Inclusive alternatives to “You Guys”
For decades, guys has been used to address a mixed group of men and women. It’s increasingly viewed as a gender neutral plural.
But the singular guy still has a strongly male inflection. Consider that guy, or the Python guy. Do those sound like women? Not likely.
Even today when a group of guys may be entirely female, it still can have a sexist, male-as-default ring to it. From The Boston Globe in 2010:
“You guys” may simply make some women feel overlooked or ignored, especially a single woman in a group being addressed as “you guys.” There’s a sense that even one man would short-circuit any attempt to address a group with “ladies” (except in a sarcastic-coach way), but a group made up of more than half women is easily addressed as “you guys.”
What should I say instead?
There are a lot of options.
Y’all is a fabulous all-purpose pronoun. It’s great even if you’re not a Southerner!
Are y’all going to join youguys.club?
Hey gang works well as a casual option.
Hi folks is a little more formal, but too folksy for some. Everyone sounds great with any audience.
Addressing the group by a label can also help, whether it’s hi team or hey friends.
Hey team, let’s finish those TPS reports.
Make the pledge, join the club
Push yourself to use inclusive language with a little Pavlovian donation!
Press the button to add to the tip jar whenever you accidentally say you guys. When it’s full, click to make a donation to an organization you choose, like the National Organization for Women or Girls Who Code.
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Want to read more?
- How Gender Neutral Is Guys, Really? — Slate
- Survey on when “guys” are gender neutral, by Julia Evans
- Twitter conversation about Julia Evans’s survey
- Is the word “guys” gender-neutral? — Quora
- Why We Should Stop Calling Women ‘Guys’ — Huffington Post
You’re taking away my speech!
Nope, you can use whatever words you want.