If "Guys" Is Problematic, "Ya'll" Is Problematic Too

Comments

1

get em katie, this is some learned reactionary bullshit. thanks for taking the (correct i think) contrarian position on this.

3

In general I agree with you Katie but I've still been trying to not use "Guys" for the reasons above. For example, I caught myself using it a couple days agoin a "Hey Guys," email addressed to a female recipient but with several males CC'd. Which just seems seems thoughtless.

I don't ever use "y'all" because, as a moss-covered PNWesterner, I don't talk like that, and I would hate for anyone to get the impression that I was somehow Southern.

Think I'm just going to start my emails with "Hello Humans," from now on.

4

I'd call them "ladies" but I'm not sure many third wave feminists qualify.

5

There are real problems in the world. This isn't even remotely one of them.

6

I'd rather use "hey fuckers" than "hey y'all"

7

@2 do you talk to people? If so you must have encountered situations where "you" is ambiguous. It's not a redundancy "error" if it clarifies the meaning. The fact that many dialects have filled this gap ("y'all", "youse", "you lot", "you guys") just underscores its usefulness. On the flip side, if you want to be clear that you're talking about an individual, of course you could say "you there" or point, but it makes less sense pragmatically because "you" is assumed most often to be singular.

Also it's funny you mention millennials, do you think people have entirely stopped studying language since your day?

8

This is terrible logic. An if-then statement requires an analogous relationship between the two premises. People think “guys” is bad because it’s not gender-neutral, which has nothing to do with the flimsy argument that “y’all” is appropriative, which it is not (shorter: it’s not sacred to anyone; longer: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/10/the-dos-and-donts-of-cultural-appropriation/411292/).

Regardless, gender neutrality has nothing to do with appropriating language and anyway people can also say “you all” if they are so inclined. End of discussion.

9

@6, I love it, Fuckers is such a gender nuetral term! anyone can do the fucking gender not required. it does leave out the asexuals though..
@3 I agree, I don't care where the apostrophe is because the term is so terrible to begin with as @2 points out. how can we be sure all those southern rubes dont mean ya all, becuase I can barely understand a lot of what they say to begin with, they really need to learn english if they want to live in this country..

10

@2 is correct but fails to note that "you" is also second person singular. It began replacing "thou" centuries ago, leaving a "y'all"-shaped hole.

Want proof that using the plural "you" is confusing? Try pointing into a group of twenty people and say "I am going to give you twenty bucks!" The person must directly in front of your finger will expect twenty bucks or try to clarify if you were pointing to someone else.

Nobody in the group would expect a single dollar for everyone.

11

also why is it a career stopper since this new-normal is still brand new. why not do the "Teachable moment" and see how the candidate responds. but nope, one more ruined career closer to social justice utopia.

12

"Fuckers is such a gender neutral term"

@9 Unless you identify as a "fuckee".

13

@12, I would argue that you still participate in the act of fucking and therefore are indeed still a fucker, like I said, the only people who are left out are asexuals but even then the word, fuck, is so fucking versatile that it isn't solely used to mean sex. There many ways to fuck some one and get fucked. It really is a fucking brilliant word.

14

Hey professor, please do this woman the favor of her life and not hire her to work for you.

15

Hey Katie, how many guys have you slept with?

16

If she's turned down for the position I think an appropriate thank you letter would end in "fuck all y'all."

@2 Citation needed? Or, what @7 said. While I'm being pedantic, periods go inside quotations at the end of a sentence.

17

Blip @8, I get the impression from your comments that you're somewhere on the autistic spectrum, which is fine! But, since you seem to be taking the headline of this post literally, I'm going to expand your understanding of what you just read.

Katie doesn't really think using "y'all" is cultural appropriation. She thinks saying "you guys" is perfectly acceptable, too—she even notes its dictionary definition allows for this. But, because there are a bunch of people policing speech to ruin the careers of others, she is parodying a woke position convincingly as a rebuttal.

Parody, if you're not aware, is a form of satire. Satire is a literary device frequently used to ridicule moral failures. And disqualifying a woman from a job because she said "you guys" is fucking ridiculous.

