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

Oct 25, 2017
2,593
Thankfully I don't play with randoms so I can use boys freely without worrying about this type of thing. I know everyone I'm playing with I know they're all good with the term "boys".

I don't like when I see people on social media refer to the general population as boys though and I get your frustration OP. Unfortunately I think the "where we droppin boys" meme has essentially made this worse.
 
Nov 1, 2017
294
It's male gendered to me because of the roots and no amount of usage will change that. It doesn't matter if that's not aligning with popular opinion. Again, this is how language works. It's a popularity contest.
Ok, but you were stating earlier that people were incorrect when pointing out that guys is gender neutral when in fact it is and that you simply don't have that viewpoint personally. Which is fine, but if you have an opinion on something you can't admonish people for not sharing your opinion of the usage of said words. It just seems strange to me that you would take such offence to what in the grand scheme of things is fairly benign in terms of language. What will you do if the term boys grows in popularity and expands in usage in the very way that you currently want people to discard from their vocabulary?
 
In a way sure... but you cannot change the popularity of a word by force of will alone.
What you're describing "force of will" is otherwise described as society.

Go back to the early 1800s, and you'll find lots and lots of people that think n*****r is a perfectly acceptable word in discourse. You know how that changed? It wasn't because everyone just accepted it and people who were harmed bit their tongues until one night everyone went to sleep and woke up with the realization they'd been acting like monsters. It was because people spoke up about the offensiveness and harmfulness of that word. The exact sort of discussions we're having now.

These discussions are how we exert that influence to make that change. If you stop having these discussions, things aren't just going to magically get better in a few years because everyone was gifted with the knowledge that erasing the presence of non-men in group settings was a shitty thing to do.
 
Anyone against y'all is getting put on a list.
I'm against it. Catch me saying "Y'all" with a British accent, lmao. I'd never hear the end of it.
Like, imagine Kit Harington saying that, that's what it'd sound like if I said it. Big yikes.
Coming from Northern Ireland I think if I addressed a group as "y'all" I'd be met with some very curious stares.
Exactly, it'd be weird af.
 
Go back to the early 1800s, and you'll find lots and lots of people that think n*****r is a perfectly acceptable word in discourse. You know how that changed? It wasn't because everyone just accepted it and people who were harmed bit their tongues until one night everyone went to sleep and woke up with the realization they'd been acting like monsters. It was because people spoke up about the offensiveness and harmfulness of that word. The exact sort of discussions we're having now. .
Hold on, lets take a breath. The ethnic term you refer to became an unacceptable term in society (rightfully) because it WAS being used as an offensive slur towards an entire group of people. Individuals used that term to demoralize and talk down to the targeted people to belittle them and make them feel less than equal. In no way, have i ever seen, heard or been shown any kind of evidence of people using the term "boys" in gaming as some kind of gender slur. Your example is just a bad apples to oranges imo.
 
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OP
OP
astro
Oct 25, 2017
11,057
Ok, but you were stating earlier that people were incorrect when pointing out that guys is gender neutral when in fact it is and that you simply don't have that viewpoint personally. Which is fine, but if you have an opinion on something you can't admonish people for not sharing your opinion of the usage of said words. It just seems strange to me that you would take such offence to what in the grand scheme of things is fairly benign in terms of language. What will you do if the term boys grows in popularity and expands in usage in the very way that you currently want people to discard from their vocabulary?
I don't want people to discard guys, like I said I'm resigned to that being what it is. That doesn't mean I have to like it personally, or use it, which I try my best not to do (it sometimes slips out, it wasn't that long ago I decided to stop).

I would like people to consider not using "boys" to refer to women, non-binary, and gender-fluid people, and I truly do think it should stop because of the reasons stated ITT.
 
Dec 4, 2017
479
What you're describing "force of will" is otherwise described as society.

Go back to the early 1800s, and you'll find lots and lots of people that think n*****r is a perfectly acceptable word in discourse. You know how that changed? It wasn't because everyone just accepted it and people who were harmed bit their tongues until one night everyone went to sleep and woke up with the realization they'd been acting like monsters. It was because people spoke up about the offensiveness and harmfulness of that word. The exact sort of discussions we're having now.

