Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Guys" isn't an inclusive term

The supposedly non-gendered use of the term "guys" has been bugging me for a long time, ever since I read an article about it in Bitch magazine. Now you all get to feel my pain in an essay titled, Goodbye "You Guys". And it's great.

So when did "you guys" sneak by and then sneak in? I suspect it entered the scene around the time that official titles like "chairman" were being challenged. You can push the provost to change freshman to first-year student or complain to publishers about their use of congressman in text books. But you can't go to court to make your friends stop using "you guys."
I've actually taught Peanut not to use this term, sometimes he forgets, sometimes he corrects my sister while we're all standing in the kitchen. (To which I get a dirty look and a long sigh.)

Charlie and I had a discussion about it once, not so long ago. He's cool and it didn't take him long to get it. In fact, I only had to point out to him that "guys" is used for a group of only men and a group of mixed genders, but we refer to a group of all women as "ladies," "women," "bitches," "gals,"and sometimes "guys."

Nascar Nut, when talking to his two daughters, often uses guys but now looks at me and says, "I know, I know, they're girls, not guys." I'm just happy he understands and is trying.