www.whyville.net Dec 26, 2007 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Love the Labels

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Author's Note: Warning: I am opinionated and blunt. If you are easily offended, go find another article.

Boo hoo, you hate being labeled, you hate being stereotyped, because people don't bother to know you, they just like to mock and classify you lazily along with everyone else, no one really cares, everyone's so unfair.

Oh, just shut up. Shut up, buck up and wipe those self-pitying tears off your face. Words only hurt if you decide to let them hurt. Anyone who complains has only himself to blame.

Now, stereotypes are when a set of attributes, or properties, is assigned to a specific "model". For example, I shall take the popular idea of a jock -- buff, handsome, popular, with a lot goin' on in the biceps but not too much in the brain. Or, perhaps, nerd -- glasses, skinny, socially impaired, school-obsessed, subject of mockery, etc. The model is the image that people compare others to when they stereotype. A model has specific attributes that characterize that model.

So if a person has certain attributes that are similar to that of a certain model, then people will naturally liken that person to the model. If a person is skinny, loves math and is on the chess team, then people will naturally liken that person to the model of a "nerd". Simple, right?

So tell me, tell me please, what in the world is wrong with that?!

People say they are offended when others liken them to a certain model. Usually this is because the attributes of the person and the attributes of the model to which they are likened to not match up perfectly, or because there are many, many more attributes the person has that the model does not. People complain, whine, call it judging and labeling and being unfair, when really they're only upset that by being likened to a model they are losing a bit of their individuality.

There's two solutions for this. One, stop trying to act like the model. Two, don't care. Really, why do people care?

I've been labeled as both a prep and a nerd. Do I care? No. I'm me, I am my own person, and if I share a few attributes with a model or two, well then, lucky model. I wear whatever I feel like, I say whatever I want, I talk to whoever I wish to and I couldn't care less what in the world people thought of me. When someone finally announced that I was a prep, I laughed and went "Well, cool." When I was condescendingly declared of belonging to nerdhood, I shrugged. Hey, if I share attributes with the nerd model, then nerds must be incredible.

So when people go immature and yell that we must stop this labeling, I do indeed get upset. I find it amusing when I am labeled, and I like labeling others. "Prep!" I recklessly shout at the top of my lungs. "Jock! Emo! Ahah! Mob the emo!" It is free speech. Saying that people should stop stereotyping is hindering free speech. I make blonde jokes, I laugh at black jokes and white jokes and French jokes and green jokes; I stereotype them all and I have a wonderful time.

Really, take the example of personality tests. You go through an online questionaire, answer some silly questions, and come out with a result, or a model, at the end of it. "Great," you say, "That's neat." Never do you go insane and sue the website for labeling you. So why go insane and get offended when people label you?

Simple. Don't. It's irrational and weak-minded. So quit the labeling before I go out of my mind, please. Oh yes, and I'd prefer it if hate mail were kept to a minimum. Thank you.


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