Label Generation


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArticle: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

When we’re born, we are labelled as either a boy, or a girl. This starts the cycle we go through every single day of our lives. As we grow, we gain new labels. You like to read? Bookworm. You’re good at football? Jock. You have a pretty face? Popular. The list goes on. All these labels build up until you are only defined by strips of words that, honestly, mean nothing. They should not define you.

What if you love to read but you’re also a great athlete? What label are you given then?

These labels I talked about can be said are harmless, but I’m not buying it. My high school career was built around labels. What you were called dictated who your friends were, what clubs you were in, if you were invited to parties, and if you thought to try to blend with a few groups? God help you.

But labels don’t stop by what you do or what you like. It’s not that easy. See, if you’re a bookworm and someone decides to pick on you, bam! Victim. And if you’re the one picking on that kid, you are now the bully.

I have been both labels. Both labels have affected me in ways that can never be fully undone. Bullying is real, bullies are real, and people who are bullied are real too, but I don’t like calling them victims. They are survivors. They are the brave ones who lived through it and still find a reason to get up every day.

Victims are defined as “a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency.” By definition, I am a victim. Everyone is a victim. Something has destroyed us at one point in our lives, but we got back up again. A survivor is “a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.” We are all survivors.

So when asked if labeling harms us, yes, it does. But the bully or victim labels aren’t the real problem. At least not the main one in my mind. If we’re going to get to the root of the problem, that means dealing with labelling gender, sexual orientation, and so many other things that have been ingrained in our society for centuries. It means dismantling patriarchy and all the labels it attaches to both men and women.

In order to fix the problem, people have to realize that the world isn’t equal. Sincerely acknowledge that women, people of colour, those of a different sexual orientation, and others are living in a world that oppresses them, that has harmed them.

As a woman, I fear going to the doctor’s office. I fear having a male doctor because I’ve seen cases and I know of stories where, in an office, a man can put his hands on you and claim it was a “procedure.” That terrifies me. But that’s the world I have grown up in. I don’t want it to be this way for my children. I don’t think anyone does, or should.

We need to stop segregating kids into groups the day they’re born. We need to accept people who are like us, and those who are not. We need to stick together.

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