We British love a good soundbite, a handy phrase that we can slip in our back pocket and pull out whenever we have an opportunity and I love one as much as the next person. Yet some phrases are downright offensive but they still get constantly repeated, making them normalised and a staple of our language.
Obviously I’m glad that we live in a country of free speech, it’s a fundamental human right and I honestly can’t imagine living in a country where free speech doesn’t exist. Yet free speech comes with huge responsibility and it should never be misused as a means to offend or incite hatred.
It’s easy to use a statement or phrase without really understanding the implications of what you’re saying, the actual context of the statement or the origin of the wording.
So as a general rule these phrases are often going to cause offence and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.
I’m not being racist/sexist/whatever other type of offensive but // As a rule of thumb if you start a sentence with this phrase then the chances are you shouldn’t be saying what you’re about to say. By feeling the need to add a disclosure to the start of a sentence I’m already prepared to be offended, either for myself or for other people.
I’m not being funny but she looks like a slut // So you might think that you’re simply commenting on what someone is wearing or perhaps you think that someone is wearing less clothes than they should but frankly that’s not your problem. The word slut is draped in huge connotations and by using this word you’re playing in to what society considers to be gender norms. For a four letter word it’s surprisingly heavy in meaning and permeates the flawed belief that woman shouldn’t be having casual sex with number’s of people because to do that they must be “dirty”. On top of that it’s a phrase that links morality with the amount of clothing someone is wearing – I mean come on modern Britain, what the f——? So basically slut is a terrible word and you shouldn’t use it to describe yourself, other people or clothing because by doing so you’re basically part of the problem.
They are all the same // This is a phrase that is pretty much NEVER ok to use whether it’s referring to races, a gender or even a particular professional. It’s common sense that we are ALL different, every single one of us, no matter how similar we may seem or how similar our circumstances are. To suggest otherwise is incredibly dehumanising and offensive, so it’s always a good idea to avoid it.
Kids these days // The world has changed a lot since our grandparents were younger but I genuinely don’t think it’s far to assume that society is necessarily a worse place. I had this discussion recently with regard to a story on the news (the one where two teenagers reportedly attempted to kidnap a toddler) and while the other person argued it was evidence of a deteriorating society, I was forced to acknowledge the opposite. Yes there is a lot wrong with the society in which we live, yes the world can be a bad place but no I don’t think it’s necessary a twenty-first century issue. These days we have much faster access to news and in a matter of minutes stories can be widely shared and therefore talked about, meaning that we see far more than we might have previously. For all the bad there is an equal amount of good and the twenty-first century has brought some incredibly important developments, things that have undoubtedly made the world a better place. I’m looking at you equal marriage, minimum wage, healthcare treatments, the iPhone, artificial limbs and educational advancements, things that most of us would consider to be game changers.
That’s not for the likes of us // There is nothing that defines you that denies you from doing what you want in life, whether that’s a goal or a career. This saying really does wind me up.
She was asking for it // There are so many reasons why this is NOT ok and I won’t go listing them here. Let’s be honest this phrase is only ever used in relation to rape and it’s never acceptable!
What would you add to this?