BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Hey, You Guys!

A while back I came across an article that listed five things (I think it was five) that you should never say at work. Curious, I decided to check it out. IIRC, I'd never heard four of the five spoken at work. I'm saying IIRC because I read this article a couple of weeks ago and moved on, thinking I'd never want to reread it. The problem was that one of those items has been bugging me and now I'm blogging about it. :-)

Anyway, one of the five is what has been gnawing at me. The article said never say "You guys" because it makes your female colleagues feel as if you don't value them or BS like that.

Seriously? Dudes, I'm from Minnesota. Almost everyone uses "you guys" as a plural form of you. There is no sexism involved. In this context, guys has no gender identification. It's no different than saying "youse" or "y'all." It is a plural.

I've heard linguistics talk about this on podcasts. English lost the second person plural and we've been trying to recreate it ever since. Where you live determines which choice you make. For example, Minnesota uses "You Guys." I promise you there is nothing sexist about it. It's not exclusionary in the least, it's just our dialect. (PS: Lots of other areas of the country say you guys too!)

This is the first time I've ever seen someone misunderstand what you guys means in such a blatant manner. I'm a female. If someone addresses a group I'm in as you guys, I don't feel less valued. Hell, I don't even think about it because this is such a natural way of speaking.

Maybe other areas of the country who use a different plural you don't know this? But I think that's wrong. I've moved to the south and the favorite is y'all. Still, no one here seems to misunderstand what I mean when I say you guys. This kind of leaves me thinking that the writer him or herself doesn't like guys as a second person plural and took the opportunity to try and quash it. The problem is this is a dialect. Good luck beating that out of people who learned this from the cradle.