I hope this helps.

18

I like how Katie takes an incident that "might" lead to this woman not being hired and just ran off into the trees with it. First of all "might" is not the same as "will", and second of all who is this letter writer? How do we know this even happened? As Blip also points out this hypothetical example of one of Katie’s pet bet noirs has fuck all to do with using y’all. She just made up a controversy out of whole cloth, but then, that’s our Katie.
I would like to add that as an Army Brat I grew up hearing people use y’all. It was part of a vernacular that could be heard on any base, anywhere in the world, regardless of the regional origin of its users, and we used it in the singular form. So one person was y’all, as in “Y’all heading to the PX?”, but a group of people would be referred to as all y’all, as in “All y’all get in the car, we’re heading to the PX”.

19

@15 somewhere between 50 and 75

20

@17, i’ve read enough of these tedious posts to understand the premise — she is not literally making/defending this argument, though this is not satire — but it rests on a flawed understanding of what people speaking in good faith mean by “problematic” and “appropriation”

if you assume everyone who uses those terms are just in it for the twitter burns then you probably agree with her, but if you allow that there might be a legitimate argument to be made in their favor then this post is a straw man — i shared an atlantic article that describes what is/n’t appropriation in pretty straightforward terms if you’re inclined to give a shit

21

@ 20, they aren't, but I commend you for trying anyway.

22

My mother used to be a bit irritated when a waiter at a nice restaurant referred to her and her lady friends as "guys" but I think it was mostly just that it was overly casual.

22

I'm a northwesterner, the child of two upper midwestern parents, who themselves spent the 1800s in the northeast. Absolutely no Southern blood, grew up in Seattle, no southern influences... and I've been saying "y'all" since the beginning. Like dreadlocks, rap music, chicken & waffles, and rupaul's drag race, it's crossed over into Mainstream Americana and you can't have it back.

23

@19 Eww.

24

Bless your hearts

25

The etymology of 'man' - from Sanskrit on up - might be of interest to some discussants.

26

Sweet christ this is an astoundingly bad take.
Congrats on getting my hate-click I guess.

We're supposed to be fluid enough about language to treat the plural of "guy" as gender neutral, but we're supposed to be rigid enough about rejecting traditional Southern culture to not use the contraction of "you all"?

I swear Katie Herzog's real job is to try to damage the non-Trumpian world as much as possible from the inside. This shit is BREATHTAKINGLY ridiculous. It has to be intentionally infuriating to readers with empathy and brains who actually care about this sort of thing.

28

Yuck I disagree, and thank you Mr. Tsutakawa of GHS for being my non southern primary "Y'ALL" user. When dudes at my work say "guys" it means MEN because I work in a male dominated field. Or at least it makes me feel like it means MEN and doesn't include me. WHICH IS WHY WE SHOULD TRY TO STOP SAYING IT. No need to fire/ not hire/ whatever someone, but come on. Y'ALL is just a word that is non-gendered and makes sense, are southern people offended?!?!

29

@26 YES

30

The term guys must mean just men. Otherwise, "Guys and Dolls" would have been named just "Guys." On the other hand, when Rita Moreno screams, "HEY, YOU GUYS!" at the beginning of The Electric Company, you knew she was talking to little girls, too.

31

Once again, the "anti-PC" closet conservatives of the left are the ones that are trying to restrict what people can say. Remember, you can choose to use any words you want. Other people are free to call you an asshole for your word choice. Get the fuck over it you whiny babies. If it's so hard for you to treat people with kindness, maybe it's because you're a shitty person.

32

Now that this has been resolved, is "dude(s)" exclusively masculine?

33

No wonder humans (if that is not exclusionary) prefer digital interaction these days. I can linger over a sentence for an hour before I hit the send button, carefully inspecting it for sins against Modern Living. Christ, it's exhausting.

35

Personally, I'm not for any policing of language, but I get policing slurs. Makes sense. May even cause more good than harm. Policing general language? That's a loser. And no matter what, the language policer is the bad person.

