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Reposted Reidr Daniels's forum.

I need your help. I have a concern about my use of language that might offend certain readers. I'm conscious of the fact that we live in an era in which many people are inclined to villify you over something you say, or write, if it doesn't fit their sense of what's appropriate. Which leads me to pose a question. But first, some context -- I'm writing a trilogy. My main protagonist is a young woman. She's striving to prove herself, in an effort to become a leader. And she's doing it in the most challenging of men's worlds -- 16th century pirates. Her principal detractor, a pirate captain/villain, has taken to referring to her as "the Bitch". It's not a word I actually ever use in public discourse. But it seems appropriate for both the era (16th century) and the nature of the villain. I've contemplated using a different word, such as "Wench", but it doesn't seem to offer up the same sense of feeling/emotion/resentment that my villain would actually have. So here's my question: Is it reasonable/acceptable for me to use the B word in this context? Or should I avoid potentially negative feedback and use a word that doesn't seem as true to my villain's character? I'm male, writing about a female as my main protagonist. So I'm open to a lot of criticism if I make the wrong choice here. I welcome your thoughts.

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