Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Instead Of Saying 'Hi Guys!'... (part 2)

Raise Your Awareness of Gendered Language On The Job and Socially

The things we say matter!

HuffPost 8/2/2020

By: Monica Torres

The problem with “guys” is that it is a “masculine word,” according to Amy Jeffers, an organizational development specialist in diversity, equity and inclusion. There are better alternatives, such as “Hi, everyone” or “Hi, folks” that are not gender-assuming, Jeffers added.

Alternatives to "Hi guys"

  • Hi team
  • Hi crew
  • Hi all
  • Hi folks
  • Hi people
  • hi peeps
  • Hi y'all (southern)
  • Hi everyone  (my personal favorite)
  • Hi pals
  • Hi friends

Sociologist Sherryl Kleinman wrote an essay in the journal Qualitative Sociology against terms such as “you guys” in 2002, pointing out that they reinforce a language that already privileges men. Kleinman cited words such as chairman, postman and freshman as other examples.

This I hate
"What can I get you guys?"

”‘Get over it,’ some people say,” she wrote. “Those words are generic. They apply to everyone. But then how come so-called generics are always male?”

GLSEN, an education organization that advocates for policies designed to protect LGBTQ students and students of marginalized identities, advised defaulting to gender-neutral language such as “friends,” “folks,” “all” or “y’all” rather than “brothers and sisters” or “guys,” “ladies,” “ma’am” or “sir.”

Gendered language creeps into work communication in other insidious ways. Think about how you describe colleagues you don’t know. Do you default to “that guy” or “that woman?” GLSEN’s guide suggested that when you have not been introduced to people and don’t know their pronouns or gender identity, use descriptive language such as, “Can you give this paper to the person across the room with the white T-shirt and short brown hair?”

Using gender-neutral language is not about using “he” or “she” equally but asking yourself, “Why are we using he or she at all? Couldn’t we just be using ‘they’?” Jeffers said.

Read more here:

One way to get proactively better? Practice so that gender-neutral language at work becomes a habit. “The more we lean into gender-neutral language, the less mistakes we make, the less room for assumption, the less awkward moments,” Jeffers said. “Get good at practicing this, regardless of who is in the room, regardless if you know if someone is sensitive to this or not.”

Why You Should Stop Saying 'Hey Guys

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