The Labelling Game

What’s in a name? What’s in a label? Apparently, a whole lot. People seem to be extremely particular about the labels that they ascribe to, being careful to define their particular variant of said label in minute detail just to be sure that others don’t misunderstand. I’m a feminist, but I’m not one of those radical feminists taking part in topless protests! I believe in fairness, not equality persay. I’m a geek, not a nerd (or vice versa). Oh you don’t know the difference between the two? Allow me to explain. Also, clear your afternoon, this may take a while.

If you’ll just direct your attention to the powerpoint presentation, we’ll get started
With the proliferation of labels and the infinite branches within each, you have to be very careful about what you self identify as, after all, you don’t want people to confuse you with those idiots across the street who obviously have no idea what it means to be a feminist goat cheese enthusiast.

Apparently, being just an average normal person is unthinkable, an insult! You have to be ‘into’ something, part of something, or at least air your opinion about something. And please, don’t ever let your total ignorance on the subject stand in the way of you airing an opinion on it!

Which of course leads to the other aspect of this proliferation of labels: rampant accusations (especially online) of not being a real feminist/geek/liberal/goat cheese enthusiast. It’s apparently not enough to yourself ascribe to such labels, you have to take up arms against all those ‘pretenders’ as well who dare to sully the good name of your label by claiming to ascribe to said label when they clearly don’t know the first thing about it! Don’t pretend to be a geek! I know you’re lying, you don’t even know the entire script of Star Trek by heart! You can’t be a gamer, you’re a girl! Even labels that might previously have been seen as negative or derogatory, like geek or nerd, are now proudly self-ascribed to. However, too many of these self-ascribers spend too little time actually taking part in the activities that define their label of choice and too much time working themselves up into a screaming frenzy in an attempt to denounce ‘fakers’. Dude, seriously, you need to calm the hell down. Every person who identifies with your label isn’t automatically challenging you to a duel to see who is a better geek/liberal/gamer/Breaking Bad enthusiast.

We must settle once and for all who’s the REAL Shakespearean costume enthusiast!

And yes, there are ‘fakers’ out there who only take up the label to get attention, and yes such people are annoying as hell, but screaming the house down in order to ‘prove’ their fakeness doesn’t make you any less annoying! Life is too complicated as it is without adding the added complication of apparently having to prove yourself to a self-appointed board of experts before they will allow you to call yourself a Sci-Fi fan. So sit down, calm down and move on. Just because you take your labels so seriously doesn’t mean everyone else does as well. And just because you define your particular label in a particular way doesn’t mean that’s the only way it can be defined. Accept that and move on.

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