Using "boys" to speak to everyone really needs to stop, and this is why.

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,117
Thread has derailed my life... I want to actually have some down time tonight too. Leaving the thread for now, please read through if you have any questions as I may have already answered them.

If not, please feel free to PM me with anything. I will not be working back on replies ITT later.

PLEASE ALSO READ
Threadmarks - top right of the thread. I'll add posts that I think are reverent/answer a lot of common questions.
Quoted posts under my OT - for posts I think deserve a lot more exposure, I'll both TM and add below.

Thank you all for reading!

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Okay, let me start by saying I'm non-binary. All my life I've struggled with my gender identity, being told I have to conform to the standard when I felt like something else. I know many others like myself too, and while, personally, mis-gendering doesn't harm me, I know it harms others, make them feel like their existence is being denied. It's harmful, it shouldn't happen.

And the "boys club" issues of gaming is something that's still not resolved despite making some good progress in the industry.

Girls/Women, non-binary, gender fluid people play games. They're not boys. The word boys doesn't cover them and feels as though you're excluding them immediately.

I just asked a person to not use the word in a discord chat. They told me they were using the word "boys" to speak to everyone, that to them "boys" means "all". When I explained why I would prefer it if they didn't, they told me "sure, but I'm rolling my eyes pretty hard".

Boys doesn't mean "all". Even if to you it does. And it has the immediate affect of being an excluding term. And this is before we get to the conversation about words that are used to describe male humans become so prominent that they eventually get absorbed into public consciousness to cover everyone (see: guys). Let me say, I'm personally fine with the word guys (in that I've accepted it will never change), but some are not. I try to avoid it for that reason. But this is about the word "boys".

Boys doesn't meant girls.
Boys doesn't mean non-binary.
Boys doesn't mean gender-fluid.
Etc...

"let's go boys!"
"Where we landing boys?"
"you boys ready?"

Terms like these are all over the gaming side, even in topic titles.

I can't speak for all of these folk, but for myself I've spent my entire life feeling ashamed of my identity because, whenever I brought it up in conversion growing up, it was met with mockery or hostility. Even many of my friends who were understanding of it overall still made fun of it.

Even to this day I don't correct certain members of my family or people I meet because the battle exhausts me and I know many people will react in a hostile way. Hell, I know people will read this plea and do everything from roll their eyes to condemn me for being a mentally ill snowflake, but whatever, it needs to be said.

Please, when speaking to ALL, don't use BOYS. For some of us it feels like a stab in the gut every time, not just for ourselves but for the many people this kind of exclusivity harms.

It doesn't take much for you to think about this and correct the use of a word, but it could go a long way to making many of us feel welcome.

Thanks for considering.

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HIGHLIGHTED POSTS

Intent Vs Impact

You're thinking about this in terms of intention instead of impact.

People say and do all kinds of things and not intend to hurt someone else. That doesn't mean they don't. Probably in your lifetime you have known people who used homophobic language or derogatory terms for differently-abled people to describe things they don't like. But people have largely stopped using language like this because, regardless of how it is intended, it has a negative impact on the people around them. We now have a different and healthier expectation from others as a result.

The request in this thread is not as severe of a case. This situation is more about courtesy, visibility, and respect. But it's the same idea that people use language they are accustomed without always thinking about how it is perceived. You probably don't mean to be disrespectful. You probably don't mean to exclude women or non-binary people from your conversation. But this is often a side-effect of the language you use whether you intend it to or not.

So if you don't want to do that, why not make the small, free change to make sure you don't?


I'll give you another example that may be more relatable. I used to work with a guy whose older brother was very popular. Everybody called the older brother "Mappy." When the younger brother started getting older and making friends, everybody called him "Mappy Jr". People meant this as a lighthearted joke about him being a popular guy's little brother. But he really hated this nickname because it put him in his older brother's shadow at all times. People wouldn't see him or greet him without implicitly acknowledging that he was somebody else's sibling. It made him feel like people didn't care about who he was, or what he liked, because everybody liked his brother more. He asked people to stop calling him that after a few years, and people felt bad, so they stopped.

What you say and what you do has consequences you may not intend. Something that feels normal and harmless to you might be disrespectful to somebody else. Chances are if someone you knew and liked asked you to stop calling them something, you would. It's not hard to show that same courtesy to others too. You lose nothing by doing it, so why wouldn't you?
But it's only 1% of people, why do the 99" need to change?

I unfortunately don’t have a lot of time so I just want to hone in on this part specifically. This isn’t to say the rest of your post doesn’t matter. Normally I prefer not to selectively quote but I hope you’ll forgive me in the interest of time.

