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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Listen up, guys

Oh, brother. Or perhaps that should be oh, person. "You guys" is now on the "stop saying it, it's creeping sexism and offensive" list:

You can think of the push to drop “guys” as political correctness run amok, or you can think of it as making a tiny change that doesn’t cost you anything and will keep you from being a jerk to half the population — and help you make the world just a tiny bit more fair.

That doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy: I’ve probably typed and deleted “you guys” (it turns out I loved to begin tweets and Facebook posts this way) about 15 times since I decided to write this piece a couple of weeks ago. But I’m going to keep working on it.

If you get a jump on changing now, you can avoid being like your grandfather who is still saying “negro” because he doesn’t mean anything by it and that’s what they used to say in his day and he doesn’t see the point of evolving. Don’t get left behind, y’all/friends/everyone/folks.

That's when it's used to address a mixed-gender group, of course. Apparently, if we're talking to a group of actualy, you know, guys, it's still OK to say "you guys."

This is pretty much getting the universal scorn it deserves. This, for example:  "Boy howdy, what a mess that is. You almost need a how-to-read-SJW-garbage manual just to get through it."And this:

It’s worth noting the decadence of the feminist/equality movement over the past decades, though. In the 1960s and 1970s, the argument for equal treatment was that women were tough enough to compete equally in the workplace and education environments, and that they weren’t demanding special treatment. That has morphed into an argument that women can’t handle innocuous but “gendered” slang or other petty “microaggressions” and “triggers.” The social-justice warriors seem to be talking themselves right back to the previous era of paternalized protection for the “weaker” sex, shielding the delicate flowers for their own good from the tough world of men. Maybe those guys should get new leadership.

The article was in Vox, so there is a natural suspicion that they published this just to be provocative and get a lot of clicks. But I don't doubt the guy's loony sincerity.

On a personal note, I never heard "you guys" until we moved to Indiana from Kentucky when I was 12. My classmates used it not only for mixed-gender groups but even groups of women. It was sort of an all-purpose greeting that, once I got used to it, felt quite comfortable aind informally friendly. I assumed at first it was a Hoosierism but soon learned it was all over the place, having failed to catch on in our little corner of Appalachia.

Let's let Ann Althouse have the last word, since she seems to be one of the few who find some merit in the "you guys" complaint:

Now, consider that the female term that corresponds to "guy" is "doll." If you can't imagine addressing a mixed group as "guys and dolls," maybe you shouldn't say "guys." You wouldn't address a mixed group as just "gentlemen."  Inclusiveness may sound distressingly new, but it's actually old. You'd know you'd need to say "ladies and gentlemen." So you should have to say "guys and dolls." But you're not going to do that.

Nah. In the first place, the female equivalent of "guy" is "gal," not "doll," and I certainly can imagine addressing a mixed group as "guys and gals." Besides, she's not taking into account the colloquial genderlessness of the expression.

OK, so I didn't give her the last word.