Labels are, I think, part of life that we can’t escape. In fact, I would go so far as to say that labels form an essential function in our ability to communicate with each other, and to learn other languages. They provide a way to share meaningful experiences and history through the telling of stories.
Labels aid Communication.
In short, if we didn’t have labels we would not be able to communicate. The formation of common languages was made possible because we accepted the labels assigned to objects and people. These labels then allowed us to learn other languages because a table is a table…. if you know what I mean!
In a personal sense labels are assigned to people for many reasons, and in all spheres of life. We are labelled by our profession, our personal situations, our relationships and our associations. Are you a blogger? A teacher? An accountant? Are you disabled? Are you a parent? Are you a feminist? So many labels that we navigate everyday. I would love to know is how those languages came about, how we came to understand that some labels would be fixed and some would be flexible, for example a door is a door and always has been, but a person can have many labels that change over time. I mean who came up with the word forfire?
Of course language does evolve, even now it is undergoing a huge evolution with new words to describe and define gender, and the rejection of binary pronouns, new words have come into being. The vast majority of the worlds population is having to relearn something that they have considered fixed for centuries. It isn’t something that will become widespread overnight but slowly I’m sure it will disseminate and these new words will become part of every day language.
When entering the BDSM world you could easily find yourself overwhelmed by the number of labels that people will try to apply to you to or ask you to assign to yourself. Are you a dominant, a submissive or a switch? Then there are the subsets, do you have a little personality? Are you a sadist? Honestly the list is endless. But why? Why do we need labels at all. Why can’t we all just be.
Well I think it is because we like to label people, and have them fit into little pigeon holes. It isn’t easy to move people from one hole to another, but it is essential to accept that people can and will change over time and as such they may need to change the pigeon hole they used to be in. Or, and perhaps more importantly, that the label we gave them was not correct. I have a huge amount of respect to those who are big enough to admit they got something wrong, because it takes more coursge to do it. Someone who leaves a long term relationship in which they were submissive may decide to explore their dominant side. In this instance their focus has changd. We, and they, must move their label accordingly. Another example would be when your first impression of a person is wrong. Perhaps they seemed judgemental, but were actually holding back because they were nervous. These too require an adjustment but this time only on the observers part.
I think it is only fair to say that given the fluid nature of our personalities, we must accept that labels do not always accurately define us, and it is ok to reject the labels that others place on us. We are more than one thing, we are the sum of many different parts, and those parts evolve and change constantly.
On a side note…
I don’t know if you have seen this in the news with the other horrible things going on, but almost everyone’s star signs changed recently as there are 13 constellations not 12. Now, I imagine that when our ancestors created the horoscopes they could only see 12, so it isn’t that they did anything wrong. My own sign has changed and after a lifetime as a Libra I am now a Virgo. See how easily labels change?
This post was inspired by Tell Me About “Labels” and I encourage you to click HERE and read more fabulous posts inspired by this topic.