Everyone got that. This is my response to being included in the phrase “you guys” or it’s use at all in mixed company. “Oh, don’t be so sensitive Stephie, it’s not meant to misgender anyone, it is just a common phrase you use to address a group.” Well, I will, hopefully, explain way I am not being sensitive, or should be seen in that way in this case.
This is not something personal (well it is still that) as when someone misgenders me alone by calling me a “guy;” It is about sexism. “What?” People say this phrase without having any intention of being sexist, it is just a common phrase in use for generations, I have heard in response to my pointing out that I am not a guy. “What?” I hear again, “everyone uses it both women and men.”
People do think there is nothing wrong with it. This is true for both men and women. I know, and that is what makes it so insidious. Yes, insidious, it lays in waiting, keeping women in the dark and unrecognized in social situations.
“Oh, come on Stephie, your making a mountain out of a mole hill.” If you think this is true, think about how “man” was used as a universal signifier for humankind. This not only left women out socially, but literally they were missing from written and verbal communication. It is hard to be recognized when you are never mentioned.
With the advent of feminism this was eventually challenged. Mainly, in academia at first. But, the early feminists would not be silent, so their objections were spoken out loud to the public, and they put pen to paper as well. It became more and more common to use either human beings or women and men together, and separately when not meant to be spoken or written to a mixed audience. Now, except for the bigoted, the ignorant, or, even more pernicious, those that seek to hold on to patriarchy, which is still alive and well.
This post is not about patriarchies ill influences on today’s society. Granted, with a somewhat less of a hold. It is about the social negation of women. While there has been major inroads to the fight against using “man” as a universal, I have not heard anyone, but myself, speak out about the misuse of “you guys,” spoken to mix company.
Do you see my point now, and why I am uppity about this issue? I hope to at least gotten you to think about the issue. Okay, it is not like a major issue, like say the unequal pay of men over women. But, that is no reason to belittle it, or dismiss it as a minor issue. No valid point should be dismissed. And, I believe I make a valid point, and will continue to speak up, and at the very least, announce, “I am not guy.” Got it, I hope so.
You don’t think this is offensive to me. What if I used “gals” referring to a grouping that has at least one guy in it? I bet that most likely that the guy or guys would be indignant. I have a sense that most men would find this problematic, yet think by using “guys,” you have not disrespected the women you maybe speaking to, where you yourself would think that you have been disrespected, if included in someone saying “you gals.”
If need be, use “gals and guys,” or some other form of inclusive language. I bet it would not be hard to find a substitute, but I will leave it to you dear reader, like a pedantic writer saying it in a book, absent the “dear.” Why did I include it? Because I felt like it. Because if this post does anything to change your mind and your language I would consider you a dear reader.
Still don’t get it? What, do I have to get even more uppity. I don’t like being driven towards bitchhood. If you have gotten it, I offer you a big thank you.
I wrote above that as far as I know I have not heard anyone else object to this usage of guys. Would you care to join me? I thank you if you do.
[Note – You might have notice I have not mentioned my transgender status as a woman. That is because this is not about being a transgender woman, but simply about being a woman period. Oh, yes I am a woman I say to the naysayers. Don’t accept that fact, walk a mile in my heels. Still don’t, well now I am getting bitchy.]