Don’t call me Shirley – or a guy
The Guy of the Year, er, sorry, the Australian of the Year, wants you to stop using words like â€œguysâ€ in your workplace.
â€œI have now removed that from my lexicon as best I can, I think it’s important.â€
What if you are talking to, well, a group of guys?
Presumably thatâ€™s still OK, except why do you only have guys in your workplace? Do you discriminate, or something?
Itâ€™s probably better you resist the temptation to use â€œguysâ€ altogether, lest you let a let it slip in a mixed company.
I confess I often use â€“ albeit not at work, unless Facebook can be considered my work; I certainly spend a lot of time there â€“ â€œguys and galsâ€, so while Iâ€™m trying to be mindful of my own language and be inclusive and all that, Iâ€™m probably offending someone who finds the term â€œgalâ€ offensive.
In the video produced by the Diversity Council of Australia, and staring its Chair (and the Australian of the Year) Rt Gen David Morrison, to highlight its campaign #WordsAtWork, a group of women cringe when called â€œgirlsâ€.
I get it how â€œgirlsâ€ can be seen (heard?) as patronising. Particularly when used by a man. What if a woman says it? Or what if a man calls a group of men â€œboysâ€? I donâ€™t know, the Council doesnâ€™t provide guidance. It also doesnâ€™t tell me how we shall now address mixed groups. Is â€œLadies and Gentlemenâ€ too classist? Is â€œpeopleâ€ too cold and impersonal? Is â€œcitizensâ€ discriminatory of recent migrants?
Iâ€™m all lost. Just as well I work from home.
PS. Oh, listen, you lot – â€œlotâ€? hope thatâ€™s OK â€“ just use your common sense. If your common sense tells you that calling your work colleague a â€œfagâ€ is off, or if it tells you using the word â€œguyâ€ is not the end of the world, your sense is probably quite common.
PPS. I would like to invite Rt Gen Morrison to offer guidance about #WordsAtWork at his nearest CFMEU dominated work site.