These discussions are how we exert that influence to make that change. If you stop having these discussions, things aren't just going to magically get better in a few years because everyone was gifted with the knowledge that erasing the presence of non-men in group settings was a shitty thing to do.
Are you really going to fucking compare a word born from hate and used as a way to demean a group of people to boys?

I wonder if you’ve ever been called a nigger by someone. It hurts. It’s humiliating and makes you feel like shit. The word is meant to do that but boys is not.

Yeah, maybe OP is offended by “boys” but I’m sure boys doesn’t have the hate associated like nigger.
 
Oct 30, 2017
500
I usually just drop the pronoun period if I don't know who I'm playing with. If I'm with guys, I'll say either "boys" or "my dudes" or "dudes".

If I'm in mixed company, I still say "dudes". I don't equate "dudes" with just males.
 
Are you really going to fucking compare a word born from hate and used as a way to demean a group of people to boys?

I wonder if you’ve ever been called a nigger by someone. It hurts. It’s humiliating and makes you feel like shit. The word is meant to do that but boys is not.

Yeah, maybe OP is offended by “boys” but I’m sure boys doesn’t have the hate associated like nigger.
We recognize that now. Back in the 1800s? People would absolutely defend the use of that word, that it's not hateful but properly descriptive, and so on. They didn't use the word back then because they knew it was an evil and awful word (which is the case with people who use it still today).

There were plenty of people who thought they held no hate in their heart and would still spew that word. People whose intent wasn't to defame and degrade, despite the fact that was exactly what their language did.

You know how tide turned on the word? People discussed the hate inherent in the word, the impact of the word, the implications of using it, and the racism present in society that colored people's perceptions to where they could see such a word as not being a slur. Those discussions happened against a tide of people who said they didn't see anything wrong, that the word was common and socially acceptable, that plenty of people use the word without the intent to harm people, that anyone who was offended was just wrong and looking for an argument or to be offended.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm obviously not saying that "boys" and "guys" are the modern n-word or something. My point was responding to someone who could be paraphrased as saying "why push back, you can't change it by force of will" when, in reality, all change in society has come from people who had a problem who made those concerns clear. Society doesn't change because some universal truth is dropped into people's heads from on high and then society turns on a dime, it comes from people pushing for change, and so attempting to dismiss and dissuade people from doing the work necessary because one person's effort isn't going to suddenly change all of society is incredibly wrongheaded.
 
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Dec 4, 2017
479
We recognize that now. Back in the 1800s? People would absolutely defend the use of that word, that it's not hateful but properly descriptive, and so on. They didn't use the word back then because they knew it was an evil and awful word (which is the case with people who use it still today).

There were plenty of people who thought they held no hate in their heart and would still spew that word. People whose intent wasn't to defame and degrade, despite the fact that was exactly what their language did.

You know how tide turned on the word? People discussed the hate inherent in the word, the impact of the word, the implications of using it, and the racism present in society that colored people's perceptions to where they could see such a word as not being a slur. Those discussions happened against a tide of people who said they didn't see anything wrong, that the word was common and socially acceptable, that plenty of people use the word without the intent to harm people, that anyone who was offended was just wrong and looking for an argument or to be offended.
Again, nigger was used to intentionally insult people like me or other dark skin people. There’s a difference in how the two words are formed.

It’s like saying “dude” to someone. Yes, it’s gendered but people use it so much that saying “hey dude” doesn’t necessarily mean “hey male”, language is funny like that.

I’m not against OP not wanting to use it what does bother me is you trying to use a word literally born from hate and used against slaves to another that has none of that associated with it.
 
Again, nigger was used to intentionally insult people like me or other dark skin people. There’s a difference in how the two words are formed.
It was degrading language, absolutely, but there's lots of society that didn't see themselves as using the word with the intent of degrading, it was just part of the common vocabulary. The use of the word was absolutely insulting, but many people who used it didn't think they were being insulting by using it, which doesn't mean it wasn't insulting, it just means that they were very, very wrong.

