If you’re one of the tens of hundreds out there struggling to figure out a way you can help “dismantle the patriarchy”, the liberal website “NowThis News” has the answers you seek. You can start out by eliminating two simple words from your vocabulary:
It’s true! Before we get to the “Now This” video explainer, let’s find out from this 2018 Atlantic piece why the use of the term “guys” in mixed company is considered exclusionary and disrespectful in woke circles:
“Okay, guys,” a female coworker of mine recently began, as she addressed me and a female colleague. Then she stopped herself, said she was making an effort to use more gender-neutral language, and carried on talking.
It was a small self-correction, and a glimpse at the conflicted feelings stirred up by one of the most common greetings in the English language. Guys is an easygoing way to address a group of people, but to many, it’s a symbol of exclusion—a word with an originally male meaning that is frequently used to refer to people who don’t consider themselves “guys.”
In my reporting I heard from several people who said that the word is particularly troubling for trans and gender-nonconforming people. “As a transgender woman, I consciously began trying to stop using guys some years ago,” says Brad Ward, a college counselor at a high school in Atherton, California. She added, “When I’m included with a group that is called guys, there’s some pain, since it takes me back to my male days in a way that I’d rather not go.”
I also heard that guys could grate on women working at male-heavy companies. In tech in particular, some told me they saw the word as yet another symptom of a female-minimizing industry.
I feel comfortable speaking for most women when I say the vast majority of us do not – I repeat – do not have an issue with someone using this phrase to address women, men, and those who do not conform to either gender type.
But for those who do, the four and a half minute video below is for you.
Narrator Foluké Tuakli starts out by saying “guys” is a simple term whose meaning has evolved over the years, going from “boys” to “people.” She even acknowledges that most people who use the term are not deliberately trying to be offensive. However, it is offensive to some people, she asserts, and the “male default term … should not be normalized as an all-encompassing phrase.”
“We’ve been ignoring the cognitive impact on women as well as gender non-conforming folks,” Tuakli alleges of the term. The two words are “a small part of what reinforces the gender hierarchy today” and we should use other terms that are more inclusive.
The good news according to Tuakli is that you are not a “bad feminist” if you use this term, because there are bigger issues feminists need to address like “the general reprogramming of most people’s minds when it comes to the valuation of women in society” (seriously – she said this). Still, she suggests that by not using “hey, guys” you are taking one small step towards “dismantling the patriarchy.”
‘Hey guys’ seems innocuous, but here’s why you might want to try a different greeting pic.twitter.com/3Ep4Nmjf3d
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 9, 2019
Got it? 😉
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –