Being Offensive To Show How Offensive Offensiveness Is
Philippa Willitts // 21 September 2010
The Press Complaints Commission has upheld Clare Balding’s complaint after AA Gill in the Sunday Times referred to her as a ‘dyke on a bike’.
This is really good news.
Balding said the word “dyke” was “too often used as a pejorative and insulting term”. She said her sexuality was irrelevant to the programme and the hurt had been compounded by the columnist’s mock apology for previously saying that she looked “like a big lesbian”.
As you might expect, Stonewall has released a press release on the judgement, however it has used offensive and racist language in that press release to make its point.
Using racist language, to highlight how bad homophobic language is, is never the way forward. Holly’s post on Oppression Olympics explains this clearly, and insulting Meera Syal and Vanessa Feltz’s ethnicities is as offensive as the original AA Gill comment. Doing this in the guise of supporting a decision against offensive language is ridiculous.
I don’t want to directly quote the language they used, but the screenshot above of the press release will show you what they said. The ‘P’ word in particular is one which makes me feel sick. Using it as an example of what The Sunday Times would never have said is misguided at best, and I do wonder what Ben Summerskill was thinking when he thought this was appropriate.
There is an option to comment on the page of Stonewall’s press release, and if you too find these references unwise and offensive, I would recommend you do so.
(cross-posted at incurable hippie blog)