blogging gobbledygook and such

Labels

I don’t know about you, but I love labels. No, not labels like designer brands. And not labels like stickers. I mean social labels, nouns which refer to people’s specific characteristics or behaviour.

The thing I like about labels is that you get to pigeonhole the image of this person in your head perfectly with that one little word. You want to describe what an asshole this guy you had the bad luck to run across on your way to work today, but you don’t want to waste too much of your breath describing what sort of person you think he is. And when you find that perfect label that describes him perfectly, it’s such a little accomplishment when the person you are telling this tale you understands immediately your mental picture of said asshole. Or if you want to describe this guy you just had a date with and how impressed you were by him, this one label you put him to will make the friend you’re telling to understand why you are that swooned by him.

But… for precisely that reason that it’s not good to label, isn’t it? Because labels give a one-dimensional picture of a person. And a person is definitely more than one dimension; there are infinite sides to a person, some possibly not even revealed to anyone else but him or herself. And labels do not reflect the multi-dimensional element of a person. Though we know a person is more than who he or she seems to be, labels doesn’t remind us of that. Labels just seem to form a person’s identity through a particular quality or trait the person possesses.

If it’s a negative label, the immediate reaction would be yes, it’s not good to label – reasons for doing so notwithstanding. If it’s a positive label, the immediate reaction would be, why not? It’s always good to talk about someone’s positive traits, isn’t it?

Well, you see, labels are like its semantic sibling, stickers. Labels stick. And some stickers are hard to remove, or they leave sticky residues which remind you of the sticker you got rid of. Labels, whether positive or negative, tend to have a lasting effect, which has effects.

When people say I am this negative trait or that positive thing, my instinct is to shout it’s not true!! When someone says I’m a drama queen, (if I take it negatively) I instinctively deny this label because I know for a fact that in person I do not like drama related to myself. I enjoy listening and talking and watching drama – real life or reel life – but when it’s drama about me, I don’t like it. That’s why I rant in my blog, because I want to avoid conflict, though by doing so it may seem I’m bringing drama to a part of myself very reveal-able to people and therefore showing myself as a drama queen indeed!

Or when people say I write really well and I should be a writer or do work related to it, I also instinctively deny that label. (Okay, it’s not exactly a label but I don’t care, I’m using it! You get what I mean, anyway.) Not because I think it’s a negative label. Far from it – it’s very much one of the highest compliments people can pay me because I love blogging and naturally I take pride in my writing. I deny it because I know I write well here because it’s about a subject I’m passionate about – me. (Vain, but true.) This blog is all about me – my ideas, my life, my longings, my worries, my fears, my friends… of course I write well in this context. But I know that if I were to pursue writing as a career, it would not be as easy as blogging is to me (I only need to wait for inspiration to strike, with no pressure or obligation to produce something entertaining or thought-provoking every time). There were many writing assignments back in college I didn’t do well at because I wasn’t interested in the subject matter. The ones I did well at, were either about me or about something I feel strongly about. That’s why I deny the writer label… I don’t think I can be one. (Which is why I don’t submit articles to newspapers.)

Labels are powerful stuff. They don’t just affect the person you’re labelling, but also people who you reveal the label to. When your friend tells you her boss is a bitch, it’s immediately branded into your head the sort of person she is. Added by the horror stories your friend wails to you, all the more it seems that’s all this woman is. So when you do meet the infamous woman, you are wary, maybe a little scared, even. But for some reason you saw a different side to your friend’s boss. She’s actually nicer, totally not the bitch your friend described. And you are torn between your genial feelings of your friend’s boss and your friend’s tales of her. I mean, your friend wouldn’t lie about such things. But what goes on between your friend and her boss may not happen between you and your friend’s boss. The same could be said the other way – what happened between your friend and the boss could happen to you too…

I guess my point is that labels should be used carefully! Disclaimers are best complemented with it in order not to paint the wrong picture. πŸ™‚

Okay now, label me, people! :mrgreen:

Comments on: "Labels" (14)

  1. I just like to append numerous adjectives in front of a selected synonym of turd when I’m trying to describe an asshole. πŸ˜›

    sulz: see the joy in labels? πŸ˜€

  2. Oooh… lovely layout! The shapes up the top are suh great colours!

    OK. Pretty (don’t deny it). Smart. Has a tendency to analyse EVERYthing (not necessarily a negative quality πŸ˜‰ ). Um… I know what I want to say but I can’t think how to say it! Let me think this over… in the meantime, label me back… πŸ˜•

    Aw, much as I would love to strike up the same conversation on my little DBAH (I also enjoy labelling people, natch), it would escalate into full-on warfare over the accuracy of psychiatric diagnoses. 😦

    *sigh*

    Suzy x

    sulz: heh, thanks, but unlike last time, now you can use the themes i use too! πŸ™‚

    i’m denying them all – sorry, mechanical defense, i’m sure you understand. πŸ˜› the analysing bit, i admit i’m guilty! i love love love to analyse, too much sometimes.

    label suzy, hmm… (this is the generic sort of labelling) smart but crazy kid, or (this is the sulz special label) sweet, complicated, identity-searching girl. πŸ™‚

    what’s dbah?

  3. DBAH = Dumped By An Hallucination

    sulz: ohh, haha. sorry, i’m dense in the morning. 😳 but my hair looks great! πŸ˜†

  4. *ahem*

    ‘desperate’

    WAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA
    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA
    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

    πŸ˜›

    pray-pray only… so no need to murder me yah. πŸ˜›

    sulz: oi! if i were in australia now, i’ll whack you nicely. my hand packs a punch, i tell ya.

    haha, now you don’t have to treat me lunch now. otherwise you’ll get a violent treat from me. muahaha.

  5. o.O omg… damn ganas la you.

    aha! another label for you! ‘ganas.’ πŸ˜›

    sulz: yeah, that girl you like also has nothing on me when it comes to ganas! πŸ‘Ώ

  6. I think labels are just like judging someone. You see something about a person, and you judge them not knowing everything about them. We say it’s bad but we all do do it in the end. So that ways labelling is fine too.

    I think you’re, er, mommy stuff? I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. Go figure. πŸ˜›

    sulz: oh, it’s definitely judging, but like you said, we all do it, some more often than others! πŸ™‚

    haha. you know, i miss you. you hardly blog these days. college life must really suit you. πŸ™‚

  7. What is “ganas”?

    sulz: violent. haha!

  8. “Blogger”. There, that’s a label you can’t deny.

    I’m afraid I don’t like labels very much, for exactly the reasons you said they should be used carefully. They often have all sorts of connotations attatched that can’t possibly apply to everyone the labels are given to.

    But I’m boring, so don’t let that spoil your fun. πŸ˜‰

    (I’m fully aware that I just labelled myself)

    sulz: haha, guilty as charged! πŸ™‚

    yeap, but they are pretty damn useful sometimes when i’m feeling cranky. πŸ˜‰ i guess labels are like guns, they’re as dangerous as the owner intends it to be.

    hehe, well, otherwise you wouldn’t have started a blog fiction, would you? you’d just be rambling about your latest school crush and whine about the amount of homework at school! this is a better alternative, i think. πŸ˜†

  9. I like your new skin…very soft colours πŸ˜‰

    I have to admit, I do labels on other people too. especially at work.hehe.not on my workmates,but on the customers :p

    thinking of a label for you….ah,got it! “manja”!
    you may not act like a typical manja girl…but yes…you are manja especially here in your cyberhome πŸ˜€

    Hey, what do you think about Raja Petra & YB Teresa Kok’s detention by the ISA? would you blog about it?

    sulz: thanks! easier to read too, hor?

    hahaha, in your line of work, labels are therapeutic! it’s bad, but it’s good for you, like comfort eating during stress. except this doesn’t have calories.

    hahahaha… if i had a boyfriend, i imagine i must be even worse, hor? πŸ˜‰

    nah, you know i don’t care much for politics. why don’t you blog about it? πŸ˜› put that blog of yours to good use!

  10. No! Nessa! You did not just say that!

    At first glance the extra ‘n’ on ‘a hallucination’ may not appear to be important. On second glance, you may see that IT SURELY IS –

    http://dumpedbyahallucination.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/grammatical-musings/

    – as may be seen in the traumatised comments list of the above post.

    *sigh*

    Suzy x

  11. um, next time just call someone an ass-clown. it’s my fav, but not very offensive, after all, clowns aren’t too bad.

    sulz: haha, i’m sure some people will be offended by the ass bit. or the clown, depending on who you labelled. πŸ™‚ but probably nicer than some other choice labels i can think of! πŸ˜›

  12. I already labeled you here, and that was all true, so I don’t want to label you anymore. πŸ™‚ I agree with others that usually labels are too simplistic; they don’t tell us much, really, about a person. Look at all the labels used during the US presidential election, for instance. 😦

    sulz: aww, those were some sweet labels, i remember! πŸ™‚

  13. I don’t like labeling people. Just as you had written, I hate it when people label me. It certainly does give a very one-dimensional picture. All of us are definitely more complex than that πŸ™‚ We can be short-fused yet patient at other times; head in the clouds at times & smack down to earth at others…so if one is labeled at one phase, it gives a wrong picture! πŸ˜€

    sulz: you hit the nail right on the head! i can be quite contradicting at times too. i’m always up for chocolate, but sometimes i feel like pasta. πŸ˜†

  14. “vocal” πŸ˜€

    sulz: haha, only here though. in real life i’m more chicken. πŸ˜€

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