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View Poll Results: does using "guys" to refer to both males and females offend you?
yes; i find it very offensive 0 0%
no; i do not find it offensive at all 30 88.24%
i'm a male and i find it offensive to women 1 2.94%
i'm a male and i do not find it offensive to women 3 8.82%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Question does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 05:00 AM

in my developmental psych class, my teacher (who is a DIEHARD feminist) was trying to prove how offensive using the word "guys" to address a group of multiple people -- whether all male, all female, or a mix of males and females.

she said whenever a waiter says anything along the lines of, "hey, how are you guys doing today?", "what can i get you guys?", or "what can i start you guys off with?" it's offensive to women.

she attempted to prove this by saying, "will all the GUYS in the classroom please stand up." and of course, all the males in the class stood up, not a single female did.

so, ladies, does this offend you?

i personally don't find it offensive at all, but then again, i'm not a feminist, so perhaps from my point of view i just don't see it.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 05:32 AM

I don't find it offensive at all. I've moved around a lot and in one of the places I lived in, people would commonly refer to a group of people as "guys." I've never felt badly about it. When I moved to another part of the country, people knew where I was from because I had a habit of saying "you guys." Eventually I started saying "y'all" instead like all the locals did.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 05:39 AM

No, it doesn't offend me. In fact, my friend and I were having this discussion only the other week. One of our other flatmates insists on calling us 'girls' and, seeing as I'm 27 and the friend is 29, and it's therefore been quite some time since we were girls, we feel that being addressed in this way is not really appropriate and therefore prefer 'guys'.

I think that anyone who thinks that 'guys' refers only to males is taking things far too literally. I am not surprised your feminist teacher has that view (it is because of people like her that we are now supposed to refer to firemen as 'firefighters' and a postman as a 'postperson'). But her experiment holds little validity because your class knew what she was doing and she was emphasizing the word 'guys'. If she had just walked into the classroom and casually said, "Right guys, could you all stand up please", I'm sure that everyone, male and female, would have stood up.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 08:09 AM

I don't but i know some people do so I try not to use the term all that often. There were a few times I wanted to use that term today while volunteering but I refrained.

Honestly, some people are going to find it offensive and some aren't.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 09:09 AM

I don't get offended but I do see how from a feminist perspective, it would be offensive. I am guilty of addressing groups of people with 'guys' and so are my friends. We had a big group conversation on facebook and there was only one male, the rest were females. Yet whenever we asked the group something we would say 'Hey guys...' 'Do any of you guys know...'


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 09:46 AM

It doesn't offend me at all. In most contexts I interpret it as a general, gender-neutral term for "people". For example when greeting a group of people I know, I'd be just as likely to say "Hi guys" as I would be to say "Hi friends" or "Hi people". I also call people "dude" or "mate" regardless of gender. Besides, there isn't really an appropriate totally gender-neutral term for the examples you listed: "How are you folks doing?", "Can I get you people anything?", "What can I do for you guys and girls?" just don't seem right (especially the last one, because then you get into issues of non-binary gender and how to address that). The only really suitable thing I can come up with is just not using any word: "How are you?", "What can I get you?". But that doesn't seem quite as friendly, somehow.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 10:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Static Wolfie. View Post
It doesn't offend me at all. In most contexts I interpret it as a general, gender-neutral term for "people". For example when greeting a group of people I know, I'd be just as likely to say "Hi guys" as I would be to say "Hi friends" or "Hi people". I also call people "dude" or "mate" regardless of gender. Besides, there isn't really an appropriate totally gender-neutral term for the examples you listed: "How are you folks doing?", "Can I get you people anything?", "What can I do for you guys and girls?" just don't seem right (especially the last one, because then you get into issues of non-binary gender and how to address that). The only really suitable thing I can come up with is just not using any word: "How are you?", "What can I get you?". But that doesn't seem quite as friendly, somehow.
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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 12:10 PM

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Originally Posted by IH8U2 View Post
I disagree.
Would you mind elaborating on what exactly you disagree with, and why?


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 01:03 PM

I usually say, "guys" but in another context with my work I refer those who I work with or address them as, "Ladies" because we're all ladies. Reason why I refer them to Ladies is there isn't any males. When talking about men I say, "gentleman," or "he" if I am referring to just one male. My work life.

My private life, I sometimes say, "so, hey," or "hey guys," or if it's just one friend I call them by their name, or if it's two. Also, I tend to say, "guys" more often when I am trying to get their attention so they listen.

I am learning better ways to replace, "guys" and I am more aware of it now then I did before. I feel "guys" seems like a very used word. I refer males by gentleman these days. My female friends, I'm not the type to say, "hey girls" it doesn't fit with my personality, so I tend to call upon their name.

I'm becoming more and more respectful toward others and saying, Ladies, Gentleman, etc., than anything.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 02:32 PM

Absolutely not! It's a general term, it has nothing to do with gender when it's used in a broader context to address a group of people. I call girls 'dude' sometimes when I'm talking to them, it doesn't mean I'm referring to them as a male, it's just a word I use for friends occasionally.

