Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm revolting

I've always had a thing about labels and what they represent.
Pigeonholing.
The idea that you can be defined - or confined - by a lazy single word category.

When people ask 'What do you do?' they mean 'How do you earn money?'
As though the answer will give them any insight into who you really are.

Yet, at different times in my life, I could have responded with any of the following:

shop assistant, editorial assistant, data controller, book keeper, administrator, finance officer, stock controller, farm labourer, building labourer, painter and decorator, student, photojournalist, sewer of hair extensions, sewer of knitwear, wedding photographer, life model for sculptures, childminder, freelance editor, writer ...

So would any of those answers have told you anything about the real me?

And when people ask, they want a one word answer. They don't want you to ramble on with 'Well I do this, but I also do some of that, and this time last year I was doing those, but this time next year I might be doing something else ...'

There are other way labels are used that irritate me.
I don't like 'The elderly' or 'The disabled' as shorthand ways of describing people who just happen to be ...

Sure, this is just semantics and there are plenty more important things to get het up about.
But that doesn't mean it isn't worth thinking about.
Labels symbolise an attitude.
I don't like them. (Have you guessed that?)

So it should have come as no surprise when a silent revolution took place in the labels boxes on my posts.

It started here, with a question.
Progressed to here, with a slogan.

Then somehow - without me even being aware - the fish began to plot ...

I think it was the next step of a logical red herring here that led to them finally taking control.


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Down with labels.
Long live the piscine revolution.

So long and thanks for all the fish ...

13 comments:

Minx said...

Label fish, Babel fish, to try and sturgeonhole anything is like trying to get a pike in a sardine tin - c'est impossible.

But I will do a turbot here and say that some labels have their plaice, Debi, you silly trout. How else would we know which way round a sweatshirt goes?

Debi said...

The back's higher than the front?

Lucien Modo said...

I feel liberated, I can now be who I like! No more Mr. Toilet-Trader for me! Who cares what Oxford Crown Court said. Justice Ormeroyd shame on you.

Verilion said...

And sometimes even that doesn't work. I've managed to put a jumper on upside down! Huachinango!

Debi said...

Hi and welcome, Lucien. May I just call you Loose?

V - somehow I find that very endearing ...

Anonymous said...

Joan here. Sorry about the anonymous - don't have a password and it's the only way I can get on the blog.
I agree Debi, I also hate labels and have made a career of trying to crawl out from under those plonked on me. But... I do try, I really do to see the person behind the class or job description but it's hard man. I mean, think "middle class', think 'stockbroker', think 'Tory MP', think 'national front member', think 'mugger',think 'property broker' think... Life... it's hard isn't it?

Debi said...

Hi Joan - see this is why I loves ya! (See the next post ...)

Debi said...

Actually, Joan, I've rethought. If someone decides to join the National Front, they're making a clear decision about where they stand.

Therefore it's perfectly acceptable to make certain assumptions about them eg they're racist - they're saying that themselves! Completely different to labelling someone by their job title, age or physical condition.

Minx said...

...and tights, they're a problem as well...yurk!

BABY JESUS said...

I like a woman in tights, no underpants, just tights. Is this pertinent?

Debi said...

No

BABY JESUS said...

It never is...


sigh

wordtryst said...

One more thing we've got in common, Debi. How I hate them. 'Single-parent family.' 'Middle-aged.' 'Third World.' And many, many more.

Ok. I've got issues, but I really hate the way people think that they can sum you up in a word, that they know you. I've spent my life trying to evade facile labels.