Our words, our language, our grammar is going through a brilliant change that represents how fluid language is. It’s an exciting time.
Much of this is at the hands of queerness, with people wondering and hoping to change how we speak to be more inclusive. I’ve long wondered about this subject as someone who hopes to give everyone their due (to a certain extent). Thus, in wondering if saying “Hey guys!” to mixed company was wrong, I spoke with a few experts for Popsugar. The results were fascinating.
Firstly, saying “guys” to mixed company is kind of wrong. Why? Because it can isolate some and reminds of a “male first” point of operating, even in our language. The good thing about this is that just thinking about such phrases being not-great is a start. Think about shifting to “y’all” or “folks” or something or appropriating words like “dude” to be genderless.
One thing that has always bit at me in this discussion is gendering animals. Is that a problem? On one end, you have people who refuse to gender their dogs or who get really upset by misgendering animals. I get this, I do. But it’s also…ridiculous. Dogs are dogs. They are not people. They do not have the wherewithal to understand the complexities of gender – nor do they care. They are dogs. They do their dog things.
But, still, I had to ask the expert. That piece, sadly, got cut and here it is: should we care about the gender semantics of dogs? Celeste Mora of Grammarly explained.
When asked if it’s inappropriate to refer to animals like dogs as “good boys,” Mora kindly demurred. “We’re more focused on human communication right now,” Mora notes.
Ah-ha. There you have it.
Instead of focusing on not misgendering a dog – which, yes, is laudable – we have bigger non-gendered fish to focus on: humans. Let’s get our shit together with each other and then we can leave it to the dogs.