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.
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.
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.