I’ve decided to just go ahead and be opinionated today.
I like labels. I like them a lot. Now, I’m probably biased since I really like words in general – words are such amazing fantastic things, with meanings and layers of meaning and nuance and connotations and all sorts of things. Words are cool. There are all sorts of types of words, and most of those types are fabulous, including labels.
I have found that there are many people out there who dislike labels. The usual reasons given are that labels pigeonhole people, or put people in boxes, or define people and therefor limit them. Personally, I very strongly disagree with all of that. Ok, I agree that those are bad things to do, but I disagree that labels do that. People do that and use labels as an excuse, but in my experience people don’t really need labels to do it. There are all sorts of excuses; labels are just one of many.
Personally, I find labels incredibly useful. Using a label to define a person is a stupid way to use it. Using a label to describe a person, on the other hand, is very useful indeed. It’s helpful to me personally to have labels for myself – like, for instance, Asperger’s. My life has gotten so incredibly much better since I got that label! It has helped me to understand myself better – to give myself a context that helps to explain my oddities. It doesn’t define me or pigeonhole me or limit me. Instead, it describes me.
Interestingly, as much as some people claim to be against labels, they only seem to be against some labels. For instance, I have yet to have anyone complain to me about labels when I describe myself as a crafter. Or as a cat person. Or as a woman. Or as a rider. Or as any number of words I use to describe myself. I have never managed to figure out what it is that is suppose to make some labels bad, and other labels not bad. So instead I just don’t worry about it – labels are good. Sometimes people use them in bad ways. That is not the fault of the label, it is the fault of the person who used it.