Why You Should Stop Saying 'Hey Guys' | Opinions | NowThis

Why You Should Stop Saying 'Hey Guys' | Opinions | NowThis

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‘Hey guys’ — it might be time to retire this dated greeting from your vocabulary.
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Foluké Tuakli: 'If you’re like most Americans, you use “guys” as a gender-neutral pronoun, a generally accepted vocative used to address mixed-gendered audiences.

At first glance, “guys” seems inviting, friendly, maybe warm, even comedic at times. But, it, like many male default terms should not be normalized as an all-encompassing phrase - innocent as it may seem.

While we connotatively understand the word means no harm, with a deeper look you’ll understand that we’ve been ignoring the cognitive impact on women as well as gender nonconforming folks by only explicitly addressing the male-identifying individuals present.

The term “guys” meaning has changed over time. Etymologists believe it began In the 17th century with a man named Guy Fawkes, a participant in the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot, according to the Washington Post. He only barely escaped a brutal execution by jumping off a scaffold and breaking his neck. For the next few centuries, those who likened him in fashion or appearance were referred to as “guys”. Eventually, according to the Boston Globe, the term broadened to describe creepy people, then to a generic term for men, and now a “gender-neutral phrase”.

For decades, we have long set a standard of only addressing men in a room. Of course, we claim it’s colloquial, but with our elevated knowledge and inclusive perspective it now just seems lazy, inconsiderate, and a small part of what reinforces the gender hierarchy today.

I personally hate it. How is one to feel emboldened to speak or assert themselves when upon greeting they are misgendered or ignored in language? Can we be surprised that for decades women, as a general population, often feel uncomfortable asserting their voice when we don’t even take the time to properly address them?

These linguistic tendencies were developed and reinforced in eras where women were barely meant to be seen and not heard.

I cannot speak for all women or all people when I express my discontent with this popular tick. However, this normalized term does not serve its apparent purpose and I think it's time to scrap it.

Please note, you’re not a bad feminist if you’re comfortable with or use the phrase “guys” - yes, there are larger issues, that we the feminists, need to combat - reproductive rights, rape culture, violence against women, LGBTQ+ rights, and the general reprogramming of most people’s mind when it comes to valuation of women in society.

But, when you stop valuing the personhood and visibility of individuals - you make it easier to dehumanize them on a macro scale, minimizing his, her, its, their right to respect and equality.

Keep in mind, I’m not offended per say if someone lumps me in with the guys -- I’m sure there’s no mal intent. In fact, if you and your friends want to freely address each other as such - by all means… I just want you to know you are one small step away from making a more conscious effort to dismantle patriarchy.

Don’t believe me? Try walking into a room full of cisgender heterosexual men and triumphantly announce, “hey gals!” “okay, gals””thanks sis”. I’m sure within 10 minutes (if not seconds) at least one person will correct you. So, I say to you, why can we, women, gender non conforming and everyone who doesnt fit under a “guy” umbrella be equally entitled to their preferred pronouns and identifiers?

We should ALL be as protective of our gender identities as cisgender heterosexual men - we deserve it!

So what can you do?

Substitute one “hey guys” with a simple “good morning everyone” or everybody’s favorite “hi y’all”. Find ways to use people’s names or every address folks with a collaborative “Welcome team!”'

#Gender #Sexism #Words #News #NowThis #NowThisNews

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