Females Using the Word “Guys”

And early, but timely post on the “Gender, Leisure, and Sport” blog. I am going to keep watching my language! Thanks Jason.  Charlene

By Jason C.

I have always done my best to be aware of whom I am speaking to. My first class at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) was a gender class and this helped shape my reference to males or females. I play it safe and refer to “guys” when it is all males or “hey everyone” when it is all females. Even though I had seen women refer to their teammates as “guys”, I still played it safe.

I recently attended a women’s volleyball game at the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER. Both coaches were females and the referees were males. The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) always rotates the referees. Some games there are all females and others a mix of both. This day just happened to be an all-male cast.

During the match there was a timeout and the players of each team gathered around their respective coaches for words of advice.  As the timeout was coming to an end, the male referee blew his whistle. One team adhered to his whistle and moved back onto the court. The other team did not forcing the ref to blow his whistle once more. This time he said, “Come on guys, let’s go!” Now for me, given my class on gender, I know this is a big no-no. This particular referee has refereed female games in the past and has used the term “guys” before with no complaints. However this time, the coach for the team that took their time during the timeout had something to say. Perhaps it was the stress of the game or some outside factors unrelated to the game. Grabbing her bra strap from under her shirt she yelled, “Hey! We have bras ref!” She was obviously pissed and had a valid point. However, from my point of view, perhaps it was a little dramatic. The ref acknowledged his mistake and said, “okay, let’s go coach.” The game carried on with no mishaps from the ref regarding the use of “guys”. However, during a point in the game when the same team was struggling, the same coach that had a problem with the referee using the term “guys”, used it herself. Her comment, “Come on guys! Let’s do this!” made me do  a double take. I wanted to defend the referee that made the “guys” comment and ask the coach about her being a hypocrite but decided I did not want to get my ass kicked.

So this leads to my question:  why is it okay when a female refers to other females as “guys” but not okay for a male to refer to a group of females as “guys”? Is my situation an isolated incident or common place among females? Perhaps there is such confusing surround this issue because females refer to themselves and teammates as guys and these leaves males scratching their heads on how to refer to groups of females.

Just my $.02. Thanks for reading and I appreciate everyone’s comments.