So I’ve been hearing a lot of negativity about labels lately - not just on tumblr, but at school as well, and I think people are only getting one side of the story.
“But Em! Labels are bad and evil and you are a little asshole for judging people you don’t know!”
You’re right on one point. Judging people you don’t know before you get to know them is kind of an asshole move. But some labels focus on the “getting to know them” part. Labels like “freak” and “whore” are bad because people use those words when they only know a small area of another person’s life. These are what I call “derogatory labels”, and are used negatively in order to hurt a person.
There are also some labels that are used to help people feel like they fit in. And everyone wants to fit in somewhere, so some people even give themselves a label. Some of these labels deal with sexuality, gender, and even something more simple, like their interests. And they label themselves with “asexual” or “demisexual” or what have you because they want to feel like they aren’t the only one who feels that way. And that’s perfectly fine! They aren’t hurting anyone if they label themselves in this way.
“But people who make up labels for themselves are stupid and immature! And it just looks silly to be labelled something so out of the norm.”
I don’t see how that’s true. Sometimes there is a category that may seem close to how someone feels, but it just doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head, so they have a brand new category for it with a new name. And maybe along the way they’ll tell someone about this new label they’ve created for themselves and that other person will say something like, “wow, that sounds just like me!” and it really doesn’t hurt anyone.
I’ll give you a good example of this, if you’re still confused. Bisexuality didn’t seem like a good category to put myself into, especially considering how often I get asked about my sexual preferences. Now before you say something like, “you could just say it’s none of their business,” please keep in mind that not everybody shuts everybody else out of their life. I am pretty much an open book, and anyone who has ever spoken to me for more than a few hours will know that.
Bisexual, to me, sounds too general a term, and makes it seem like I can just be suddenly attracted to anyone who walks by just based on their looks. Well, no, that wasn’t exactly right. I’ve been attracted to males and females, but bisexual wasn’t the right term for it, so I did some digging to see if there was anyone else like me, because I felt sort of left out and alone. And sure enough, there was a whole new category of sexuality, which seemed to be created just for me!
Demisexual. It may sound like an odd word, and it may sound silly to you, but to me it is a home. To me it is a title that lets myself and other people know that we’re not alone, and that there are other people who understand what we’re feeling, even if we don’t know them personally yet. It is no more odd a word than bisexual, heterosexual, or homosexual.
And to those of you who think it’s “silly” to “invent” these words, think about what you’re saying. English is made completely of words that were “invented”. Don’t be offended by something that doesn’t even affect you. And don’t be annoyed with people for giving themselves a name. You may not always know the full story behind it.