Culture

Term ‘sheep sh****r’ considered ‘moderately offensive’, media regulator finds

27 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
A sheep. Picture by Nennieinszweidrei on Pixabay.

The term “sheep sh****r” is considered moderately offensive, a media regulator has found.

Ofcom, which regulates broadcast, has conducted a study into changing social attitudes, which found that the British public is increasingly concerned by the use of racist language but is much more tolerant of swearing.

Participants in the study were asked their views references to race, nationality and ethnicity, and to rate terms as either mild, moderate or strong.

This included the term “sheep sh****r”, which had a high level of recognition, and was given a rating of “moderate”. Participants believed that context should be considered based on what an audience would reasonably expect when the term was used.

The study also included the term “taff”, which had a medium level of recognition, and was given a rating of “mild”. This meant it was unlikely to cause concern in most circumstances and required limited context.

References in the “strong” category were perceived as highly offensive and requiring clear and strong contextual justification.

Members of the public were also asked to rank the offensiveness of various swear words, slang for body parts, sexual terminology, and political labels, as part of the research.

Terms such as “arse”, “douchebag” and “mincing” were considered mild and broadly unlikely to cause offence. But words such as “f**k”, and “fa**ot” were viewed as highly offensive.

LGBT respondents broadly approved of the word “queer” but only if used in a positive context.

According to the research, most of the public felt “deliberate misgendering” of a trans person would be considered highly offensive. Using a person’s pre-transition identity, or deadnaming, was considered to be particularly unjustifiable. This is because it was likely to have been done deliberately.

‘Gammon’ 

Some participants were asked to reflect on the use of the word “gammon” to describe ruddy-faced Brexit supporters, while others considered the term “snowflake” to describe sensitive younger people.

Ofcom said: “Both [gammon and snowflake] were seen as less offensive compared to other derogatory words because they focus on people’s attitudes rather than their identity.

“They were generally seen as descriptive words that related to a person’s behaviour or views rather than targeting an individual or particular group based on their inherent characteristic.”

Other derogatory political terms that were ranked as mild included “Karen”, “boomer” and “remoaner”.

Adam Baxter, Director of Standards and Audience Protection said: “People’s views on offensive language can change significantly over time.

“So to ensure we’re setting and enforcing our rules effectively, it’s essential we keep up to date with how viewers and listeners think and feel.

“Broadcasters’ and audiences’ right to freedom of expression is important. These findings will help us to strike the right balance between protecting audiences – and children in particular – from unjustified offence, while still allowing broadcasters the creative freedom to reflect real life in their programmes.”

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john waith
john waith
26 days ago

I find the phrase Sheep Sh##er as banter, my reply is we Sh##g them you eat them, always brings a laugh

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  john waith

Good for you, but some of us regard it as offensive. Why do people need to say anything about others anyway?

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
25 days ago
Reply to  john waith

Sometimes best to just take over and own the insult. Wrexham fans have the Fluffy sheep song. This renders any sheep sha**er chants by the opposition completely pointless!

Drat, I’ve now got white fluffy and Welsh as an earworm.

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
26 days ago

Me response to this is ” why deny it, after all the English are the living proof”.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey ap.

There must be far more sheep in England than Wales

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
25 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Owen

And far more bestiality offences …. Nation.Cymru had an article on this.

Dave
Dave
26 days ago

interesting to note that #ToryScum is not mentioned.

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
26 days ago

Any other nation, a slur against them would be considered racist and offensive. But its only Wales right? Not offensive to the Enlg*sh unless its against them

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago

The problem with this is I guess they asked the people of the whole UK if words against Welsh people are offensive, instead of just asking Welsh people. We would not accept that the N word is not offensive to black people just because white people didn’t think it is. The problem here is that others are deciding for us what is or isn’t offensive, for example I have complained to the BBC many times about the use of the word “Welshing” only to be told I shouldn’t be offended.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
25 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Owen

I complained after Alexander Armstrong used welshing on Pointless. I got no reply at all so you, at least, fared better than I !

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
26 days ago

Personally find it ironic that some forms of abuse are deemed mild where others offensive. It’s like getting slightly raped.

There’s no grey areas in my opinion. Abuse is abuse. Tell that to a child in school tormented by a bully whose only option is hang themselves out of despair because their teachers regard the abuse as mere banter.

Myself would fight fire with fire. But not all, be it adult or child, can defend themselves or take hate on the chin as others can & do.

Last edited 26 days ago by Y Cymro
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I agree with you, but would add who are other people to decide if someone is offended or not? As you say abuse is abuse.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
26 days ago

I can take a joke, but after the first 7550 times of hearing it, it wears very thin.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Yes I like a joke too, but to me it also depends on who is saying it, it is one thing for a friend or loved one to joke but another thing for a complate stranger to do so. For example I went to an interview in London once and the man interviewing me acted my accent, so unprofessional and outrageous.

Last edited 26 days ago by Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Yes I like a joke too, but to me it also depends on who is saying it, it is one thing for a friend or loved one to joke but another thing for a complete stranger to do so. For example I went to an interview in London once and the man interviewing me acted my accent, so unprofessional and outrageous.

Huw Roberts
Huw Roberts
26 days ago

The ultimate insult for me would be to be called “British”

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