Sunday, 28 September 2014

See Label for Details

I just want to start today by saying "Fuck Magpies". That has nothing to do with today's post, but seriously, they're arseholes. Three-quarters of the year, they're just monochrome birds with a pretty bird-song warble, but then we enter swooping season, and they attack! They swoop close to your ear to make a whoop! noise, and they snap their beak, and they've been known to scratch. The worst part is, they won't attack if you're looking at them, which means not only are they sneaky little shits that wait until your back is turned, but also, if you want to avoid getting swooped, you have to walk backwards like a numpty until you're out of their line of sight.
Stone the bloody things, I reckon, at least for as long as swooping season.

Anyway . . . that's just a little rant, but that's not what this post is about. Today, I want to talk about the way we define ourselves. Because I've already had a bit of a little rant on this. No, not the magpie thing, I mean the time I talked about the gender thing. Because I do believe that there are certain labels which are not only unsociable, but they're also unrealistic. But more importantly, some people just don't know how to label themselves.
So I want to delve into this full on, and explain why you're just being silly if you don't want to be labelled. So, before we talk about the way we label and define ourselves, I should start by defining what label means. The Word of the Day is: 'LABEL'

Label /laybəl/ n. 1. A slip of paper, etc., for fixing onto something to show its nature, ownership, where it is going, etc. 2. A short word or phrase of description for a person, group, movement, etc. 3. A trade name, especially of a recording company in the music industry. ♦v.t. 4. To mark with or describe by or on a label: The bottle was labelled 'poison'. 5. To describe; classify: They labelled him as a troublemaker. 6. Physics To replace (a stable atom) in a compound by a radioactive isotope of that atom so that its path through a mechanical or biological system can be traced.

On the very first day of my Cert' III Hospitality course, there was this girl. I don't know her name, because I didn't care enough to learn it. But on the first day, I knew that she owned six cats; she once worked at a strip club; she had several tattoos & she wanted to be noticed. I know all of this because she really wanted to stand out from the crowd, she wanted to seem original and be the centre of attention, so she would pipe up at every opportunity to add her two cents. She wanted to be seen as unique, the kind of person too different to be labelled. But as soon as she opened her mouth, and told the class that she used to work in a strip club I thought:
  "Oh, you're one of those Loud, Look-at-Me types."
She was trying with all of her might to seem interesting and unique, and she was labelled - by me - in less than four seconds.
She couldn't handle it in Hospitality, dropped out on the second day. I think when she realized that hospitality was about listening to others instead of herself. But the point is, she was easy to label; she wasn't unique.

Don't worry, dear readers. You are unique . . . just like everybody else. As I said in my last post, you all have stories that are interesting (believe in or not) and all of you have something interesting about you. But that doesn't mean you're all fantastically individual little snowflakes, so amazing that you are beyond definition. As a writer, something that really bugs me is when someone says (in relation to an occasion, experience or item) "There are no words to describe it".
I beg your pardon . . . just because you have a poor vocabulary, that doesn't mean that nobody can describe it, it doesn't mean the right words don't exist, you just don't know them. Don't be so silly, just be honest, you don't have the verbal intelligence to describe something. That's okay, that's fine, it's just one of the many aspects that makes you unique. But the words exist for goodness sake, give any writer worth their salt a few minutes, they'll tell you exactly the right words to describe it.

So, by that same token, it's just silly to me when someone says they don't like to be labelled. There are labels to define you, just as there are labels to define everyone. I bring this up because the main reason why people complain about labels, I find, is because they don't feel like they are appropriately labelled. A good example is bisexuality. Because a lot of people don't like being labelled as bisexual, since there's this belief that bisexuals are also bigamists, or they like to sleep around, or they're prone to being disloyal. People are scared to label themselves that way, they think it means more than it actually means, so some of them made up the term "pansexual".
I find this term deeply insulting. First of all, there are only two genders (we've been over this), so the term is daft. But more importantly, it also stigmatizes bisexuality, and further allows it to drift into obscurity, which upsets me since some of my nearest and dearest are bisexual.
But these people, there is a label for them, two in fact - they are "bisexual", and they are "not transphobic".

But, this leads onto my second point about labels, which everyone needs to pay damned close attention to: You don't get to decide how you are labelled. You can decide how you act, so if you don't dance, then you couldn't really be labelled as a "dancer" [unless someone was being poetic], but you don't decide how you are labelled. So, I call all self-claimed "pansexuals" bisexual, because that's the reality, despite their fantasy of being "modern" and "unique"; but both modern and unique are not labels that define these people. And just like some of these self-claimed "feminists" are actually misandrists.
Also, as I explained above, if you try not to label yourself, it doesn't mean diddly-squat because others will do it for you.
Apparently, I am a Conservative. I don't do politics really, but my mindset was often aligned with what American people call "Liberal values", so I called myself Liberal. But, it was pointed out to me that my beliefs are concurrent with Conservativism. So, that's what I am, I guess. But I don't label myself as either of those - not because I don't want to be labelled, but because I honestly don't know which is more accurate. But don't worry, that's okay, it's not really up to me anyway, so I'm sure someone else will let me know. And that's the thing, there are labels that define me, and you, and everyone. There are a lot of people that say they don't want to be defined by these labels. But the thing is, they're focussing on the wrong problem. It shouldn't be "I don't want to be defined", the problem is "by these labels". There are ones which suit you perfectly, I know it. Look it up, there are words in our language to describe everyone. Just because you don't know what they are doesn't mean they don't exist, so why not look around until you find the one that applies to you?

That's pretty much it for now, but before I go there's one last thing to keep in mind. As I said, if you don't label yourself, someone else will, and sometimes that
someone else won't be very nice. But, if your label is more accurate, it's the one that sticks. That's why homosexuals are labelled as "Gay" instead of Faggot. That's why Abortion lobbyists are labelled as "Pro-Choice" as opposed to Babykillers, and that's why I label myself as a "Writer", as opposed to a Wannabe Author. If you don't label, someone will, so why not beat them to the punch?

I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and until next time, dear readers - as I choose to label you - I hope you have (or have had) a fine weekend. With luck, I'll see you next week for another blog post.