say ‘enough’ with this stupid tradition and start referring to ships as ‘it’ from now on?