To bring a more recent example, "gay" as a pejorative has changed within my lifetime. As a teenager, I sadly engaged in that a lot. Go pull 14 year old me out of the mid-90s and have an argument with them about their use of that word, and you're not going to find someone who was intentionally being shitty to gay people, but who was absolutely being shitty to gay people. And the arguments coming out of the mouth of 14 year old me to defend using gay in that manner would echo what a lot of people are saying here.

It’s like saying “dude” to someone. Yes, it’s gendered but people use it so much that saying “hey dude” doesn’t necessarily mean “hey male”, language is funny like that.
Again, "dude" is absolutely gendered language. The reason why "dude" and "guys" and increasingly "boys" is somehow viewed as supposedly "gender neutral" is because of people seeing male as "default" and anything else as a deviation from the standard. There's a reason that these words that somehow supposedly go from gendered to non-gendered are always terms that started as male-gendered and not female-gendered.
 

marrec

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Oct 26, 2017
6,516
What you're describing "force of will" is otherwise described as society.
No, what I'm describing is astro's force of will, societal usage does not change based on a single person or even a small group of people. If "guys" is going to shift back to being understood as 100% gendered it will be through natural language use not a minority moderating natural language use.
 

marrec

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Oct 26, 2017
6,516
Again, "dude" is absolutely gendered language. The reason why "dude" and "guys" and increasingly "boys" is somehow viewed as supposedly "gender neutral" is because of people seeing male as "default" and anything else as a deviation from the standard. There's a reason that these words that somehow supposedly go from gendered to non-gendered are always terms that started as male-gendered and not female-gendered.
That is not the accepted reasoning among linguists. Guys has a much different usage history than "men" or "he", if your hypothesis were correct then this wouldn't be the case.
 
No, what I'm describing is astro's force of will, societal usage does not change based on a single person or even a small group of people. If "guys" is going to shift back to being understood as 100% gendered it will be through natural language use not a minority moderating natural language use.
Without a minority pointing out the shitty implications of the speech, you'll never get a bigger movement that turns into a societal change.

The end of slavery come about from slavery being popular to suddenly >50% of the population opposing it overnight, or because of some sort of "natural" evolution. It started with small groups of people who talked about how it was wrong, and how that group was able to convince more and more people so that "a minority moderating our natural labor force" became a much greater movement that eventually turned into societal consensus.

Things don't just get better because time progresses. All the progress of humanity as a species, good and bad, has come from the work of people pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable.
 

marrec

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Oct 26, 2017
6,516
Without a minority pointing out the shitty implications of the speech, you'll never get a bigger movement that turns into a societal change.
I'm going to continue to ignore your terrible analogies btw and focus on the specifics instead

There are no shitty implications to "guys" being gender-neutral, hence why I brought up the morality of it's usage many posts above. Shifting the usage of guys back to gendered is not the morally superior stance simply because a few people are feeling negatively about it's current usage.
 
Oct 31, 2017
150
Are you really going to fucking compare a word born from hate and used as a way to demean a group of people to boys?

I wonder if you’ve ever been called a nigger by someone. It hurts. It’s humiliating and makes you feel like shit. The word is meant to do that but boys is not.

Yeah, maybe OP is offended by “boys” but I’m sure boys doesn’t have the hate associated like nigger.
100% this. I can certainly understand and sympathize with OP in the sense that being called "boy" makes them feel uncomfortable due to personal struggles with gender identity. However, that and the N word are on completely different levels, and should not require the same level of treatment.

It's difficult for those of us with multiple friends in various stages of transition to keep track of which items offend which people. Everyone is going to have their preferences for how they want to be addressed, and seriously it feels like sometimes I need a spreadsheet to figure this out. I have a friend that I've known as male for 30 years that now fully identify as female. Sometimes I'll still still say things like "what's up, bro" when she calls, because old habits do die hard. I am putting in the effort, but slip-ups do happen and should be expected. No one "accidentally" calls someone the N word, though, not even PewDiePie.

"Guys" has pretty much been gender-neutral for decades now, but people still post about it offending them. "Boys" I could understand a little more, if the other players know they are playing in mixed company, but again not everyone's gonna know, especially if all they hear on the mic is male sounding voices.

I think the best way I can put it is to understand that no one, except maybe the Jackass that posted at the start of the thread, is using "guys" or "boys" in a hatefull manner, and to not let it bother you so much. Some things are going to be hard to change society-wide, especially when playing with random people online that know nothing of your personal life outside of whatever round you got popped into via matchmaking. This is in no way intended to diminish the struggles you face, and I think we're all in agreement that we're here as a community to support you and game with you anytime!
 
Aug 29, 2018
93
It was degrading language, absolutely, but there's lots of society that didn't see themselves as using the word with the intent of degrading, it was just part of the common vocabulary. The use of the word was absolutely insulting, but many people who used it didn't think they were being insulting by using it, which doesn't mean it wasn't insulting, it just means that they were very, very wrong.

To bring a more recent example, "gay" as a pejorative has changed within my lifetime. As a teenager, I sadly engaged in that a lot. Go pull 14 year old me out of the mid-90s and have an argument with them about their use of that word, and you're not going to find someone who was intentionally being shitty to gay people, but who was absolutely being shitty to gay people. And the arguments coming out of the mouth of 14 year old me to defend using gay in that manner would echo what a lot of people are saying here.



Again, "dude" is absolutely gendered language. The reason why "dude" and "guys" and increasingly "boys" is somehow viewed as supposedly "gender neutral" is because of people seeing male as "default" and anything else as a deviation from the standard. There's a reason that these words that somehow supposedly go from gendered to non-gendered are always terms that started as male-gendered and not female-gendered.
Bolded to the part I wanted to comment on. Perhaps it's my many years of being raised in the south, but I have never, nor known anyone to ever not think of this word in a sense that wasn't being degrading. I think the biggest draw is the word you are referring to is rooted in the attempt to separate/classify someone who is "less than" or "other", versus the OP's intent (I believe) of using gender specific words. I'm half black and can tell you this, from experiences I've had today back to my great grandfather's generation, we've never had that word spoken to us if it wasn't from a place of malice. As another has said, this is just a bad example.
 
Nov 16, 2017
155
It's a weird situation where instead of language evolving new terms for unisex use, masculine terms are just reframed to no longer be exclusively masculine. I don't know any real equivalents to "guys" and "boys" (the way it's being used in the op) in connotation. With boys, most times i use it, (outside trying to explicitly identifying a male child) it's interchangeable with "boi". I usually just say kids or children otherwise.

At the same time, I get where you're coming from OP. I'm non-binary, and growing up I wasn't a fan of being called a boy, and couldn't stand being called a man. I'm in the opposite camp now though. I think their shift into more gender neutral terms helped to make me more comfortable with them, and ultimately prefer them in a lot of situations.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,752
We really need another term under the "guys" and "y'all" idea. I say 'guys', cause 'y'all' just makes me feel like a southern goof.
I try to go for saying "everyone", but it ain't short and not really as easy to roll off the tongue.
Peeps, short for people. Let's go, peeps!

Or humes, short for humans. Let's do this, humes!
 

marrec

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Oct 26, 2017
6,516
It's a weird situation where instead of language evolving new terms for unisex use, masculine terms are just reframed to no longer be exclusively masculine. I don't know any real equivalents to "guys" and "boys" (the way it's being used in the op) in connotation. With boys, most times i use it, (outside trying to explicitly identifying a male child) it's interchangeable with "boi". I usually just say kids or children otherwise.

At the same time, I get where you're coming from OP. I'm non-binary, and growing up I wasn't a fan of being called a boy, and couldn't stand being called a man. I'm in the opposite camp now though. I think their shift into more gender neutral terms helped to make me more comfortable with them, and ultimately prefer them in a lot of situations.
In a lot of papers and essays I've read on the subject people argue that "guy" and "dude" are not as historically masculine as you'd generally believe.
 
Oct 27, 2017
540
I've always been and probably always will be partial to "dudes". Of course if someone has an issue with me referring the them as a dude I'll stop addressing that person as dude. But that doesn't dissuade me from always wanting to say "dudes". I love the word, it sounds good and is fun to use. Never heard or used boys as a catch all though, I maybe heard bros? To me it's all about intent especially with something as common as "boy".
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,018
Canadia
I don't want people to discard guys, like I said I'm resigned to that being what it is. That doesn't mean I have to like it personally, or use it, which I try my best not to do (it sometimes slips out, it wasn't that long ago I decided to stop).

I would like people to consider not using "boys" to refer to women, non-binary, and gender-fluid people, and I truly do think it should stop because of the reasons stated ITT.
I'm glad you brought this up.

If I know that people are going to dislike hearing me use "guys" as a catch-all term, I absolutely won't use it. However, so many people like it, regardless of their gender, I'll use it if I'm fairly sure it won't cause offense; and it's a term I personally enjoy. But enough women dislike it, never mind non-binary people, that I'm much more conscientious about it these days.

Cameron Esposito talked about this a while ago - she switched to "folks", and more playful terms like "lil' buddies" when talking to crowds. I think "folks" is decent, but it doesn't vibe with me - it feels a bit more serious than "guys". We need more words for a lot of things, and this is one of many great examples.

But "boys" used to describe a group consisting of people with multiple gender identities is ridiculous at best, and offensive at worst. I'm sorry this is even a topic you had to make.
 
Bolded to the part I wanted to comment on. Perhaps it's my many years of being raised in the south, but I have never, nor known anyone to ever not think of this word in a sense that wasn't being degrading. I think the biggest draw is the word you are referring to is rooted in the attempt to separate/classify someone who is "less than" or "other", versus the OP's intent (I believe) of using gender specific words. I'm half black and can tell you this, from experiences I've had today back to my great grandfather's generation, we've never had that word spoken to us if it wasn't from a place of malice. As another has said, this is just a bad example.
In the modern environment, one million percent, anyone using that term now is intending to degrade. There's no confusion.

But the further you go back, the more that word is just part of the lexicon. I'm absolutely not saying that there was some date in the past beyond which everyone using the word was well meaning, but some use of it was absolutely said without malice intended. That doesn't mean it wasn't harmful and hurtful, and that doesn't mean that they weren't absolutely wrong to engage in the use of the word. Basically, in those times, the racism was so omnipresent that people didn't think they were engaging in racism even when they very obviously were.

It's why "intent" is a bad yardstick for whether use of a word is bad, and I could go further but I'll just say go look at the intent vs impact threadmark again if you need more on this.
 
Nov 16, 2017
155
Again, "dude" is absolutely gendered language. The reason why "dude" and "guys" and increasingly "boys" is somehow viewed as supposedly "gender neutral" is because of people seeing male as "default" and anything else as a deviation from the standard. There's a reason that these words that somehow supposedly go from gendered to non-gendered are always terms that started as male-gendered and not female-gendered.
I'm not a linguist, but I disagree (a tiny bit). I think you're right in that the reason we don't see it go the other way is that men see themselves as default mixed with general sexism and the inherent sexism in a lot of feminine terms. But when it comes to masculine terms, as women engaging in and enter """"traditionally masculine"""" behavior and spaces, instead of new terms being used to refer to both men and women, the distinction is just ignored. That's my armchair analysis at least.
 
Nov 16, 2017
155
In a lot of papers and essays I've read on the subject people argue that "guy" and "dude" are not as historically masculine as you'd generally believe.
I'll believe it. But like a lot of posters are saying, it's way people associate with the terms that determine their actual use and meaning. Growing up, nobody told me those words didn't necessarily mean men. And even if they had, when people used them to refer to me, I still would have known they were refering to me as a man.
 

marrec

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Oct 26, 2017
6,516
I'll believe it. But like a lot of posters are saying, it's way people associate with the terms that determine their actual use and meaning. Growing up, nobody told me those words didn't necessarily mean men. And even if they had, when people used them to refer to me, I still would have known they were refering to me as a man.
They were and still are certainly used as gendered words today, but I think the argument is that "guy" and "dude" are more versatile and acceptable as non-gendered BECAUSE they don't have as much history of masculinity as other, much more clearly masculine words like "man" or "he".

