(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.