I just saw this button in the Computer History Museum, and I'm wondering what is the context?

Is MS DOS a feminist?

Context removed, "Is MS DOS a feminist?" is about the most non-sequitur thing I've seen.

  • 8
    There were lots of tortured jokes on Computerworld buttons. I think they were typically printed up for trade-show handouts. Just type "computerworld buttons" into Google ...
    – dave
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 22:17
  • 6
    "Is MS DOS a feminist?" As a singular question, I do not see how this could possibly be considered a non-sequitur.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 22:21
  • 4
    "Ms. Pac Man" garnered similar comparisons around the same time.
    – Brian H
    Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 14:36
  • 4
    @GlenYates The joke is that the question follows from the name. If you don't get the joke it appears to be a non sequitur.
    – user722
    Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 14:40
  • 4
    My only question is whether Ms. Dos and Dr. Dos are a couple.
    – dave
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


The honorific "Ms." didn't always exist. It was popularized by the feminist movement as an alternative to Miss (woman is not yet married) and Mrs. (woman is married),

But it took feminist activist Sheila Michaels to bring [the "Ms." honorific] into consciousness of the feminists of the 1960s and '70s. Ms: The honorific with unintended meaning

The idea was that a woman's standing shouldn't be related to her marital status. There was even a feminist periodical created by the same name Ms..

There is nothing more to it. "Microsoft" is abbreviated "MS".

This honorific was controversial in the historical period when Microsoft DOS was the main operating system for PCs at that time and when misogynism was a bit more rampant in the world of computing. Many considered it an amusing pun. Others thought it just said something about the wearer. As an artifact of its time it is an appropriate item for a museum that only computer historians might reflect upon.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 10:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .