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

Aug 15, 2018
467
I'm not trying to get rid of the word 'boys', but I believe that I'm absolutely justified in saying that it has no place in addressing a group of people of mixed gender/non-gender. The reason it has been widely used for so long is because 'boys' were the only ones who mattered, and that kind of thinking has to come to an end.
Or, call it a hot take if you want, it is mostly used by persons that have other "Boys" (almost) exclusive as social contacts.
 

brainchild

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Nov 25, 2017
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Or, call it a hot take if you want, it is mostly used by persons that have other "Boys" (almost) exclusive as social contacts.
Setting aside the fact that we have a ton of history to look to and see just how dominant the male perspective has become in society, not being in contact with many women is not an excuse to misgender women or non-binary people.

If you're speaking to an anonymous group of people, you should know better than to talk to them as if you were only talking to your 'exclusive social contacts'.
 
Oct 27, 2017
97
I remember in school, boys would be like, "Nah, man!" "Come on, man!" And, girls would be like, "I ain't no man, boy!" Always cracked me up.
In my country, we have 3 different words for 2 persons (depending if it is 2 guys, 2 girls or a guy and a girl).
Nobody ever makes a mistake by using the incorrect one, except when there 2 guys and they are called by a word used for a guy and a girl. This happens pretty often.
Some people get really annoyed if that happens. I must admit that it bothers me, but that is 'cos I am a grammar nazi.
 
Oct 28, 2017
277
Or, call it a hot take if you want, it is mostly used by persons that have other "Boys" (almost) exclusive as social contacts.
I bet a lot of people think they are a talking to a group of men only whenever I am in some sort of matchmaking and there is communication.

That assumption that everyone in gaming (or here) is a guy is extremely strong. Sure, non binary people or women could speak up but speaking up all the time can be exhausting. Not to mention that often leads to a good amount of sexism or intolerance.

But the resistance to a very slight change in language to make a marginalized group of people feel better is about what I came to expect on a gaming forum.
 

brainchild

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I bet a lot of people think they are a talking to a group of men only whenever I am in some sort of matchmaking and there is communication.

That assumption that everyone in gaming (or here) is a guy is extremely strong. Sure, non binary people or women could speak up but speaking up all the time can be exhausting. Not to mention that often leads to a good amount of sexism or intolerance.
Exactly.

But the resistance to a very slight change in language to make a marginalized group of people feel better is about what I came to expect on a gaming forum.
Yup. It's a real shame.
 
Aug 28, 2018
840
It's literally a proper contraction in English grammar, like "don't" and "can't", and is evolving as part of common English vernacular. To dismiss it as 'slang' comes across as a dog whistle, even if you didn't mean it that way, as some dialects of African American English have been described as slang in the pejorative sense, and incidentally, some African American English dialects use "y'all" quite often.

"Y'all" is a completely natural and intuitive use of the contraction of the words "you all" and there's nothing esoteric about it. The biggest problem to me appears to be the connotations surrounding the use of words that originate from Southern American English, as such a dialect isn't as respected or prestigious as other English dialects, but grammatically, "y'all" is perfectly appropriate to use in most settings except the most formal ones; in those cases, contractions in general are frowned upon, not just "y'all".
I had no idea about African American dialects that use "y'all" - as I said, I think I've heard it in cowboy movies (not even sure - I just know about it). I would never use anything pejorative to describe someone's dialect - but that doesn't mean I will use that dialect. Also, I don't think slang in itself is something bad - just that I think I have a choice whether I'll use it or not. So, I can't explain why I feel awkward using that word, but I do. When I say "y'all" I feel like.... like I'm intentionally trying to sound "cool" or something. Like.... if I started using "comrade" instead of "buddy". And with my slavic accent, I would certainly feel like a joke going around and telling people "comrade". Also, fyi, comrade is also gender neutral, so perhaps you should try using it for a while, because it's a proper English word. If that's ok with you, comrade Brainchild :)

There are a lot of phrases and contractions I perfectly understand and know from movies, shows, comics or books, but don't want to use because they feel strange. I never gave it much thought, but now that we're talking I am realizing it. Perhaps some of them are tied to, say, African Americans, perhaps some of them are tied to southerners, perhaps some of them are tied to a certain city or region in the US. I have no reason not to use them other that I think they sound strange when I (emphasis on "I" - not others) use them. I think the best explanation is "I don't think I can pull them off".

On a side note - I have to add: I am not a native English speaker and I have to say that some people are very insensitive to foreign speakers. I can't possibly know every context or connotation for certain words and the nuances of certain phrases. If a person says "please don't use a certain pronoun when addressing me" or "don't use that phrase, please" - of course I will do my best to honor their wishes. I have no intention of hurting anyone. But if something feels strange, please take into a consideration that I'm already using someone else's language that is completely different to my own, and respect my wishes as well. TLDR: Not using 'y'all'. And, of course, not using hurtful words and disrespecting anyone intentionally.

Also: I support making a small change in the way one talks in order to make a marginalized group of people feel better. It's the least one can do. If "y'all" was the only way to do it - I would, of course. But it's not.
 
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brainchild

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I had no idea about African American dialects that use "y'all" - as I said, I think I've heard it in cowboy movies (not even sure - I just know about it). I would never use anything pejorative to describe someone's dialect - but that doesn't mean I will use it. Also, I don't think slang in itself is something bad - just that I think I have a choice whether I'll use it or not. So, I can't explain why I feel awkward using that word, but I do. When I say "y'all" I feel like.... like I'm intentionally trying to sound "cool" or something. Like.... if I started using "comrade" instead of "buddy". And with my slavic accent, I would certainly feel like a joke going around and telling people "comrade". Also, fyi, comrade is also gender neutral, so perhaps you should try using it for a while, because it's a proper English word. If that's ok with you, comrade Brainchild :)

There are a lot of phrases and contractions I perfectly understand and know from movies, shows, comics or books, but don't want to use because they feel strange. I never gave it much thought, but now that we're talking I am realizing it. Perhaps some of them are tied to African Americans, perhaps some of them are tied to southerners, perhaps some of them are tied to a certain city or region in the US. I think the best explanation is "I don't think I can pull them off".

On a side note - I have to add: I am not a native English speaker and I have to say that some people are very insensitive to foreign speakers. I can't possibly know every context or connotation for certain words and the nuances of certain phrases. If a person says "please don't use a certain pronoun when addressing me" or "don't use that phrase, please" - of course I will do my best to honor their wishes. I have no intention of hurting anyone. But if something feels strange, please take into a consideration that I'm already using someone else's language that is completely different to my own, and respect my wishes as well. TLDR: Not using 'y'all'. And, of course, not using hurtful words and disrespecting anyone intentionally.
That's perfectly understandable. You're certainly not obligated to use the word "y'all". I just found your objections to it a bit suspect, but now that you've clarified your perspective a bit more, I can certainly understand why you wouldn't want to use it and you're well within your right to not use it. We just kindly ask that you (or anyone) don't say 'boys' when addressing a group of people of different genders/non-gender.
 
Nov 13, 2017
360
As a non-english speaker I use "guys" because it feels most natural after growing up with american movies/sit-coms where they say "come on guys/gang" very often. "y'all" feels like something of an southern accent thing. "Folks/people" is a better alternative. Is there other words for a group of people?
 
Aug 28, 2018
840
That's perfectly understandable. You're certainly not obligated to use the word "y'all". I just found your objections to it a bit suspect, but now that you've clarified your perspective a bit more, I can certainly understand why you wouldn't want to use it and you're well within your right to not use it. We just kindly ask that you (or anyone) don't say 'boys' when addressing a group of people of different genders/non-gender.
Of course. I don’t use ‘boys’ in the situations you mention - or anything similar - and certainly won’t use it in the future.
 
Nov 1, 2017
299
The current use of the term is rooted in the sexism of a patriarchal society that prioritizes the male perspective over everyone else's perspective. I'm saying it's a symptom of the problem and continues to perpetuate the problem. I'm not saying the word alone is the problem itself. Just because there are more egregious examples of problematic language (which in itself is something that exists in varying degrees) doesn't not mean we shouldn't try to address the issue.
What are you talking about? The current use of the term is almost exclusively used to simply describe the plural of boy. This newer usage of the word as described by the OP is so niche and obscure that many people (myself included) had never even heard of it being used in that context before. I'm not trying to deny the obvious male patriarchal dominance in western society but if you're saying that the way that most people commonly use the term "boys" is perpetuating the patriarchy and a symptom of it than i would vehemently disagree with that. Most people aren't out there desperately trying to offend or exclude people and those that are, well they are gonna use much more efficient words to get the job done. I'd also argue that most people who even use that term to collectively refer to a group of people aren't doing it out of malice, they're probably just saying something in a way they've heard their friends say it. Which is how language evolves, the irony is of course that if this catches on and becomes so widespread as to lead to an official change in the definition of "boys" then good luck trying to get people to stop saying it at that point.

Sidenote, anyone ever have that thing where they use or see a word so often that it suddenly loses all meaning? I think i've hit that stage and it's probably a good thing cause i feel like this is making me insane.
 
Apr 29, 2018
302
Usually people use this term when they are excited. I have seen women use term girls whenever they are excited about something. It s natural to call your own gender in some situations. I think its fine.
 

brainchild

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What are you talking about? The current use of the term is almost exclusively used to simply describe the plural of boy. This newer usage of the word as described by the OP is so niche and obscure that many people (myself included) had never even heard of it being used in that context before. I'm not trying to deny the obvious male patriarchal dominance in western society but if you're saying that the way that most people commonly use the term "boys" is perpetuating the patriarchy and a symptom of it than i would vehemently disagree with that. Most people aren't out there desperately trying to offend or exclude people and those that are, well they are gonna use much more efficient words to get the job done. I'd also argue that most people who even use that term to collectively refer to a group of people aren't doing it out of malice, they're probably just saying something in a way they've heard their friends say it. Which is how language evolves, the irony is of course that if this catches on and becomes so widespread as to lead to an official change in the definition of "boys" then good luck trying to get people to stop saying it at that point.

Sidenote, anyone ever have that thing where they use or see a word so often that it suddenly loses all meaning? I think i've hit that stage and it's probably a good thing cause i feel like this is making me insane.
This is not about the general use of the term 'boys', it is about the specific use of the word 'boys' as a form of address to people of differing genders/non-gender. It is merely an example of how using gendered language in many cases continues to be problematic and it isn't even close to being a new problem. See here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_language

Gender-neutral language or gender-inclusive language is language that avoids bias towards a particular sex or social gender. In English, this includes use of nouns that are not gender-specific to refer to roles or professions, as well as avoidance of the pronouns he, him and his to refer to people of unknown or indeterminate gender.[1] For example, the words policeman[2][3] and stewardess[4][5] are gender-specific job titles; the corresponding gender-neutral terms are police officer[6][7] and flight attendant.[8][9] Other gender-specific terms, such as actor and actress, may be replaced by the originally male term; for example, actorused regardless of gender.[10][11][12] Some terms, such as chairman,[13][14] that contain the component -man but have traditionally been used to refer to persons regardless of sex are now seen by some as gender-specific.[15] When the gender of the person referred to is unknown or indeterminate, the third-person pronounhe may be avoided by using gender-neutral alternatives – possibilities in English include singular they, he or she, or s/he.
Historically, the use of masculine pronouns in place of generic was regarded as non-sexist, but various forms of gender-neutral language became a common feature in written and spoken versions of many languages in the late twentieth century. Feminists argue that previously the practice of assigning masculine gender to generic antecedents stemmed from language reflecting "the prejudices of the society in which it evolved, and English evolved through most of its history in a male-centered, patriarchal society."[16] During the 1970s, feminists Casey Miller and Kate Swift created a manual, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing, on gender neutral language that was set to reform the existing sexist language that was said to exclude and dehumanize women.[17] In the 1980s, many feminist efforts were made to reform the androcentric language.[18] It has become common in some academic and governmental settings to rely on gender-neutral language to convey inclusion of all sexes or genders (gender-inclusive language).[19][20]
It doesn't matter what the intentions are, misgendering people because you're too lazy to be more thoughtful about how you address people is not acceptable. Men have been doing this for hundreds and thousands of years; 'boys' as a catch-all is just a modern extension of that. You can try to trivialize it all you want, but the problem is not going to go away, and I can guarantee you that you're going to be on the wrong side of history for defending this type of privileged attitude about carelessly talking to people.
 
Oct 25, 2017
475
What are you talking about? The current use of the term is almost exclusively used to simply describe the plural of boy. This newer usage of the word as described by the OP is so niche and obscure that many people (myself included) had never even heard of it being used in that context before. I'm not trying to deny the obvious male patriarchal dominance in western society but if you're saying that the way that most people commonly use the term "boys" is perpetuating the patriarchy and a symptom of it than i would vehemently disagree with that. Most people aren't out there desperately trying to offend or exclude people and those that are, well they are gonna use much more efficient words to get the job done. I'd also argue that most people who even use that term to collectively refer to a group of people aren't doing it out of malice, they're probably just saying something in a way they've heard their friends say it. Which is how language evolves, the irony is of course that if this catches on and becomes so widespread as to lead to an official change in the definition of "boys" then good luck trying to get people to stop saying it at that point.

Sidenote, anyone ever have that thing where they use or see a word so often that it suddenly loses all meaning? I think i've hit that stage and it's probably a good thing cause i feel like this is making me insane.
I hear it all the time. Allllllllllll the time.
 
Feb 9, 2019
110
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.



You might not be overtly, but you are being exclusive.

The word boys has that effect whether you meant it or not.
If you're fine using guys but not boys then that's pretty hypocritical and makes it hard to take your stance on the word boys seriously. I personally use guys all the time and never thought about it. But guys and boys are pretty much the same thing
 
Nov 1, 2017
299
It doesn't matter what the intentions are, misgendering people because you're too lazy to be more thoughtful about how you address people is not acceptable. Men have been doing this for hundreds and thousands of years; 'boys' as a catch-all is just a modern extension of that. You can try to trivialize it all you want, but the problem is not going to go away, and I can guarantee you that you're going to be on the wrong side of history for defending this type of privileged attitude about carelessly talking to people.
If what you took away from my comments is that i am defending those who purposefully misgender non-binary/gender fluid people then you have some reading comprehension issues. I'm no longer interested in continuing a discussion if you're just going to throw that out there knowing literally nothing about me. I'm a gay man with trans friends who's stories i have listened to, have never deadnamed or misgendered and treated just the same as all the people in my life who's company i value. If i'm that shitty a person on the "wrong side of history" as you claim i wonder why they keep coming round my house when i invite them to hang out? Oh wait, it's cause you're full of shit.
 
Oct 28, 2017
277
If you're fine using guys but not boys then that's pretty hypocritical and makes it hard to take your stance on the word boys seriously. I personally use guys all the time and never thought about it. But guys and boys are pretty much the same thing
I think the OP said like 50 times now that they don't like guys either but they see it as a lost battle.

If you personally think boys and guys are the same then it's not exactly a gotcha. It just means you using guys is as wrong as boys because you'd see both as gendered.
 
Agreed with boys. Harder to drop guys and dude in SoCal dude culture. Feels weird saying y’all (but its also kinda endearing lol) so i’m going to try say everyone instead.
I usually just use "fam" "ya'll" "people" team" or "everyone"

"Aight, lets do this fam!" etc.

But plenty of females I know use "guys" even among a purely female entourage lol. It's so ingrained in our culture.
 
Feb 9, 2019
110
I think the OP said like 50 times now that they don't like guys either but they see it as a lost battle.

If you personally think boys and guys are the same then it's not exactly a gotcha. It just means you using guys is as wrong as boys because you'd see both as gendered.
Well the one I replied to they said it was fine with them even though they know others don't like it. So yep seems hypocritical to me which is why I replied to that. And guys and boys is exactly the same. They both refer to males. The definition of a word really isn't up for debate. I don't get how you can be fine with guys and not boys when it literally means the same thing.
 

brainchild

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If what you took away from my comments is that i am defending those who purposefully misgender non-binary/gender fluid people then you have some reading comprehension issues. I'm no longer interested in continuing a discussion if you're just going to throw that out there knowing literally nothing about me. I'm a gay man with trans friends who's stories i have listened to, have never deadnamed or misgendered and treated just the same as all the people in my life who's company i value. If i'm that shitty a person on the "wrong side of history" as you claim i wonder why they keep coming round my house when i invite them to hang out? Oh wait, it's cause you're full of shit.
Your intentions are quite literally irrelevant to the fact that 'boys' is gendered term. If you address a group of people of mixed gender/non-gender as 'boys', then you have indeed misgendered some people in that group by definition, whether you did it on purpose or not. It's not just an issue with addressing people on a personal level but on general level as well. Linguistically, 'boys' is not equivalent to 'peeps', 'folk', 'all', etc. but it's addressing the audience as if the audience universally male, so when that audience is comprised of people with genders besides male, you're calling some of those people a gender that they're not. Hiding being your intentions or using transgender tokenism as a means to deflect criticism of using language that is harmful to marginalized groups is not gonna fly here.
 