I think that this mathematical approach to compassion is self-defeating. Somebody shouldn’t have to be a majority (or near-majority) population for their feelings to matter.

Consider how many places you go to with handicap accessible parking spaces, bathrooms, and access ramps. These accommodations make it so people with difficulty walking can go to the same places you can, feel welcome in their own society, and not be rendered invisible by those without disabilities. This ensures the 30.6 million Americans with permanent mobility disabilities are able to live more comfortably alongside everyone else. These are all good things, no?

These 30.6 million people in wheelchairs or with walkers matter. They have worth and feelings and value. They also make up less than 1% of the United States. (EDIT: I missed a decimal point here. It is 10%, not 1%. This is my error. I believe the intent of this passage is still clear, however.)

So if we let statistics decide how compassionate we are or aren’t, we would decide these people don’t matter. We would decide it’s not worth it to make minor concessions to accommodate them. We would decide it wasn’t fair for the other 99% of the population to have to give up some parking spaces or use a ramp instead of steps.

Motivation to be kind and respectful to others shouldn’t be extrinsic. You shouldn’t seek external justification to be considerate. It’s a personal decision you have to make for yourself.

I think accepting other people for who they are and how they want to be seen and addressed has innate value that doesn’t need to be rationalized. Using ungendered language is a free, easy thing you can do to be kind and respectful to other people. It contributes to an environment where male identity is not the societal default and benefits gender equality. It supports self-expression and recognition of identity. It lets the people who care about these things know you see them and you think their feelings matter.

Maybe for you it feels foreign and strange at first to have to say “everyone” or “folks” instead or “you guys.” But think of how foreign and strange gendered language can make some people feel all the time. If you could do something to change that, why wouldn’t you?
 
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OP
astro

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,117
I did, and it keeps happening. I think it's important to talk about.
 
Apr 12, 2018
1,035
I'm definitely guilty of using "guys" as a gender-neutral catchall even when it's technically gendered.

"Boys" sounds fuckin weird to me, though. In any context.
 

Shao Kahn

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
7,488
Outworld
I did, and it keeps happening. I think it's important to talk about.
Honestly, it will never stop.

"Boys" and "guys" is common phrases in vocabulary. "Thank you guys" or "hey guys" doesn't mean I'm discriminating against you, neither does "thanks boys". Embarrassingly used "guys" with group of female friends or coworkers way too often.

I'll start calling everyone toys.

"Where we landing, toys?!"
 

Aurc

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,823
To be honest, I've briefly considered whether or not "boys" would be applicable in a group context. It's somewhat awkward in that it's not as widely used to refer to everyone as "guys" would be, for instance. How do you feel about "guys", for that matter?
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,068
I empathize with this. I use “guys” as a gender neutral term all the time, but I understand how upsetting it can be for GNC folk.
 

SheriffMcDuck

Member
Oct 27, 2017
254
I'm definitely guilty of using "guys" as a gender-neutral catchall even when it's technically gendered.

"Boys" sounds fuckin weird to me, though. In any context.
I'm with this. I'm from the Midwest so guys is any group of people to me.

I've never heard a complaint though, probably because all of the girls I know say it too.

Edit: I will try to do better/say something else, I think saying "humans" would be a fun alternative.
 

hikarutilmitt

Member
Dec 16, 2017
2,368
I've been using the term "folks" for... hell, I can't even remember, at least middle or high school. That's more than 20 years ago. It made more sense because sometimes the group did include more than just boys and I wouldn't want to single anyone out or exclude anyone.
 
OP
OP
astro

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,117
To be honest, I've briefly considered whether or not "boys" would be applicable in a group context. It's somewhat awkward in that it's not as widely used to refer to everyone as "guys" would be, for instance. How do you feel about "guys", for that matter?
Guys doesn't bother me, I know it bothers some people but I'm fine with it.

Boys on the other hand, it's fully exclusive.


Honestly, it will never stop.

"Boys" and "guys" is common phrases in vocabulary. "Thanks guys" doesn't mean I'm discriminating against you, neither does "thanks boys".

I'll start calling everyone toys.

"Where we landing, toys?!"
You might not be overtly, but you are being exclusive.

The word boys has that effect whether you meant it or not.
 
Nov 3, 2017
3,253
I can't speak for all of these folk
Well which is it?

I'm sorry you feel this way and that your friends mock you about it, if it makes you this uncomfortable they should definitely stop but I know numerous people who are more than happy to and if they girls'd it I wouldn't care, I mean I'd totally laugh at first cause it hasn't been normalized like boys but I wouldn't care, it's just a quick way to refer to the people you're talking to

And we're partial to fellas over here
 

Smash Kirby

Member
Nov 7, 2017
1,875
Would meatbag be a good term?/s

I think guys can be used a gender neutral term, so it makes sense why people would be upset by it. I try to refer to people individually when I can when I'm in person with people.
 

higemaru

Member
Nov 30, 2017
1,284
I use “guys” and “dude” as a catch-all often and I’ve always wondered what non cis-het people thought about that. Women say “guys” pretty casually too in my experience but once again, still cis-het.

