What’s in a Word…

Stephanie Rice is in the news for twittering an inappropriate word. The media frenzy that has followed this incident is astounding. I think it got better coverage than the recent election!

Let’s just remove the frenzy from the situation and take a look at what happened. A 21 year old woman watched a sporting match, got really excited as Australia won and tweeted about it. In the heat of the moment, she used language that is common amongst some young people to make her point. She later regretted the use of the word, removed it and apologised.

There are two issues here, the word itself and the person who used it. Of course, as a descriptor of people who are gay, the word is completely inappropriate. I think most people would agree with that. Stephanie Rice, however, used the word in a completely different context. Which brings me to the next issue – the person who used the word. Do you think that because it was Stephanie Rice, a high profile sporting personality, it made great news? Do you think she is the only person to have tweeted something inappropriate? What happens to all the other inappropriate comments made on social media sites? Have you ever posted something that you later regretted? Ever been young and made a mistake?

Let’s chalk this up to a learning experience (a very expenisive one for Stephanie Rice) and remember that words mean different things to different people – in fact, if you choose not to assign any meaning to a word then it’s not possible for you to be offended at all…

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