TheRealSharon's Blog











{July 16, 2011}   I’m not an object so please don’t label me

I’ve been labeled many things in my life, we all have. In fact, we all have been guilty of labeling others at some point as well. Some of the labels given to me I have not minded at all, others I have absolutely despised and wanted to throw off me. There’s always going to be labels attached to me that I can’t completely get rid of because some things are just obvious…..the problem is I, like most people, would like to be more than just a label.

If you pick up an item at the store, you will usually find a label describing it. Sometimes I feel like people automatically look at me and affix an invisible label to me. But why? I’m not an object in a store….I am a human being. How can you possibly look at me and label me that quickly?

You may say you could stamp me as a Caucasian…well, sure, you would be right. If I was any whiter, I would be Snow White’s long lost sister, but the label “Caucasian” doesn’t describe my heritage and the many possible blood lines I may come from. You could say I’m a “big” girl and that would also be true…but that’s another surface characteristic. There’s more than just THAT to me. In order to label me past the external features I have, you would have to talk to me for a period of time and learn more about me. Even then, the label you give me still wouldn’t be 100% accurate. Can you ever really fully KNOW a person completely inside and out if you’re NOT that person?

I’ve heard people comment more than once in my life regarding another person, “I would have never imagined THAT person would do something like that” or “That person really shocked me”. Sometimes this is said of a person they have known for many years or their whole life. So how do you expect to label me or anyone else if you only know a little about them?

And labels are just as bad as generalizations or stereotypes. Society has conceived stereotypes for every label given to you. These stereotypes are just as wrong as the labels put on. All it takes is a few people of one “label” to fit a preconceived “stereotype” and then suddenly, it seems to become law. Why is this?

Anytime I see an article saying that ” ALL people of this type are this way or do this”….I get frustrated. Has the author of this article questioned EVERY person that holds that label? There’s no way they could have. I will admit that some stereotypes out there seem to fit a huge majority BUT that still doesn’t mean it fits ALL. While ALL men are created equal, we ALL are not equal in thoughts, feelings, opinions, and beliefs. Every person that has ever been labeled something are unique in their own way and shouldn’t be stamped with a majority held stereotype. We are not objects on an assembly line created completely the same and produced to look and act the same. And if we’re different, that doesn’t mean we are defective like objects that turn out apart from the rest. It simply means we live in a world where we may be labeled many things but we have our own wills and minds that we can use to think and separate ourselves. Not everyone has the mob mentality where we have to take on the popular agenda of what our labels appear to be.

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Yep, labels stink, which is why I try not to use them! Labels can mess with your head and make you feel like you have to act a certain way because people expect it. I think if you label a person as one thing then you’re missing out on a lot of other qualities he/she has because you’ve closed your mind off to them.



Exactly! Like how you were labeled “shy” and that made you feel like you really were when you were just quiet natured unless you had something to say 🙂



I also detest labels. There has been a lot of crime reported in the Algarve bothe petty and with violence – reportedly by Eastern Europeans. People now say I would not trust them as far as I could throw them.
Brits have also been labeled as lager swilling yobs, Scots as tight as fishes “*ssholes” Irish “thick micks” Welsh as sheep “*haggers” None are very nice, but they are stereotyped



From here in America, I have heard many stereotypes of people overseas and I pretty much ignore them…..Sure there are some people that aren’t so great in this world, but that doesn’t mean they are ALL bad 🙂



The Hook says:

Labels truly suck! Well said.



nrhatch says:

People have so many roles in life, associating oneself (or others) with any one label, while ignoring the rest, makes little sense.

Among other things, I am (or have been): writer, musician, painter, blogger, published author, yoga enthusiast, artist, grant writer, vegetarian, guitar player, songwriter, environmentalist, actress, attorney, editor, movie goer, baby boomer, pet owner, poet, activist, consumer . . . and the list goes on.

Unlike Hester, of Scarlet Letter fame, I can shrug off any and every label and just be who I am . . . a unique individual who defies classification based on one small aspect of their personality (past, present or future).

If you’re interested in the whole post:
http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/we-are-not-the-labels-we-wear/



I like that argument and not all labels or descriptions are bad….I just hate when a label I’ve been handed gets stereotyped and people say ALL people of THAT label are this way and there are NO differences. I feel like that’s a misconception. I meet people all the time that throw stereotypes out the window by NOT fitting what the world says they are. 🙂



A couple of years ago I read a book called Scream Free Parenting, which contains a whole chapter on labeling children. It’s the worst thing you can do for kids as you set specific expectations for their behavior and personality, good or bad. When they grow up, they still carry the same labels in the family. She’s the smart one, he’s the funny one… and it sets their whole trajectory for life, in a bad way. The author suggested to use expressions like “she tends to…”, “sometimes he can be a little…” instead, as it’s a lot less permanent.

I have no idea why humans label all the time. I think categorizing things and people make us feel more in control, to understand our surroundings better. Without strict labeling, some people may be too complicated to understand…



That book makes a good point….I think labeling kids like that isn’t very good especially when kids feel like they have to measure up to their siblings….so those ideas of what to do instead sound like a good idea.
Not all labels are necessarily bad but it’s when you group ALL people of each label together and lump them as all the same that I have the biggest issue with.



eof737 says:

Sadly, they are part of life and even when we stop using them, others continue to do so… Sure, they are annoying… 😦



Very true!
I just don’t like the stereotypes that come with labels…



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