That's almost as bad as one of my old teachers saying history was offensive because it was HIS STORY and therefore was male orientated.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 03:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Static Wolfie. View Post


Would you mind elaborating on what exactly you disagree with, and why?
"Folks" and "people" are 100% gender-neutral.
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 03:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IH8U2 View Post
"Folks" and "people" are 100% gender-neutral.
True, but that doesn't necessarily make them appropriate as replacements. For example where I live the word "folks" is very rarely used, so it seems a bit excessive to bring it into common usage simply because of a term that may or may not actually be offensive. "People" carries its own connotations, and it's definitely not as friendly as "guys", at least in my opinion. It also doesn't solve the issue of addressing a group of friends and similar situations. While "folks" or "people" or something like that may work in, say, a restaurant setting, it doesn't seem as casual to greet your friends with either of those words. So while there are some gender-neutral words that could be substituted in, they aren't exactly equal and may not have quite the same effect.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 03:46 PM

No, she just sounds like one of those silly feminists who want to find an offense in everything-ignore her.
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 03:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IH8U2 View Post
"Folks" and "people" are 100% gender-neutral.
Yes however I've known people to get offended by "people" because it leaves out individuals who identify as something other than a person. Basically, no matter what term is used someone is bound to get offended. I'm personally totally okay with "guys" and use it myself. That said, if someone I'm friends with tells me they aren't okay with it then I'll try to refrain from using it with them. Same goes for bro or dude, which I use regardless of gender.



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Re: does this offend you? - April 8th 2016, 10:30 PM

It's not offensive to me and I grew up using it that way, but because I've been a health educator for as long as I have in spaces educating many women and gender non-conforming people, I no longer use guys in this context. I know that for some, it's offensive, exclusive, and some cultures don't prefer the term (for example, in a class I had, we had students that believed asking "what do you guys think?" meant we were directing the question towards the men, so we avoided confusion by saying "what do you all think?").

I've moved to say folks, you all, everyone, or even y'all (I'm down to sound like I'm from the south, everyone in Michigan thinks I am anyway because they don't know geography ). It's not that hard of a change. Using "guys" isn't a salient part of my identity that by forcing me to use some other word I'm incredibly offended? I'd rather just avoid hurting others' feelings and say something else.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 9th 2016, 02:32 AM

I do not find it offensive, mainly because it's just the easiest thing to use instead of trying to list every single gender out there, guys can just be used a gender neutral title. Unless you were specifically saying 'guys and girls', which would be using guys as males, most people don't mean it as just the males.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 9th 2016, 03:37 AM

I just took a women's studies class, and we talked about this. To them, it isn't exactly offensive, but kind of like a micro-aggression that props up patriarchy. Other words work into that idea too, like "mankind". The concept they were getting across to me is the concept that we normalized prioritizing one sex over the other for so long.
You can use your own judgement on that part.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 9th 2016, 06:10 AM

I don't find it offensive at all either.

I use the term as well.


   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 9th 2016, 05:45 PM

I don't find using "guys" for the female population to be offensive.
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 10th 2016, 05:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Painted_Black View Post
in my developmental psych class, my teacher (who is a DIEHARD feminist) was trying to prove how offensive using the word "guys" to address a group of multiple people -- whether all male, all female, or a mix of males and females.

she said whenever a waiter says anything along the lines of, "hey, how are you guys doing today?", "what can i get you guys?", or "what can i start you guys off with?" it's offensive to women.

she attempted to prove this by saying, "will all the GUYS in the classroom please stand up." and of course, all the males in the class stood up, not a single female did.

so, ladies, does this offend you?

i personally don't find it offensive at all, but then again, i'm not a feminist, so perhaps from my point of view i just don't see it.
If I was in a mixed group, and someone called us "girls"... I suppose I'd feel awkward about it. So I can understand why some females might get agitated about getting called "guys".

But it is also cultural, and a matter of what people get used to. Taking things too literally and getting agitated over it is simply a waste. A waste of resources, energy, time and effort fighting a problem which doesn't exist. A problem created mostly to propagate a political movement: 3rd wave feminism.

Your teacher asserting her opinion as a fact,
that it is "offensive" to call a group of people "guys", is offensive and arrogant by itself. It is up to individual people, what precisely they find offensive or not. It's not her fking job to drum it into people's heads instead, and "teach" them what is or isn't offensive.

At best, she could point out that some people find it offensive, instead of up-front saying that it is offensive, implying that it is indiscriminately offensive to everyone... because all the replies above simply disprove that entirely. Most people actually don't find it offensive at all, fact.

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Re: does this offend you? - April 10th 2016, 07:27 PM

I kind of use it as a gender-neutral term and do not get offended by it. However, I would understand if someone who is not cisgender does not want me using that term, and I would do my best to not. Like Traci, I also will be a health educator someday and I am pretty much studying it now, so I know that it is important for me to practice using other terms.


