Uh that’s not what was on the label…

Image Cred: Mabel Amber

I really personally do not like labels. I understand that labels can be really helpful, especially when describing a product, or item (like a soda). I just do not think it is too beneficial when labels are applied to humans (or living beings). In our current society labels are most often used to create divisions, impose ideas, and influence the perceptions of individuals on to the majority (of society). These perceptions are often based on lies, and preconceived notions. Labels can be harmful, because they are also used to oppress, suppress and control. Labels are usually based on the parameters of someone else’s (the initiator’s) perspectives and expectations.

Despite this, I won’t deny that labels can be useful and empowering. I do see where labels can be used for us to find like minded people, and where they can help us learn more about ourselves. I have learned and connected in this way. However it usually becomes an issue for me when I begin to feel pressure, whether internal or external, to be, think or live in certain ways; solely based on expectations about what is expected because of a certain label.

I think the difference is having awareness of whether an action is coming from a place of feeling an obligation or not. So it is a process of what a lot of people frequently call decolonizing our own mind around a way of thinking or idea (in this case a label).

Labels are not inherently bad, they can help us navigate through the world, and can help us survive in a world that is regularly hostile and even dangerous for those of us who do not use or fit into them. But then again, there is also continual hostility towards individuals who are born into or ‘fit’ societal labels too (these labels are stereotypes based on lies and intolerance). So again who do labels really benefit? Who wins when we live inside the confines of these labels, lies and expectations?

I personally try my best each day not to not to use or relate with labels in ways that will be oppressive to myself. I do not want to shape my life around the strict confines that more often that not come built into labels.

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