I'm at LISA13 right now and I have a couple of blog posts percolating, but this one I can do right now. I went to the two Women in Advanced Computing events here and as usual they covered things allies (people not recognized as women who wish to help out) can do to help out. One of the best ways is to call people on their sexist bullshit when you see it happen, but sometimes we can't use the language we otherwise would or maybe indicating dissent is an actively dangerous thing to do.
That is some sexist bullshit right there.
What you'd like to say. Maybe you actually can, and if so, great! Do so. Maybe the culture of the group you're in accepts that kind of blunt statement and it's ok.
Or maybe it isn't. Maybe that's the kind of statement you make when you're perfectly prepared to break all relations with everyone else in there, but you don't want to do that. There are graduated ways to indicate that something is problematic and still maintain relations within that group.
Someone might be offended by that.
To people from the American mid-west, where non-confrontation is taken to a high art, this is actually a moderately strong statement. It indicates offense is possible here, and we should be wary.
To everyone else in the US it's more, "aaand so would me saying you don't look good in that color. What?"
It's weak-sauce. Don't use it unless you're in a room full of mid-westerners or simply can't indicate stronger offense without consequences you can't live with.
Someone will be offended by that.
Very strong words to a midwesterner, and language that even the coasties would recognize as 'possibly a problem here'. It flatly states that offense will happen, but doesn't identify who might be offended. This might be strong enough to get people to think about what they just said/wrote. Or not.
$Group may be offended by that.
This identifies the offended group that may be suffering offense. This starts the process of assigning ownership of the offense to something other than an indefinite 'they'. Identifying the $group may make people thing about what they just said. As with the indefinite version of this, it's still a pretty weak statement but at least it names who the offense will be experienced by.
$Group will be offended by that.
This flatly states that $Group will be offended. This is stronger than the nebulous 'someone' in that it identifies the group and is more likely to promote empathy towards the group and thus be a stronger prod towards change.
I am offended by that.
The strongest thing you can say without resorting to profanity or explicit accusation. It assigns ownership of the offense to the person right in front of them. You are offended, so own it. They can't dismiss the offense without dismissing you, and if they do that, that's a very useful thing to know about the people in the group.