Some thought this discussion had already been put to bed. Others are still making cases for either side. Should we as a greater society be using the term “guys” to refer to a group of people regardless of gender identity?
For example, Jeff Probst in the 41st season of Survivor asked contestants if he should retire his age-old saying, “Come on in, guys” prior to a competition to “get with the times.” Evvie Jagoda, a queer player, said she didn’t mind Probst still using the term. However, Ricard Foyé, whose husband is transgender, asked Probst at a later time to not use it anymore.
I don’t quite remember if this idea came to my mind before or after the discussion on Survivor, but I decided to run a little poll on social media to gather more input. Surprisingly, LinkedIn seemed to have the greatest turnout with 145 votes. On the other hand, Twitter closed up at just four.
Regardless, some rationales for why they say we should or shouldn’t use the term anymore were quite interesting to review.
My biggest fan on Twitter, Cody, said “it sort of implies that co-ed spaces only value masculinity, or that masculinity is so all-encompassing that it can speak for everyone.”
And Ashe Taylor-Austin said though they have switched to using “y’all” years ago, it may still be a societal problem that “guys” is so commonly used and widely accepted.
“Though it doesn’t bother me, maybe it’s simply because it’s normalized,” they said.
An old classmate of mine, Alexis, said it may just be merely ingrained in our vocabulary.
“As someone who is cisgender female, I don’t think I’ve ever budged at someone grouping me under the term ‘guys’ when with others,” she said. “To me, the term is more general than anything, and not referring to any specific identity. It could easily be replaced with ‘all’ or ‘folks’ but I think it’s something that is stuck in our current slang or language.”
Some others were shorter with their thoughts, like Kat’s “Not a fan, ”Ed’s “I switched to ‘folks’ years ago,” and Alina’s “I like ‘peeps’ for a casual term or ‘everyone.’ :)”
Adryan said they don’t care how they would be addressed but are cognizant of how they refer to others, and Laura held similar sentiments: “I’d prefer people not to use the term ‘guys’ but I’m not really offended when people do, or at least not enough to call anyone out. There were points in [my] transition when it bothered me much more.”
Fred brought up something that I hadn’t thought about either.
“Well in Minnesota, many people use the ‘you guys’ term like they use y’all in Texas.”
Alicia, a post-op trans woman, said she found the term “so old that I forgive anyone that uses it.
“It’s like saying mankind. We know that includes women since even the word women includes the word men.”
Meaghan said something close to Laura’s and Fred’s thoughts as well, noting that she doesn’t have an issue having the word be used in her presence, but it may be just a regional thing.
“It’s a West Coast colloquialism that applies to men, mixed groups, and inanimate objects alike. As a former Oregonian the saying doesn’t personally bother me, but I try to avoid using “you guys” in national or international settings to mitigate the risk of confusion or offense.”
What do you think? Is the term “guys” permanently part of our vernacular, or is it just a Midwestern slang similar to “y’all” or “yous?”