What would you prefer? Everybody sounds too clunky/like I’m doing an anime speech imo. I think co-opting “guys” to just be a catch-all for humans would be nice just because I think it rolls off the tongue nicely, it’s a good transition word.
 

GuitarGuruu

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,633
I hear you but what do you propose as an alternative? Let's go everyone! Let's go alI!

I also dont think people who are saying this are doing so maliciously.
 

GlitchyDegree

The Fallen
Dec 4, 2017
374
Agreed. I've always found it weird that people used terms like "guys" or "boys" in this case to describe everyone.
 
OP
OP
astro

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,117
Well which is it?

I'm sorry you feel this way and that your friends mock you about it, if it makes you this uncomfortable they should definitely stop but I know numerous people who are more than happy to and if they girls'd it I wouldn't care, I mean I'd totally laugh at first cause it hasn't been normalized like boys but I wouldn't care, it's just a quick way to refer to the people you're talking to

And we're partial to fellas over here
I can't speak for ALL.

SOME of us (ie me and whose opinions I am informed about)
 

LavaBadger

Member
Nov 14, 2017
1,287
I use "folks" or "all" often as possible and I still make mistakes about this sometimes.

It's something we should all make an effort to do though. It costs you nothing and might mean a lot to others.

Where we dropping folks?
Was the first thing I thought of, an honestly, it sounds good when I imagine it said in game.
 

Kadin

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,857
US, California
What about the term 'guys'? "Hey guys, how is everyone doing today?", etc. I'll never be able to stop saying that because I always see it as a general term without actually assigning gender. Boys to me is a bit more... specific, if that makes sense.
 

wwm0nkey

User Requested Ban
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
5,554
I usually use boi. But I'm aware that not all people see that as gender neutral so I've been trying to use more gender neutral stuff if someone raises an issue with me saying that
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,564
I don't really know if I've ever needed to say any of those phrases that uses "boys". It's mostly "guys" that's used as gender neutral
 

Zippedpinhead

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,880
This is why we need to stop persecuting “y’all” and have every English speaker use it.

It’s all inclusive, it’s easy to say, and can never mean something else other than “you all”
 

Meffer

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,370
I also use "guys" instead of "boys" to refer to a group of people. Never heard anyone using "boys" to refer a group of of men and women. That's weird.
 

Phantom Thief

User-Requested Ban
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
27,597
I mean I very categorically do not use “boys” or “guys” unless I’m in a group of known male identifying people. Generally I fall back to “folks” or “peeps”, which are gender neutral.
 
OP
OP
astro

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,117
What about the term 'guys'? "Hey guys, how is everyone doing today?", etc. I'll never be able to stop saying that because I always see it as a general term without actually assigning gender. Boys to me is a bit more... specific, if that makes sense.
See above, personally I'm fine with guys, but it does upset some people so I try to avoid it myself.
 

FairFight

Member
Oct 27, 2017
158
Chandler, AZ
Man life got complicated. I’m guilty of referring to groups of people i.e team members as “guys” “Thanks so much for the great work today, guys “ etc. I mean nothing by it. There’s no disrespect directed to any males or females I may be addressing. I guess I need to re-evaluate.
 
Mar 7, 2018
207
I understand where you are coming from, I really do. I feel that most times when generalities are thrown around (specifically 'guys'), it's not necessarily meant to be taken literally. Not saying it's right in every situation, but I feel safe saying the vast majority of people who use those terms aren't meaning to harm anyone. But I'm for sure not against having conversations about the subject and how people can improve communication between each other. Just my two cents.
 

Lakeside

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,598
I use guys most of the time. Never hear someone use boys in regular conversations.
Yeah I use guys for anyone and so does everyone in my family. When my family (which is half/half) is trying to leave the house everyone says "you guys ready?".

I can't say I've heard "boys" except maybe for a kids soccer team context. "Good luck boys!"

I think the fix for me is to just stop communicating with people.
 

Xavi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,210
Lightning for Smash
English is not my first language but I do say "hey guys" a lot. I don't think I use the word boys when I'm talking about everyone in the same space.

EDIT: I hate the word "y'all"
 

joeygreco1985

Member
Oct 27, 2017
368
If I don't hear a female voice when I'm playing online I will use the term "boys" or "guys". It's not meant in a confrontational way.