Labels

Labels.

Everyone uses them, and everyone seems to agree on them. But I, for one, do not like them.

A label instantly places people in a box. It gives them expectations. When someone is labeled as gay, the person who calls the gay person that has expectations that they expect the gay person to live up to. The so called gay person has expectations that they suddenly hold themselves to. Everyone expects them to act in a certain way. They know that everyone expects them to act in a certain way.

Society, society does all of this.

Now this isn’t going to be a tirade against society, I’m not that type of person.

But these labels, they pervade everything.

People as a whole feel the necessity to label everything.

Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Christian. Catholic. Muslim. Hindu. Depressed. Happy. Red. White. Black. Asian. Mexican. Latino. Gansta. Punk. Straight-edge. Druggie. Hippie. Hipster. Geek. Nerd. Bipolar. Schizophrenic. Suicidal. Jock. College student. Teenager. ADHD. ADD. Drunk. Anorexic. Bulimic. Moody. Bitchy. Jackass. Douche.

They all place preconceptions and expectations on every person who is called them, whether it is intentional or not; and every person can look at someone and they see things they expect.

What happens when someone tries to break the mold?

They get stuffed back in. They’re told by society that it’s not possible to break out of that box. That’s their box and theirs alone.

They aren’t allowed to change boxes.

Ever.

And don’t you dare try.

Suddenly, once a person has a label, that’s who they are. That’s what they act like.

You’re gay? You like every guy you see, you’re willing to do anything to have sex with a guy, you like shopping, your voice is high pitched, and you hate sports (preferring more feminine things like cooking and sappy movies).

You’re a born-again Christian? You believe that everyone is damned to hell for their sins unless they commit their lives to Jesus, you do nothing but go to church all the time, you say grace, you’re just happy, happy, happy, you only talk about God, and you never hang out with people who drink or get high.

You’re Asian? You’re obviously from China, you’re smart and like to do school work, you’re as smart as they come, are fantastic at math, you’re parents always expect you to get A’s in classes, and you’re going to be a doctor someday.

Give me any word, and I’m sure that there are any number of stereotypes out there that will just as easily apply.

You’re a college student? You go out and get hammered every weekend and never go to class.

You’re a teenager? You rebel against your parent’s any chance you get just because you hate them.

You can’t sit still at your desk in school? ADHD.

You sit and play video games all day? You’re lazy.

You’re overweight? You’re a slob.

You’re really thin? You just wanna look pretty and probably have an eating disorder.

You’re a woman? You’re frail and need to be protected.

You’re a man? You’re strong and should never cry.

Dear God will these stereotypes and labels ever stop??

Is it possible to be an overweight person who is perfectly happy with the way they are? Is it possible to be a man who cries and watches love stories? Is it possible to be a woman who loves to watch sports? Is it possible to be a jock who loves to read as well? Is it possible to be from Asia and not be the smartest person? Is it possible to be a believer in Jesus and not want to force your beliefs on everyone? Is it possible to be a lesbian AND love God?

Why must people be confined to one thing?

Why is it such a big deal that we need to have labels?

Why can’t you just be you. You happen to be from Mexico, enjoy reading, and love to listen to classical music while you work out in the gym three days a week despite being overweight and never losing the extra ten pounds that you’re really not that concerned about anyways?

Why can’t I just be myself?

Why does everyone need a label to define things?

I can honestly say that I don’t have an answer…but I know that I don’t look at people like that. I don’t peg people in boxes. I see no reason to, and I wouldn’t want to be pegged in a box myself. Get to know me, and you’ll get to know a lot of things about me. But don’t expect me to label myself just for you, because I won’t do it. And I wouldn’t want you to do it either.

All in all, I get kind of frustrated when a person’s first introduction is something like “Hi, my name’s Joe and I’m gay.”

Why not just start with “Hi, my name’s Joe.”

I’ll figure out the rest as we become friends. Just my thoughts anyways.

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