You don't address a woman as such: "he is nice a nice woman" but you would use "she's a nice guy".
 
I use guys all the time, but “boys” has always come off as just weird. Got a few friends who use it and I just can’t get used to it. The way they’ve explained it, its just what they grew up hearing from everyone around them. Primarily, they brought up that it gets a lot of use in the black community they and their families grew up in, which I figured I’d just leave at that since I’m white and not about to go telling them to stop using it.
 
Aug 29, 2018
93
In the modern environment, one million percent, anyone using that term now is intending to degrade. There's no confusion.

But the further you go back, the more that word is just part of the lexicon. I'm absolutely not saying that there was some date in the past beyond which everyone using the word was well meaning, but some use of it was absolutely said without malice intended. That doesn't mean it wasn't harmful and hurtful, and that doesn't mean that they weren't absolutely wrong to engage in the use of the word. Basically, in those times, the racism was so omnipresent that people didn't think they were engaging in racism even when they very obviously were.

It's why "intent" is a bad yardstick for whether use of a word is bad, and I could go further but I'll just say go look at the intent vs impact threadmark again if you need more on this.
I think the biggest issue I personally have with this example, is that the argument is based off the ignorance of individuals using this word and that being passable. I think this is de-railing the conversation a bit, but ignorance doesn't ignore the fact that it's a derogatory term. It's a mis-labeling, similar to calling someone a "dog" or "ape" or anything but what what they are "human" due to the fact that their skin color is different. Again from my own personal experiences the "intent" was always to be derogatory, but even assuming that someone said this word without the intent of being ugly, is still labeling someone with a word that was used for the sole creation of isolating/separating a group of people.
 
Oct 26, 2017
72
I appreciate this thread as I feel it is important to keep a discussion open about these things. I was wondering, is saying, "ladies and gentleman" producing the same type of feelings among non-binary peoples?
 
Oct 27, 2017
266
y'all works really well, in my friend groups I just say "friends", which makes me sound a bit dorky and we all laugh but it's very much appreciated (my friend group consists of mostly nb & trans people, so I've been slowly removing general gendered terms from my vocabulary)

if you're hurting someone calling them "guys" or "dudes" then simply don't use it, otherwise it ends up being "oh sorry you're offended" type of situation where you shift the blame for being hurt onto the person instead of acknowledging that you're at fault
 
Jan 11, 2018
385
I'm used to it because of the french grammar. Everything when not directly a male or female become masculin.

Like a group in french is Un groupe. ''A'' in french is un or une. Une is feminin.

You can't say Une groupe and that is where every english make their mistake when speaking french. The group is Le groupe. Not La groupe.
 
Or humes, short for humans. Let's do this, humes!
Excluding all the fantasy races in Final Fantasy MMOs are we?

Anyway, this thread has been going in circles for ages. Skimming through it everyone seems to agree that "boys" as a catch-all is weird and barely used outside them BR memes (which are memes and not meant to be taken seriously and no one uses memes IRL and anyone who does use memes IRL is a muppet anyway) and "guys" has evolved to be gender-neutral when used to address a group, to the point of women using it among other women and as such, is an acceptable, if not perfect alternative.

So all we have to do to put this to rest is stop spouting memes in multiplayer games. I'm all for that.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,901
Fortunately I never say “boys” like that. I do sometimes say things like, “boy, that’s rough” or “oh man!” ...and I don’t really know what to think about those. They’re not addresses to individuals, so it’s not like your gendering or misgendering your audience. They’re not gendering the situation...what are they doing there? Why do we say these things?
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,339
Pittsburgh
I don't mind 'guys' at all, but for some reason 'boys' really bothers me? I think it's because I associate it with cocky annoying gamer bros/teenagers. The phrase "Where we dropping boys" actually makes my skin crawl. The day 'boys' stops being used will be a great day.