Story time! Let’s live in the hypothetical for a moment.
A group of friends are having a chat on Facebook (or Twitter, etc.). One of the people in the group says something to another friend, talking about me. Rather than say my name, this person refers to me as the “Dancing Queen”.
That’s a toughy. I don’t think there’s enough information for you to make that call one way or the other. I’m a dancer, sure. Sometimes people call gay men “queens”, but it’s not necessarily mean-spirited. Not to mention the fact that “Dancing Queen” was a pretty popular song by ABBA that was later remade by the A*Teens and is a commonly used idiom in English. Whether it was offensive or not depends on A) the context, B) the tone, C) the delivery and D) the relationship between the person who said it and who it was directed at. And from reading it online, how are you supposed to get an idea about all of that? Answer: you can’t.
In today’s culture, people are hypersensitive. Don’t misunderstand that. It’s not that they’re over sensitivity or that they’re TOO sensitive. For better or for worse, it’s just that they’re extremely sensitive. In the age of extreme political correctness, it’s not really all that surprising and we only have ourselves to blame. Anyone in the political sphere knows all too well that whatever you say can and will be used against you (and they wouldn’t even have to wait to be in a court of law to do it).
Do I find something like that offensive when it’s directed at me? No. I kind of embrace it and would refer to myself that way sometimes as a joke. Then again, I’m pretty comfortable with myself and don’t really take offense that easily. But can I see why other people might see that and be offended by the snub at my sexuality? Sure. It could have the air of a derogatory remark under certain circumstances – as someone not on the inside of the joke, there’s absolutely no way of knowing if it’s in jest or not. And when you’re dealing with the written word on the Internet in the world of social media…well, it’s not something that you want to take a chance with; it might go viral before you realize it and you’ll be forever associated with the cruel or stupid thing you’ve said (I think that the contestant from South Carolina at the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant could vouch for that).
Have you ever had anything like that happen to you? Were you phased by it? If not, would you be offended by a comment like that directed at your race/religion/sexuality/gender/etc.? Is it a personality thing? Is it a generational thing? Give me a shout, let me know what you think.