One notable exception has been Germany, where BMW was forced to recall a female-voiced navigation system on its 5 Series cars in the late 1990s after being flooded with calls from German men saying they refused to take directions from a woman. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on why the company gave Siri a female voice in the U.S. Nor would she say why Siri speaks like a man in the UK, where iPhone 4S owners have swarmed online forums to request a female voice instead.
Until then, some bloggers have wondered: Are computerized female "assistants" sexist? Not necessarily, said Rebecca Zorach, director of the Social Media Project at the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. "What's interesting to me is how they seem to intentionally make her speech sound artificial — they could choose to make her speech more seamless and human-like, but they choose instead to highlight the technology," she said. "That makes you aware of how high-tech your gadget is."