I am Not a Dude or a Guy

Dude… Hey guys…

I’ve been noticing the growing trend to use ‘dude’ and ‘guys’ as an informal, generic greeting. My Mother really dislikes this. When they come to take our order in a restaurant and say “What can I get you guys?” She cringes, politely. I understand it isn’t meant to be annoying. Yet, I’ve been thinking about it… It IS annoying. It’s also a throwback to the days when women were not counted as people.

How far have we come (as women) if we are excluded in this simple, casual way? Not a big deal, is it? What bee have you got in your bonnet. Don’t get your knickers in a knot or maybe we are just being way too¬†sensitive¬†and girlie about it. Or maybe, you should see what your husband thinks about it, little lady.

I don’t like it.

It is far too informal for general use. I don’t like being treated that casually by someone I am not on a first name basis with. I’d prefer a little respect, a little distance and a little space from people who don’t know me well enough to call me by name. I’m not unfriendly but I’m not desperate to have everyone like me either.

It is directed to men only. Look up the words dude and guy in the dictionary, they don’t refer to women. So we are excluded and in such a way that it is taken for granted that we aren’t being excluded. To protest makes us seem uptight bitches. I’m sure women have been called worse in our fight to gain rights for ourselves.

To me this feels disrespectful to all the women in our past who stood up and took the hard knocks in order to get women this far. How would they feel to read the ads for WordPress WordCamp directed to “Dude”? How would they feel to have the customer service person label them “guys”? How would it be to get an email from a group of women asking “how many of you guys are going to attend?” What progress was made if we are backsliding and not even noticing it happen?

I am a woman. I am a person. I am not a dude.

5 thoughts on “I am Not a Dude or a Guy

  1. I think it’s a younger generation thing. A lady in my neighborhood calls everyone “dude”, even the girls! She coaches lacrosse and that’s how all the girls refer to each other – “dude”.

    I used to cringe when she called my daughter “dude”, but now sadly I’m used to it.

  2. The first time my Mother mentioned it I brushed it off as not being a big deal. But, since then I have seen it come up more and more often. I can understand in a social group where it is the accepted standard. But, it isn’t right outside of that. It really has begun to annoy me. Seeing it used in a WordCamp ad a few times today I decided to do something rather than just let it go.

  3. I consider myself, among many other things, an amateur linguist or at least an avid word watcher. My guess is these terms are stretching to include both genders because, for the most part, social and work situations in the Western world no long are gender specific. In time, the dictionary may change for “guys” to mean a non-formal term for a group of mixed gender.

    On a personal note, I’d rather be referred to as a “dude” or included in “you guys” than a “miss” or “lady” or some other term commonly denoting my apparent youth and gender.
    .-= Tina Kubala´s last blog ..Museum and Arts Center in Sunny Sequim =-.

  4. If social and work situations are no longer gender specific then why make a point of referring to gender at all? If you refer to a crowd of people as “Hey girls” do you think they will feel you are gender neutral? Even this blog isn’t gender neutral. It’s not focused on women exclusively but I write what I know, from my own slant on life and part of that is from the point of view of a woman.

    I think it is smarter to not bring gender into it at all. Just because you don’t say dude or guys does not mean the other option is miss or lady or even hey you. How about WordPress fan in an ad for WordCamp. How about ‘hey everyone’ if they want to be overly familiar in that way?

    Why bring gender into it at all unless there is some underlying reason? I think it does show some hidden bias or stereotype or agenda to refer to a group of people as men. If you feel people are not gender specific then why is it there at all? It’s not like there aren’t endless options to bringing gender into it in the first place.

  5. Chris, you made me snort iced tea out my nose!

    Tina, I agree with you! I use “you guys” all the time, as sort of a Northern version of the Southern “y’all” … I don’t think of it as gender-specific at all, and I’m always surprised on the rare occasion that someone (usually rather stuffy) objects to it. “Folks” also works, but it sounds a little old-fashioned and “countrified” to me … and “peeps” is another option, but I feel a little silly with that one. And I’d only use “ladies” or “girls” if I were trying to be sarcastic!
    .-= Jane Rubinsky´s last blog ..Winning =-.

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