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An interesting question - Why are all ships referred to as being feminine?
Why are cars, aircraft and trains not, even though they are, like ships, a form of transportation?
 

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I would disagree-- I have heard plenty of people refer to their cars as "she" (though it does sound a bit naff,especially from old boys re their classics eg "the old gal"), and also re planes.

I have a theory that it's a subliminal "male dominance" thing--taming the sea and the ship and all that-- after all, historically it was almost solely males who sailed "in" (rather than "on"-further goes to prove my point) ships.

Thus endeth the theory; yours, Sigmund Freud!
 

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To be politically correct, ships are no longer 'she'. However, after a lifetime of working with them, it is hard to change the expression.

Sebe (Thumb)
 

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I agree as far as cars are concerned; a subsitute "partner".

But ships used to be objects of true beauty, they had souls.
A constant companion to the mariner. I can see where the
gender came from. Frankly I am sick of all the PC rubbish.
Manhole covers are "manhole covers", not "personel access
covers". It has all gone too far, as much as I agree with
the inertia of non offensive behaviour and language in our
society .... A Ship is She.
 

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Treeve-- agreed re PC-- where will it end. Nothing must be used that may be possibly construed as racist,sexist,religionist,ageist, or even promoting competitiveness/agression --- ad infinitum............

So, a bow "thruster"-- rather aggressive,sexually charged terminology huh?-- perhaps a "sideways motion enhancement device"

a "poop" deck is rather "rude"?

a "crows nest" is derogatory to feathered friends ?

guess any number more-- and God knows what they will rename a "c o c k p i t"!
 

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Soap box

I can rember a time when expressions like gay abandon and even gay lothario were unloaded expressions; language develops, yes, but I am sick of the rapid bastardisation of English, the invented words, the use of English words like "massive" or "awesome" or "fabulous" to describe something which is actually quite trivial. Should we be considering a new version of the song "All the nice buoys love a sailor"? We are losing our individuality, our own geography, our own accents; we are merging into a massive pangaea of Utopian Political Correctness. Are "black eye peas" urination in the street and someone hits you in the face? I remember my grandfather with a twinkle in his eyes, telling me the story of a Polish officer in Britain, trying to learn English, struggling with ewe and you, bough and bow, and bow and tow and tough and bluff and thought .... as he wandered through London, he came across a declaration on the gates of Buckingham Palace - "George pronounced King" - the officer gave up and went back to Poland. The story may be hokum, but it does illustrate that perception is in the beholder not the presenter. Live and let live, I say; just don't mess it up for others. Too much PC only makes the divide all the greater. We are different - Vive la difference!! Even our "Heart of Oak" taken from David Garrick's "Harlequin's Invasion" ( Music by Dr William Boyce ) dated 1759 refers to the taking of Quebec from the French - should we be PC and not sing a song ....
They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.
I simply think that early sailors had such a dependance and love for their ship, that they saw life and sustenance = and felt a closeness to their ship, I am sure they saw this closeness in the same way they felt about their wives, mothers and daughters. So, I repeat, A Ship is She.
 

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Taken from the following (amongst many) web site.........

http://www.shipsoflongago.co.uk/why_is_a_ship_called_she.htm

WHY IS A SHIP CALLED "SHE"?
A ship is called "she" because,
There is always a great deal of bustle around her;
There is usually a gang of men around her;
She has a waist and stays;
Her rigging cost's more than her hull;
It takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good;
It is not the initial expense that breaks you,
It’s the upkeep;
She can be all decked out;
It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly;
And without a man at the helm,
She is absolutely uncontrollable;
She has her topsides, hides her bottom and,
When coming into port,
She always heads for the buoys.

SHIP IS CALLED SHE
We always call a ship a "she" and not without a reason.
For she displays a well-shaped knee regardless of the season.
She scorns the man whose heart is faint and doesn't show him pity.
And like a girl she needs the paint to keep her looking pretty.
For love she'll brace the ocean vast, be she a gig or cruiser.
But if you fail to tie her fast you're almost sure to lose her.
On ships and dames we pin our hopes, we fondle them and dandle them.
And every man must know his ropes or else he cannot handle them.
Be firm with her and she'll behave when skies are dark above you.
And let her take a water wave - praise her, and she'll love you.
That's why a ship must have a mate; she needs a good provider.
A good strong arm to keep her straight, to comfort her and guide her.
For such she'll brace the roughest gales and angry seas that crowd her.
And in a brand new suit of sails no dame looks any prouder.
The ship is like a dame in that she's feminine and swanky;
You'll find the one that's broad and fat is never mean and cranky.
Yes ships are ladylike indeed, for take them altogether
the ones that show a lot of speed can't stand the roughest weather.

Regards......Bill
 

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Not all ships are shes and never were. I refer to the likes of a "man of war", and in my time at least, US merchant ships were usually refered to as a "Yankee man", never did find out why. I am fascinated by all the references above to sailors loving their ship; in my experience the only ship a sailor ever spoke well of was his last one, or perhaps the one before that, certainly not the one they were currently on.
CBoots
 

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cboots said:
Not all ships are shes and never were. I refer to the likes of a "man of war", and in my time at least, US merchant ships were usually refered to as a "Yankee man", never did find out why. I am fascinated by all the references above to sailors loving their ship; in my experience the only ship a sailor ever spoke well of was his last one, or perhaps the one before that, certainly not the one they were currently on.
CBoots
CBoots
A very interesting theory but do you not think its the people that make a ship not the ship itself. Also spending nearly 10 years working for our American Cousins on American flagged vessels the only term I have heard used is SHE. The term Yankee Man seems to come from the war between the North and South, a Military term.Yet after spending the past 36 years at sea still learn something new everyday.
 

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Who hasn't pulled some stupid stunt ashore, bolted back to the ship and scurried up the gangway - safe in the womb, phew! No wonder they call a ship "she".

John T.
 

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Cue Julie Andrews .....
"All I want is a womb, somewhere,
far away from the cold night air ...

Ooh wudnit be luvverly
 

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Another story is of the foreigner walking through theatreland in London saw a Placard saying " Pygmalion pronounced success." ..
I think he fainted.
 
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