I'm sitting here watching k.d.lang (a woman who dresses as a man) being interviewed by Dame Edna Everage (a man who dresses up as an over-the-top woman) and I'm splitting my sides laughing. Oh my! It's offensive, in your face and totally brilliant!
How is this relevant? Recently I recieved a few contest crits back about my WIP and they mentioned that my characters can be irreverent, even a bit offensive, and that squeemish readers may be put off by some of their lines and thoughts. Yah! The accusation came as a shock, and yet not. I mean, basically I'll mock anything that holds still long enough for me to sling at. Guess I'm genetically rude, or maybe I figure if you can't laugh at yourself, you're taking life too seriously. Anyway, one said my heroine is a homophobe because of the OTT way she reacts to a couple of lesbians she's dealing with. I figured my heroine's shock was cute/funny, and played off her conservative Vermont upbringing, especially when they pass her coffee in a boob cup and she has to sip it while trying to ignore the bright pink nipple near the handle. Well, I thought it was funny. Guess I'm just a sick person. The whole reason I use gender benders in my work is to stir up the reactions of my main characters.
Anyway, my question is, where is the line where the shock of irreverence stops being funny and becomes offensive? I'd love to hear some different points of view. Let it rip, girls. :-)