Nov 15, 2017
2,605
Is this a regional thing? I've never heard the term "boys" in game chat. "guys", yes.

Words change meaning over time, and "guys" is general accepted as an all encompassing "you all" word, as well as its original male connotation.
 
Mar 15, 2019
19
I understand what you mean, i don't really feel its nice to assume that everybody who plays are male. There is a difference between seeing 3 guys on twitch saying "Lets go boysssssss!" meanwhile they are on their adrenaline rush and a random person speaking out with in-game voice. Usually when i play games i always just try to be personal with everyone but also taking a distance towars peoples gender. I'd probably say "Lets roll, lets go team" or something like that.
 
OP
OP
astro
Oct 25, 2017
11,113
If you're fine using guys but not boys then that's pretty hypocritical and makes it hard to take your stance on the word boys seriously. I personally use guys all the time and never thought about it. But guys and boys are pretty much the same thing
If you'd read the thread an the threadmarks you'd know this.

I am not okay with the word, I'm "fine" with it in that I'm resigned to defeat as it's already ingreaind. There's no unlearning it.

"Boys" literally means "male", in a male dominant society that is trying to become more aware of gender identities and strive for equality, more 100% male dominate language is not the answer.

Guys and boys are NOT the same thing currently, and they shouldn't become the same.
 
Feb 9, 2019
110
If you'd read the thread an the threadmarks you'd know this.

I am not okay with the word, I'm "fine" with it in that I'm resigned to defeat as it's already ingreaind. There's no unlearning it.

"Boys" literally means "male", in a male dominant society that is trying to become more aware of gender identities and strive for equality, more 100% male dominate language is not the answer.

Guys and boys are NOT the same thing currently, and they shouldn't become the same.
How is it not the same thing? The literal definition for guy is a man.
 

brainchild

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GUY VS BOY Elaboration
OP
OP
astro
Oct 25, 2017
11,113
How is it not the same thing? The literal definition for guy is a man.
Guys doesn't mean men any more according to dictionaries and popular opinion, it's evolved beyond its initial meaning.

And this is the problem, male centric words becoming ubiquitous.

Boy and Girl, Man and Woman, these are the literally words for the binary genders. Guy was a synonym for Man, so "Guys" evolving to mean "all" is not the same as the default word for a male adolescent (Boy) evolving to mean Girls, women, non-binary, etc... This is literally a default word for man overwriting other genders, in a soceity where Male is the default very often, this is worrying.

This is hugely symptomatic of the male dominance in society, when the default word for male adolescent starts to get used for everyone. Guys was already bad in that it helps dismiss gender identity, but boys is too much.

And we can prevent boys, we can't do anything about guys. Not for now at least.

Who knows how this will change once gender identity becomes more equal.
 

brainchild

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Guys doesn't mean men any more according to dictionaries and popular opinion, it's evolved beyond its initial meaning.

And this is the problem, male centric words becoming ubiquitous.

Boy and Girl, Man and Woman, these are the literally words for the binary genders. Guy was a synonym for Man, so "Guys" evolving to mean "all" is not the same as the default word for a male adolescent (Boy) evolving to mean Girls, women, non-binary, etc... This is literally a default word for man overwriting other genders, in a soceity where Male is the default very often, this is worrying.

This is hugely symptomatic of the male dominance in society, when the default word for male adolescent starts to get used for everyone. Guys was already bad in that it helps dismiss gender identity, but boys is too much.

And we can prevent boys, we can't do anything about guys. Not for now at least.

Who knows how this will change once gender identity becomes more equal.
Yup.

And I want to thank you for this thread. We have a lot of work to do to help people understand why the male-centric view of the world is problematic and threads like these help us get that across.
 
OP
OP
astro
Oct 25, 2017
11,113
Yup.

And I want to thank you for this thread. We have a lot of work to do to help people understand why the male-centric view of the world is problematic and threads like these help us get that across.
You're welcome, and thank you to for your participation.

I've had a bunch of people me to tell me the thread has helped them gain some insight here, and posters like yourself have helped make that happen.

this community can be so awesome.