I'm a bit rusty now on the blog post front, so you'll have to forgive me in advance; I don't plan to edit the following text (I usually don't when it comes to my entries) but in this case, I'm both out of practice and actually not at all planning to revise or condense in any way. I just want to write a post!
So, that said:
I've been thinking about labels. Noticing how others use them. How they can impede us in our goals. Talking to people about it.
Arguments, non-arguments...but mostly thoughts.
This isn't anything new for me. I've always been sensitive to the idea of labels. I'd say I almost militantly resisted them. Sometime in high school, I resisted considering myself as a feminist. That label--particularly at an all-girls school where we constantly walked the line between sleepover party intimacy and prom-court-style hostility--was a no-no, and if adopted, would have surely meant I'd never have a boyfriend. When I first stopped eating meat five years ago, I refused to call myself a vegetarian. I just was a person who chose not to eat meat. I hated the stigmas that, before anybody even knew my choice, were already descending upon me.
Likewise, when I was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter about my artwork, I made the mistake of saying that I didn't want to be called an artist. At this point, and because newspaper interviews can be skewed, I totally forget the context, but when drawn out in the final piece, it made me look pretty bad, as though I didn't know what I wanted to do. But in my mind that had been clear all along; I wanted to make art, but art has many forms.
More and more, I'm finding that my world view is full of vast spectrums of being. (I do think I have a slight twinge of synesthesia to which we might attribute the nuanced worldview. Certain spoons have subtly different personalities than others, 4 is a different person than 9. So when it comes to actual people, to myself, shit can be pretty confusing!). There are so many spaces in between being a man, being a woman, gay, straight, rich, poor, black, white, artist, banker. Why massacre the rainbow with a word? It just seems a bit brutal, honestly. And maybe I like using lots of words to describe things a little too much...maybe that's my problem. Or maybe it's just how I understand. Things.
Eventually, I figured out that labels, when used appropriately can be very powerful in terms of communicating a point to the rest of the world. So, if people ask, I am a vegetarian, feminist, artist. Primarily because all three are causes I'm invested in from a marketing, soap-box standpoint. And to get a message across at times you need to simplify your argument to a stance, which though complex and nuanced is still a stance that is slightly more powerful because it is shared by others. In reality, I'm not 100% anything. And, when it comes to issues of politics, religion, sexuality and gender, shit gets a little muddled, and I have a way harder time answering.
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