Vox Writer: Saying "You Guys" to Girls is Like Calling Black People "Negros"

Writing on Vox, Jenée Desmond-Harris has finally been convinced that saying "you guys" is sexist, enforces "male privilege" in culture, and is similar to calling black people "negros."

Saying "guys" is "creeping sexism," according to a Tumblr post Desmond-Harris refers to. Desmond-Harris says that she used to use "guys" very often in the past, but has come to the realization that "guys has got to go."

"Guys" is gendered, Desmond-Harris explains, and that could possibly be alienating to women.
She then quotes Sherryl Kleinman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, who wrote, "Male-based generics are another indicator — and more importantly, a reinforcer — of a system in which "man" in the abstract and men in the flesh are privileged over women."

Desmond-Harris suggests these alternatives: "Friends, Folks, Everyone, Colleagues, Gang, Team, Y'all, Guys and girls."

Surprisingly, Desmond-Harris has no problem with the word "gang," which clearly denotes a criminal element.

In the end Desmond-Harris concludes, "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."


Founder and editor of the Social Memo

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  1. You obviously grew up in a 'privileged' community. The term 'you guys' goes back to the forties and fifties as a generic term to include all the people in a group. The problem now is that people take offense too easily if they are rubbed the wrong way to their lack of education or or upbringing. We all had fun together regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. People of today are in an 'I' world and really don't care about anybody els but themselves. Grow up!!

  2. Wouldn't it be more like calling black people "you crackers"?

    1. yup... as a black man I approve of this message