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seen Sep 3 at 19:51

Sep
3
awarded  Editor
Sep
3
revised Referring to objects as “she”
Added caveats, exceptions, wiggle-room
Jan
17
awarded  Supporter
May
23
comment Referring to objects as “she”
Of course mine is pure speculation. If you want references, you'll probably be happier in a less crowd-sourced medium. You're welcome to keep the downvote if you so desire. Your own speculation is as worthwhile and welcome as mine. I only relate my own experiences in the matter. Your observation that the objects a not necessarily unknown is valid, hence my frequent use of the weasel-word 'tends'. I agree with your observation about the vacuum cleaner, although I would tend to think in that case the use of "she" would tend to lean toward the pejorative.
May
23
awarded  Teacher
May
23
answered Referring to objects as “she”