That's Offensive #IWSG

Happy February, everybody! I hope you're all in for a great month.

Recently, I had one of my writing insecurities materialize and roar at me like a tiny little dragon. While posting on a Facebook business page for my day job, I used a phrase that I say pretty regularly. I think it's snappy and cute, but it turns out, one of the customers found it offensive. (The phrase was: "make like a baby and head out" - as in, make like a tree and leave.)

For the life of me, I still can't understand why she was offended, and this makes me wonder if there are parts of my published works that people find offensive, things that I would never expect to be interpreted that way. I often feel like we've become an overly politically-correct culture, so I don't mind offending people if I'm being intentionally offensive, but I don't want to unintentionally offend them.

I guess this is why we have crit partners and editors and eventually reviewers - to help us only be offensive when we want to be, hehe. Thank you for listening. :)

I answered this month's question (How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?) in the course of answering last months question, so you can see that here.

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


Jennifer Lane said…
Hmm. So the reader didn't offer a reason for why that phrase was offensive to her? Puzzling. I want to be considerate of others' feelings AND it seems impossible not to offend someone these days. I was surprised to learn the phrase "get gypped" is a slur against gypsies, so I try not to use it but I'm sure I say other things that may be unintentionally offensive.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
That person was just over-sensitive. The whole world is that way now. You probably do have "offensive" stuff in your books. I'm sure we all do. But if we write not to offend anyone, then our writing will be really weak and meaningless.
I'd never heard that one before, but it made me snort with laughter. :)
Crystal Collier said…
People choose to be offended by all kinds of things--and yes, it is a choice. This totally relates to what I blogged about today. We can try to be neutral and not give offense, but the reality is, no matter what you do, someone will be offended. Often, the building of a relationship happens in the aftermath.
Karen Baldwin said…
LMAO! I've never heard that phrase - make like a baby and head out. I think it's hysterically funny. Ya just can't please everyone.
M.J. Fifield said…
I hadn't heard that phrase before, either. It made me laugh, too. :)

I don't know if I've offended anyone with my writing, but I'm sure I have or will. Because you really can't please everyone—especially not in this current atmosphere. But so long as that person I've offended isn't my mother, I can deal. Probably. :)
I think it's funny.
Everyone's offended these days. You can't worry about it.
S.A. Larsenッ said…
I agree with you that the world has evolved into a must-have political correctness universe. It's overwhelming, to be honest. And here's more honesty: I think it's funny, too. I actually laughed when I first read it.
Janie Junebug said…
Uh . . . I've never heard that saying before, but I think it's funny. I've never known you to be offensive in any way.

People are strange. Political correctness has gotten way, way out of control. Let it go! It's funny!
It seems like every thing offends somebody. Society is way too sensitive. I've worried about that too in my own writing but we can't know everyone's minds.
Cherie Colyer said…
Some people are easily offended. Look at the list of banned books. On this month's questions, I notice adverbs too, and other little things that my CPs or editors point out in my writing. :)
Chrys Fey said…
People can take anything offensive now. I never write anything (in a book or comment) that's meant to be offensive, but other people have a different way of interpreting things. And with comments/texts, tones aren't supplied so the reader can incorrectly read your words with a negative tone. I've had this happen to me. :\
Sarah Foster said…
I've never heard that phrase before but I have no idea why someone would find it offensive!
I definitely wouldn't want to unintentionally offend someone (and I can't say wanting to intentionally offend ever really happens, either). But I guess some people are just overly-sensitive or are even looking to be offended just so they can make a fuss.
Olga Godim said…
You're right: we're becoming overly 'politically-correct' society. Some words are banned for no reason. People could get offended by the strangest things. Even writing about a culture other than your own could be branded exploitative. It would be nice if we could free ourselves from those shackles, but I don't know how.
Misha Gerrick said…
Sigh. Yeah I don't know what's so offensive about that. I probably also have some offensive stuff in my writing. Everyone is bound to get offended about something.

But like you said, it's probably better to know you've got it coming.
Karen Lynn said…
Good luck on not offending people unintentionally! Someone's always going to take things the wrong way, or not quite understand what was said, or see it from a different angle. I think your Lady probably took a couple seconds, and then realized exactly what babies head out of, and then complained. But then, again, she could be advocating for the representation of children born in breach births, so maybe you should have said, head, feet, or ass out.
Juneta key said…
That was a new phrase for me but I did not find it offensive. I agree with and don't understand either. Go Figure.
Happy IWSG Day!
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

dolorah said…
You can't please everyone. And there are always people who deliberately find things to be offended about. If you're not being deliberately offensive and only one person in lots get offended, then shrug it off.
F. Stone said…
No, not offensive to me at all. Quite amusing. The way I see it, if my intentions was not to offend, or be rude, or insulting, the overly sensitive beings can suck it up or leave me alone. LOL
Nicola said…
Sometimes, we can say things that may unintentionally offend others. It happens. We all experience different things in life. Perhaps someone said that particular phrase to your client in a derogatory manner at some point and it brought back a nasty memory. I'm sure you've sorted it. I wouldn't worry too much. Have a super week.

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