Ladies And Gents
I thought I'd write a blog about something really small an insignificant BUT something that really gets on my tits on a regular basis...
I'm talking about how people start conversations when talking to a group within the military community. I'm sure it happens outside the military community as well but I personally haven't noticed it elsewhere.
I came across a tweet the other week which read...
"If you wonder why we ask you to quit using 'guys' as a generic term, try walking into a room and addressing everyone as ladies'
So I won't mention the name of the person who tweeted that but it was a female in the military.
This of course is just a lazy habit by people in the military and that's because there are more men serving than there are females. So if you walk into a briefing room and you look up and see 80% of your audience are men, you probably would use the term guys. I'm sure even females who are delivering the brief would also fall for the same lazy habit.
You could just say... "good afternoon" and that would have the same effect... Try it now and see how it feels...
See that didn't feel too weird did it?
I have to admit... The term guys to me isn't actually that bad and I've always used it if I'm talking to a group of people. Even when addressing a group of females I'd use it as it just feels normal.
The term 'GENTS' though is a completely different ball game. There's no excuse for that one really, because gents is obviously short for gentlemen, so to address a mixed group with that is wrong and a bit weird as well. However it still happens... I've seen plenty of people start a sentence when talking to a mixed group of people with 'gents' followed by "oh sorry and the ladies in the room"
As a male military spouse I get it the other way round and I'm faced with the term 'LADIES' all the time
I'm a member of quite a few military spouse groups now because I obviously like being part of the community and I like getting involved. I'm also quite nosey...
Now within these groups there are so many people who start a conversation or a question with "hey ladies" or 'evening ladies' OR the more cringe worthy one 'hey lovely ladies'
I would completely understand this if it was a group specifically for females like the popular FB group 'WE ARE FEMALES' (I may have made that up). In that scenario it would be fine to start with 'hey ladies' because that's exactly who you're talking to. When it's a group for military spouses though and would therefore be mixed, you could just start the conversation normally with 'hey,' or 'hi' or don't even use a greeting at all, just ask the question...
If I see a post starting with 'hey ladies' I just scroll past because it's obviously not aimed at me or any of the other men in the group. Even if it's something I could really help with, I wouldn't know because I'd have scrolled past and not read it.
Again this is just a lazy habit because there are SOOO many more female spouses than there are male so I can understand it happening all the time. However it's 2020, almost 2021 now and there are loads of male spouses as well.
So the next time you brief a room full of people or you post something on Facebook aimed at a group try an remember to include everybody... Read the room!