Over the past 7 decades, gendered software has become globally established. In this theoretical distribution, I outline the evolution of gendered software. The journey of gendered software started with the raw idea fueled by Alan Turing’s imitation game in the 1950s. And only shortly thereafter, in the 1960s and 1970s, the first gendered software products like Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA were developed. Thus, academia took its time to not only explore technological aspects, but to further investigate the matter of gender in the 1990s CASA-paradigm (Nass et al., 1994) and Media Equation (Reeves & Nass, 1996). As these theories reasoned the social impact of gendered software, voice assistants of the 2010s provided to be real-world examples stirring criticism. By posing the question of “boy or girl” through the decades, I take a deeper look at aspects such as raison d’être, realization, consequences, and future possibilities that ultimately challenge the applied gender binary. In doing so, it becomes evident that gendered software is situated in the bigger context of gender inequalities. Therefore, I propose to consider the listing of (1) product name, (2) voice, and (3) personality traits as decisive features forming to be powerful tools in the process of gendering software.



Author ORCID Identifier

Victoria A. E. Kratel: 0000-0003-3296-6558