What Are Identity Labels?
Identity labels are descriptive words, usually based on our professions, characteristics, or social statuses, that we use to describe ourselves in a nutshell. They serve as broad, simple, and easily digestible answers to the “who are you” questions.
I’m a mom! I’m a real estate agent! I’m a big booty hoe! I’m flakey! I’m noncommittal! I’m funny!
Labels are a double edged sword. They have become a great way to simplify the concept of self and the process of identifying others. However, they can also inhibit potential, conceal our authentic selves, and cause deep confusion and identity crisis.
The entire concept of labels and identity from a modern societal standpoint is kind of like the dreaded moving process…
You put similar items in a box together and label them accordingly: utensils and plates are in the kitchen box, toilet paper and toiletries are in the bathroom box, all of your unexpressed anger towards your significant other for mixing up the kitchen and bath towels goes in the “misplaced emotions that will spill out in passive aggressive behavior at the worst times” box.
And so on and so forth until you’re left with all of the random stuff.
You have a hammer, a box of pencils, a wooden phallic shaped beer opener your uncle bought in Thailand but the metal beer opener part was lost, so now it’s just a wooden penis…and 12 other groups of annoying things that don’t really fit into any one category.
Writing the name of each of the 30 individual items is impractical. Yes, you could label the box “miscellaneous” but that sucks because it’s not specific enough. You at least need to know which room to put it in! (You know, so it can remain untouched for 3-6 months while you procrastinate unpacking).
Is it the kitchen junk drawer miscellaneous box? The bathroom under-the-sink miscellaneous box? The garage collects-terminate-dust-for-5-Years miscellaneous box?
On top of it all, you don’t even know what some of the items in the box are. You haven’t really gone through and decided which items you want to keep and which you’ve outgrown. But that takes time and effort and you don’t want to deal with it right now. So screw it, you’re just going to label it “garage stuff” and deal with it later…
Still with me?
What I’m saying is, we are a complex assortment of miscellaneous trinkets and wooden phallic things that don’t really fit in any one labeled box.
Yeah some parts of our identity might fit into the garage termite box. But some parts of our identity respectively fit into completely different boxes as well. And If we are the mix of random broken wooden penis Knick knacks, then Society is our controlling partner who keeps trying to force us to fit into one specific and clearly labeled box.. because, even if it’s misrepresentative or misleading, it’s easier to deal with.