Labels. It’s what we do as humans. We label, we place all the gooey, messy, uncomfortable shit we can’t understand, into protected crates. Boxing up what appears slovenly and difficult to comprehend.
We are good at too.
It doesn’t take long for our society to label an entire community. And in this day and age, we additionally give them a hashtag. For example the #LGBTQ. This classification developed in the early 1990’s. It replaced the label of “The Gay Community.” The acronym, created to include a more diverse group stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning) individuals/identities.
Apparently, we as a society are trying to include everyone in this community as one distinct group of people. But aren’t they all persons, humans? Each with individual personality traits. Hmm, can we do that? I guess we did, didn’t we.
I have a problem with all labels, only because they absorb diversity. How is it we can put such a varied group of people into one label? It doesn’t even make sense. I used the LGBTQ community as an example. Each person different – yet identified as one group of people – boxed into a pretty little hashtag. Easy for the rest of the world to manage.
I don’t want to be managed by observation. I don’t want to live a life governed by what others perceive me to be. Nor should anyone. I’m worthy of more than a box; I don’t want the perspicacity of others tattooed on my skin merely for societies comfort.
Some may argue, we label to make things easier. And as a society, we are becoming exceedingly sensitive to labels.
Recently I watched Zoolander 2. A character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is entitled, All. A line in the movie had Derek (Ben Stiller) asking if All was a man or woman. A funny and awkward moment in which we learned, All was just All, All encompassing. The satirical nature of the character, not man nor woman, just All, indeed delved into a society overly concerned with labelling. It does admittedly urge the question. Are we taking it too far?
The answer undoubtedly seems to be yes, at least by the public majority. That is until that particular populace becomes dubiously labelled. This, when all hell breaks loose and a group of people stands on their soapbox shouting “You don’t know me!”
Let’s, for example, talk about the label placed on parents with tattoos, or anyone with tattoos for that matter. Does having a tattoo make you a bad parent? No. But there is a group of people out there labelling parents with tattoos as child killers. Here is one example: https://www.facebook.com/People-against-your-tattoos-make-you-a-horrible-mother-page-1518877695066967/
It makes no sense to me either but it’s happening.
Consequently, the tattooed parents of the world are upset for being labelled bad parents. Obviously, not all parents with tattoos are awful. My point? Labels are misleading and signify the separation of the global village. A label clearly cannot include an entire populace. It’s ludicrous to believe anyone should be boxed up by one all-encompassing label.
Imagine if you will, what it may feel like to be labelled within a group in which you don’t identify. Say you are a white mother who blogs, born into a working class family.
Hey, that’s me. Do I deserve a hashtag? Sure why not, there are plenty of us out there. I guess you could say; I’m a #MommyBlogger. Or as I’ve been labelled before #RichWhiteBitch. Why not go a step further and designate me as #WhitePrivilege. I am these things; I was born white, and into a home of privilege. But I don’t necessarily identify with any of them, not solely. My story is much deeper than any of those labels.
My glass house may seem easily viewed from the outside, but I’m intricate and messy inside this skin. I’m more than all the labels I used to describe myself at the top of this piece. We all are. Judgments and labels won’t go away, and perceptions are what we make of them. But having compassion for all humans would suggest we take a little more time before boxing up an individual and placing them on a labelled shelf. Solely because they are hard to understand.
We are all humans, one earth, one people. WE are more than a box, labelled for the comfort of others.