36

To prevent any possibility of offending someone humans should just stop communicating.

37

@27: Then you won't mind if the next you're in a mixed group it is referred to as "You Gals" then will you? I mean why not if Guys is gender neutral...

38

Most important to note: when correctly applied, "y'all" is a singular term. If you wish to address a group, "all y'all" is used.

Southerners all over just nodded in agreement.

39

I used to think 'guys' was effectively gender-neutral-- I certainly grew up saying "you guys" to groups of women. But then I started working with a group of men who said things like "maybe we can hire some more guys and get this done" or "how many guys would it take to get this done?" and to my ear, that's super fucked up. I understand the difference linguistically but I don't really wanna argue with these men about grammar. So I'm on the "don't use 'guys' at work" train now.

40

@35- you're dangerously close to getting sent to the re-education camp with common-sense talk like that.

41

Oh, FFS. Clearly, 'yinz' is the proper pronoun.

42

Great. We have trolls playing both sides. An author who has no understanding of language outside her own. And others trying to parse out all of this.

Just use usted, already.

43

Come on, Katie. Using “you guys” for everyone is totally sexist. Men are at the center of so much of the English language. Why not try to make it less “guy”-centric? I prefer “Youse” when I’m talking to more than one person.

44

Somebody spelling it "ya'll" is a big fucking pet peeve, and I've been relentlessly mocked for using that and other Southern expressions for most of my life. It's a hella useful contraction, though!

45

@27, I would have thought 'you guys' would be more inclusive in a mixed group. You Guys has always seemed to define that group is a membership, with a common goal or an interacting community. Gals has misogyny attached to it. If a man said 'Hi Gals' to a group of women he would have hell to pay from some percentage of them. Men have long overcome such trivialities.

46

Look, Katie, if you want to work at KIRO, you can just give them your resume.

47

It seems the origins of 'folk', BTW, were much more testosterone-laden than 'man'.

49

Maybe some perceive 'guys' to be genderless, but it still sounds gendered to me. Not least because men are called 'guys'. I mean, why not say "you gals" ? It's an example of the pervasively normative use of male-as-standard.

Let's recognize it as a common phrase and remain un-offended, why bother?, but I don't use that term myself. A teacher may want to model respectful speech to others, though, that's understandable. But pre-sacked due to a common phrase in a stressful interview? Hmm.

Feh. Do as thou wilt.

I personally think "y'all" is super handy & I readily appropriate it as the useful, gender-neutral collective form of address it is. Fits the need perfectly, imo. I don't care if it sounds Southern to some; if it was created there, thank you Southerners! It eventually won't with wide usage. Also, see @22's point.

Nit-pick: The apostrophe ^elides^ the vowels ('ou' in y'all), as it does in most contractions (eg. don't, it's).

50

We should all just start using the phrase "you people." Since it's equally offensive to everyone, no one should be offended!

51

A male authority figure thwarts the aspirations of a female candidate because he interprets her word choices as misogynistic. If anything here is problematic, it’s guise, not “guys.”

52

"I do understand why it's annoying when those unconnected to a culture adopt parts of it and turn a profit"

Where exactly is the profit in saying "y'all"? This isn't exactly Urban Outfitters selling "Navajo" textiles, here.

And you chide the author for mis-spelling it "ya'll" (which might merely be a typo, or might be a thinko as you seem to be accusing), but then commit your own thinko of, "the word 'y'all' is one that, historically, people have been penalized with using" when you absolutely should have written "penalised FOR using".

As for myself, I'm a white guy (male) who grew up in the vicinity of San Francisco, pretty damn far from the South, but my school chums often used the word "y'all" (by way of Ebonics), so I believe I acquired the word by honest means, even by your strict criteria.

53

I've always cringed at "y'all". It's too southern for my taste. And I'm not really a fan of "guys" either, because that sounds hopelessly teenage girl. Folks works for me. "You people" when I'm irked.