   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 10th 2016, 10:18 PM

As a linguistics major with a particular interest in sociolinguistics, I can't help but think a bit outside the box on this. Your teacher's idea seems very focused on the English language, and I'd wonder how she'd consider this problem applied to languages other than English.

For a fairly easy example, take French. There are two sets of pronouns one uses when talking in the third-person plural (they), the masculine form ils and the feminine form elles. Obviously, if you're talking about a group of males, you say "ils", and if you're talking about a group of females, you say "elles". However, if the group is neither completely male or completely female, you always use "ils". Would your teacher consider that problematic also?
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 10th 2016, 11:17 PM

i'm so glad for the responses this thread has been getting. i must admit, i was partially terrified of being bOMBARDED with other extreme feminists who find the term offensive and.. yeah.
just gotta say thanks for the great replies, guys.

yeah, after she gave her little speech on why "guys" is offensive, she had us get into groups and brainstorm other things we could say instead of using guys.
some ideas my group came up with was... (mostly from the perspective of waiter/waitress.)
"how's everyone doing today?"
"how are we all doing?"
"what can i get us today?"
"hi folks, what can i get you?"
so for all of you who are trying to get to use other terms, there are those. i just find they don't come as naturally as "guys" does, so i'm certainly not going to stop using it.. along with calling my friends of both genders "bro" "dude" "man" etc.

also, in response to kiera, you have a very good point there!!
honestly, i have no doubt that she'd get offended over that too. which is really sad.
i was actually thinking of something similar after she said that... in spanish, if i can remember the 9th grade correctly, you use "ninas" to address a group of female children , and "ninos" to address a group of male children. but you also use "ninos" to address a group of mixed children -- boys and girls. even if there's just one boy in a group of girls, you would still use ninos because the one boy in the crowd makes the word become the "masculine form".

just to show the extent of her easily-offended point of view, she says that the way we describe the act of sex to children ("the sperm are the little "swimmers" RACING to get to the egg, and whoever beats the others out WINS! and he's the strongest and the fastest one because he got to her first!!") is sexist, because it says the sperm is what has to work hard to get to the egg, while the egg just sits around and waits, like a damsel in distress, for the sperm to get to it. she then went on to explain how it's actually the opposite and that the female body does most of the work in the fertilization process.
but still... just..... what.. ?? there's a difference between getting offended and between ACTIVELY SEEKING OUT THINGS TO GET OFFENDED BY.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 11th 2016, 04:54 AM

If I said "hey ladies" to a group of guys, on the other hand...


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Re: does this offend you? - April 13th 2016, 12:23 AM

I'll admit, growing up I was in an all girls school and we were called "yiladot" (girls feminine, plural in Hebrew). My relatives called my sisters and I "The Girls" and I really took things literally. I even got upset that someone told me "why are you mad?" And I responded "I'm not mad! mad means crazy." I later learned that the word mad has more than one meaning and that helped me not get offended easily next time. The word "guys" and "bro" was similar. At first I was like hey, I'mnot a guy. (At the time I was also being bullied for"looking like a boy" so I felt I had to make it clear I wasn't a boy to everyone around me) but then I started preferring "guys" so much more than "the girls"
Eventually I started using the phrase "you guys" a lot as a gender neutral term. Yeah Kiera, I took socioloinguistics course last semester and you make an interesting point. I am familiar with (not quite fluent) 4 languages besides English, all of which have noun modification based on gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular plural) an all of them have the rule of going with masculine plural if there is mixed gender. From a discussion standpoint I can see how this is problematic but personally I don't think this should be at the forefront of feminist movement agenda because quite frankly there are women in much greater need. The gesture is nice but it is not like woah such a crime. However, I do agree about making a space safe for everyone in a professional setting and being mindful of word choice and how language affects students' experiences.
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 20th 2016, 02:57 AM

I don't get offended by it. I don't care to argue about every little thing and label it as "sexist". That being said, I've noticed that it almost seems as if people are ashamed to call themselves feminists because of the over the top beliefs that some of them hold dearly. Not every feminist is like that. And not every feminist has the same beliefs about equality. Some care just about the key issues, others tend to care more like pronouns and such. I honestly don't think its offensive because its not like saying, "Oh I'm only going to ask what the men would like to eat, and you can have the scraps because you're a woman." I just appreciate, "Oh hey, call me dude, I don't care, you acknowledge that everyone here exists and deserves to be treated with respect." You have to pick and choose your battles and I honestly think people shouldn't waste their time getting upset over every little thing.


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Re: does this offend you? - April 21st 2016, 05:49 AM

I don't find it offensive but it is slang.
   
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Re: does this offend you? - April 21st 2016, 08:42 AM

No it does not offend me I use guys all the time. No one I have used it with has ever taken offense to me calling them guys. Guys is word that in my town is used to address a group of people like 'hey guys' or just in general if we are talking about a group of people we will be like 'oh im just gona hang with those guys today' no one in this town has ever taken offence at the word guys.



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