In a new video from NowThis, NowThis producer Foluke Tuakli theorizes that people should stop using the term "guys" to refer to women because it is it ignores "the cognitive impact on women" and "seems lazy, inconsiderate, and a small part of what reinforces the gender hierarchy today." In her effort to be perfectly politically correct, she says that to some people a word like "guys" may "dehumanize them on a macro scale, minimizing his, her, its, their right to respect and equality."
Tuakli begins, "'Guys' is a simple term. It could mean boys; or if you're modern, hip, it means people. At first glance, 'guys' seems inviting, friendly, maybe warm, even comedic at times. But, it, like many default terms, should not be normalized as an all-encompassing phrase, innocent as it may seem. While we may understand the word means no real harm," she acknowledges, "with a deeper look you'll understand that we've been ignoring the cognitive impact on women, as well as gender non-conforming folks by only explicitly addressing the male-identifying individuals present."
Tuakli then turns to the derivation of the word, asserting, "The meaning of 'guys' has changed over time." She refers to a Washington Post article that quoted an etymologist saying the word derived from Guy Fawkes, who joined the failed 1605 failed Gunpowder plot and narrowly escaped being executed on the scaffold by jumping and breaking his neck. She then turns to The Boston Globe, which she says "broadened the term to include creepy people, then to a generic term for men."
Tuakli complains, "For decades, we have set a standard of only addressing the men in the room. Of course we claim it's colloquial, but with our elevated knowledge and inclusive perspective, it just seems lazy, inconsiderate, and a small part of what reinforces the gender hierarchy today … Can we surprised that for decades, women felt uncomfortable asserting their voice when we didnt even take the time to properly acknowledge them?"
She acknowledges that there are more pressing issues for feminists to deal with, such as "reproductive rights, rape culture, violence against women, LGBTQ rights, and the general reprogramming of most people's minds," and then continues, "But when you stop valuing the personhood and visibility of individuals, you make it easier to dehumanize them on a macro scale, minimizing his, her, its, their right to respect and equality."
"I'm sure there's no malintent," she says. "I just want you to know that this is one small step away from making a more conscious effort to dismantle the patriarchy." She adds, "Don’t believe me? Try walking into a room full of cisgender, heterosexual men and triumphantly announce, 'Hey gals,' 'Okay, girls,' 'Thanks, Sis!' I’m sure within ten minutes, if not seconds, at least one person will correct you."
Tuakli concludes, "You can say that all of this is silly or too PC but there are always larger societal implications of language — the way we use it and weaponize it. Face it: the way we do and say things matter. So if you do nothing else, repeat after me: I am powerful."
‘Hey guys’ seems innocuous, but here’s why you might want to try a different greeting pic.twitter.com/3Ep4Nmjf3d— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 9, 2019