Not “Guys”

(Note: This post uses words that exist only in english, and are in high volume usage only among the GSRM community.)

Remember the moment when you realized not everyone in the world was a “Man”, and you began to feel weird about “Man” or “Mankind” when referring to the human race?

If you don’t remember, you should know not everyone in the world is a “Man.” There are women, womnyn,  bois, gyrls, Demigender, agender, non-gender, genderqueer, and genderfluid people all over the planet. So referring to the human race as “Man”, “Men”, or “Mankind” is ignoring entire groups of people with your language.

We call this androcentrism. What is androcentrism you ask? According to Wiktionary androcentrism is defined as “the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing male human beings or a masculine point of view at the centre of one’s world view and its culture and history.” Androcentrism erases the viewpoint of female humans and femininity in academia, history, and public opinion.

Another form of bias is Non-binary Erasure, defined as “the common but wrong idea that there are only two genders. This comes with the expectation that everyone should fit into only one of the two parts of the gender binary. Nonbinary erasure is connected to dyadism, the belief that there are only two sexes, and biological essentialism, the belief that one’s body is what permanently makes somebody who they are.”

Often understanding and using language to battle these concepts is called Political Correctness, but it has nothing to do with politics and everything to with simple respect. We show respect by asking for people’s pronouns instead of assuming they use He or She. Respect is not assuming someone is female because they are in a dress or male because they have a beard.

Respect is not referring to groups of people with language steeped in Androcentrism and Non-binary Erasure. Examples again include “Man”, “Mankind”, “Dude”, “Bud”, “Bro” and most innocuously “Guys.” There is nothing wrong with these words in and of themselves, and certainly not when referring to a single male identified individual.

But why, when referring to groups of people, do we default to calling everyone Guys?  I see it all the time, women referring to groups of women as “Guys”, teachers referring to a gender-varient class as “Guys”, friends referring to each other as “Guys”.

There are problems with this on a few levels, one is that in our language  we do use “Guys” to refer to exclusively male groups, i.e. “I’m going out with the Guys tonight.” So why the general use of the term? The second is that constantly using it is mis-gendering the f*ck out of everyone. Three is the assumption that even in all “male” groups, there is no gender variance.

So please, for the love of humanity, say “Folks”, “Y’all”, “You All”, “Friends”, “Humans”, etc…

Anything other than Guys.

Why I don’t watch Game of Thrones anymore(or other violent media for that matter)

In a convo with my brother I was confronted with the question of why I wouldn’t watch Sopranoes because it is violent, but I do watch Game of Thrones. The fact is, I don’t watch GoT anymore either(or at least I watch it far more critically.)

Here’s the thing, Game of Thrones is a very problematic show, it is sexist, racist, and extremely violent, anyone who has watched it can probably point to at least one violent scene that they felt went too far for whatever reason. For me it is the many ways it is violent, from turning consensual sex into rape with the male participant actively ignoring a woman saying “no”, to holding the camera on a man’s eye’s being gouged out for what feels like forever, to the burning of children and overly long fight sequences that add nothing to the dramatic narrative other than “looking cool.” These, and not only these are problems rampant on show, simply part of the way American culture glorifies violence at the expense of human relationship.

To put this in perspective, for most humans culture shapes who and what we are and how we interact with the world. Media plays a massively important part in our culture today by propagating films, tv, literature, and video games that present “violence against” as the way to solve our social problems. When we are constantly fed violence, and a gender identity that makes up around 40+% of the world population is raised to value aggressiveness and rage over compassion and humility there is no way for society to manifest itself other than as a violent war machine.

We saw it with the Vietnam War, we saw it with Iraq, and we’ve been seeing it in the constant race war that the US Government has been waging on its own citizens. Violence is the weapon that empires use to keep their subjects subjugated, there is nothing good that comes out of it. When violence is brought into the equation all that is left is broken homes, missing or dead family, and people who are so angry that they band together and lash at whatever their told is responsible for the problem. Trump’s supporters and ISIL are some relevant examples.

I do not wish to participate in this culture of violence, so I choose not to consume violent media. I do not believe that violence will ever produce social good and I am really tired of seeing show after show and movie after movie that paint violent action as the be all, end all.

In the words of Audre Lord, “The Master’s Tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Create, Don’t Kill.