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I am NOT a Guy!!

September 7, 2011

This may or may not be the only blog I write about on this particular topic – I’m not making any
promises either way.

One of my ABSOLUTE pet peeves is to be called “a guy.”  My birth certificate verifies the fact that I am, indeed, female. The last time I checked, I was still a female. Never, at any time, have I ever been – nor have I ever wanted to be male. Yet everywhere I go, especially when I am part of a group, people address me as “a guy.” And, I don’t like it.

Addressing a group of mixed gendered people as “guys” or “you guys” is -well – (I’ll be nice)
inaccurate.  For me, besides being irritating, it smacks of sexism. Think about it. If, instead, groups of people were addressed as “gals” or “you gals” do you think men would be comfortable with this salutation?  I think not.  In fact, I have heard men derogatorily address each other as “girls” or “ladies” but I have yet to hear a group of women address each other as “boys” or “gentlemen” – even in jest. BUT, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard all female groups addressed as “guy.”  It doesn’t make sense.

I kept these feelings to myself until about 10 years ago when I heard a talk given by a female
neuroscientist from Maine (important little detail).  Her talk was about the differences between
male and female brains and the impact those differences have on learning styles.  As an aside, she mentioned that she realized that the most “politically correct way to address ANYONE – and
especially a mixed group of people – was to use the plural second person pronoun ‘y’all’.” While the rest of her talk was fascinating – this aside made me want to jump up at that moment and give this woman a standing o! I knew it!! The Yankee professor had confirmed what this Southern girl had known in her heart all along.

So, you’ll never hear me address either a mixed gender group or an all female group as “guys.” Ever. Since that fateful day 10 years ago, I have unabashedly and proudly used y’all whenever appropriate. And, on those occasions when I have been rudely chided for being “so southern” because I use “ya’ll” – I very politely and briefly tell the story about having been given permission to do so by a Yankee neuroscientist  and that I’m only being“gender sensitive.”  That usually shuts them up.

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