55

"I do understand why it's annoying when those unconnected to a culture adopt parts of it and turn a profit, often without any sort of credit for the very people who originated the thing being appropriated." --the awesome Katie

As a pro-bono member of the Commentariat, I happen to have a license to
Steal, from EVERY where, so I hereby claim Total fucking Immunity.
Besides, it's a Fuckova Lotta FUN.

Or, as they say, Caveat Lector, y'alls.
(That's some hot [stolen] Latin.)

@10 -- "Try pointing into a group of twenty people and say "I am going to give you twenty bucks!" The person must directly in front of your finger will expect twenty bucks or try to clarify if you were pointing to someone else. Nobody in the group would expect a single dollar for everyone."

True. I would Expect -- nay, DEMAND -- we'alls get our twenty bucks. Apiece.
Check's be just Fine.

@54 -- we're Outta Control!

@6 -- where I come from (Earth, I think), calling peeps hay fuckers'll
getchya into deep shite, pronto.

@9 -- "... they really need to learn english if they want to live in this country.'
wtf. WHY? This is America, ain't it? We speak American, any more....
I DO like your Style, however...

@5. Danke.

56

@19 fuck -- that's PERFECT!

I'M somewhere between 50 and 75!

(Would I need to switch Teams?)
[how Dead would your Girlfriend make me?]!

Oh, well, a guy can Dream . . .

57

I'm with Treacle @49. I don't use "you guys" to address a group exactly because it can be interpreted as gendered. But it is commonly used by many people in a non-gendered way, and one needs to overlook that fact to be offended.

What irks me about Katie's story is that some dude made the choice to interpret the innocent use of "you guys"--from a woman, no less--as a misogynist microagression and used that deny her employment. I'm a "y'all" proponent and even used it in a comment on Savage Love earlier this week.

58

It’s y’all and NOT ya’ll. The apostrophe takes the place of the “ou” in “you.” As someone who grew up with a foot in the South and in Seattle, seeing someone write ya’ll is like nails on a chalkboard. Now that that’s off my chest, I can get past the headline and read the rest of the story.

59

If you're interviewing for a position like lecturer at a major university, some deference to the hiring committee is in order. The candidate here deserves criticism because "you guys" is too familiar, not because it's too gendered.

60

Cool. Fake story. I'm not buying it for a second that this reason alone would be why the person isn't hired. But, it makes a cool story for a blogger.

61

Jesus... I was born and raised here and we never used Y'all... It was a southern term. Only until recently because there are so many transplants has it become common place in Seattle. It's sad that this woman is not gonna get hired because she sounds like a "local." Shame on that southern professor.

62

I find the word “problematic” to be problematic.

63

M? Drid @32 - Empowered feminist women were calling other women "dude" back in 2014 or 2015, but recently here there was a letter about a woman who was called "dude" by a man, which Mr Savage deemed well-intended but sexist, if memory serves. Men who call other men "dude" fall into the dreaded Dudebro category (unless they're brocialists). Women who call men "dude" are either misandrist or misogynist, depending on how ironic/Ironic/"ironic" they're being.

(I had a quarrelsome email this morning from an octogenarian SJW, who was claiming that the Americans With Disabilities Act means that I MUST BY LAW let people use a side door that's slightly more convenient for people parked on one side of a building when it's the front door that has been adapted to accommodate the non-able-bodied. My "crime" was encouraging people who can do so conveniently to use the front door in winter, because more than a few people's using the side door creates heat issues.)

64

Hey doofuses

The point is that "guys" has, for a long time now, been gender neutral for our entire lives. Same people telling us to write womxn or latinx can't get behind a linguistic change that happened before they born?? Fuck em, they're cops, wiring to catch you fucking up.

Say y'all, say guys, it's all good

65

How about "gxys?"

66

So the premise here is that in some cases strict rules policing even obviously innocent linguistic missteps sometimes works to the detriment of the very people those rules are ostensibly there to protect? And that making perfectly Woke language a precondition of hiring is probably better at weeding out people who don't have all day to browse Twitter and Tumblr than it is at weeding out sexists?

Say it ain't so.