Recently in a group for fans of a show I quite enjoy a woman was complaining that the show was “anti-Christian” because it repeatedly made fun of the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. This then led to an interesting discussion around media and popular culture representations of various faith groups. I pipe up and mention that my faith is very rarely seen as anything but a gimmick or the worship of an anti-deity that most of us don’t even believe in… Everything went all to heck!
Everything from “witches aren’t real” to “pagans worship the devil” (despite me literally saying that Pagans, as a rule don’t even believe in the devil/Satan but what do I know, right?) was thrown about and I ended up leaving the group, feeling it wasn’t a safe space for me… And by safe I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d have grown another stomach ulcer if I’d have stayed there trying to correct those people!
It got me thinking about labels… Both the ones we claim for ourselves and the ones forced upon us by others… And how people look at us based on them.
Now, I know many people will say that we shouldn’t use labels because they’re harmful but that, in my humble opinion, is pure tosh! Speaking neurologically, psychologically and sociologically (as well as developmentally and cognitively just for good measure!), our minds literally work by creating chemical signals for absolutely everything in life, giving them labels
(what are called mental representations in scientific fields) and storing them for future use (which usually includes comparing against new signals for better categorisation, amongst the many other complex things our minds and bodies do!). So, to tell someone not to rely on or use labels is literally telling them to ignore what our brains are designed to do, it’s the very basis of cognitive functioning…
This lesson in neurology and whatnot aside, labels can be an extremely negative thing when used against you… But so can anything else! And I, for one, find a power in taking back the labels and using them for my own ends.
I have many labels.
Scientist (quite tickled by this one, to be honest! Take that, family who thought I was stupid!)
The list could go on and on and on and I didn’t even use some of the more offensive ones, which would make my co-Founder froth at the mouth with rage if I chose to use them myself after they’ve been thrown at me. They’re very protective of this particular insecure Animist Heathen Druid Witch! ��
I’m not sure if I have a point today… Do musings necessarily have to have a point or can they just be wandering, twaffle that jumps from one thing to another with no general direction?
I’ll create a point… My point… A point… Ok, here’s my point… The point is; don’t let other people’s notions of what and who you are dictate to you how you see yourself (yeah, I know, I’m a hypocrite, my self esteem is basically zero! But you’re supposed to learn from me and be better! Lol.) and if you choose to take a label and make it your own, don’t let the
way other people see labels bully you into not using them.
Take the names they call us, the labels they give us, the misconceptions others breed around us and throw it all into the Fuck It Bucket. You are who you choose to be, despite what they throw at you, despite life’s experiences… It’s up to you how you identify yourself. Names and labels have power. Use yours to your own advantage, don’t let them take that
power from you.
Take that power back.