by Aparajita Jaiswal
Labels are to be stuck on goods, not on people
1 June 2021
Labels, growing up we’ve heard this word for over a thousand times, put the label on chart honey, the price is on the label sir, and many more diverse examples. The thing that we learned the hard way, was that those labels are also stuck on our bodies, our existence, and our whole selves. And the worst part is that these petty labels are stuck by someone else. Human society has an integral concept of putting labels on things they have no say in, things that they should not bother themselves with yet they do engage in this activity. The intrinsic need to have that much control over everything comes out of habit, out of the need to stay with one another in the early stages of human development. But, as time grew, and our bodies evolved and left these inseparable marks in the construct of societies.
These labels are put on us right from the minute we are born, the minute our little bodies leave our mother’s safe womb there awaits the band of labels waiting to be stuck on our bodies. This band of labels prolifers into a herd as we grow up. The primary labels are divided into the binary gender system that society believes to be solely existing in this world.
Being any of the two genders, there are expectations that our society has from us. A little girl must learn to be polite, silent, and obedient. A teenage girl must be an expert at cooking, staying away from a sparkling social life, and most importantly should be homebound. A woman on the other hand must be fostering every person in her family and should prioritize everyone above her. When they fail to perform even one of these expectations they are suddenly labeled as ungrateful, selfish, and self-centered.
Little boys are taught that they should not cry, for crying is the virtue of a girl. Teenage boys are conditioned to choose a career path that could land them tons of money. A man on the other hand should be robust, they should be quick to change a tire at the roadside, they should take care of every financial need whatsoever. Similarly, when they fail to uphold these virtues that society has their tags to hook on you, labels to stick to your existence, and judgments to lay off. Men are called feminine, irresponsible, and a lot of other slangs challenging their manhood if they go against the architecture of societal emotions.
The question arises in curious minds that why do these labels exist, why they have been nurtured over centuries, why these things were not removed when we got educated enough? The problem is when we evolved from our biological needs into functioning independent adults, there was always a trace of knowledge that was missing in our minds. All of these attributes that we were subjected to, once used to serve humans as their boat in this sea of life. The glitch is that they didn’t know we could swim through this ocean with our very own hands and legs. That this life is just an act of self-dependence was a very later discovery, until then damage was done. The man had developed an ego, status, and the fact that some people were going against the piece of information they sought was offensive to them.
As a result, they started oppression of people they thought could go out of their hands. they specified everyone’s virtues as they pleased and decided labels to ascertain when people don’t obey. Their first target was to suppress women, as they in their sense knew what an epitome of power she is. The one who can create a seed of life can surely rebel against them and show the world the right way. And to stop men from supporting them in any way, they traced a set of tags. Tags so nascent that they will cease the support at once. This seems like a plausible explanation for all these things.
Apart from these binary labels, many labels are stuck to our existence in certain specific situations and beliefs. The LGBTQ community is the first slap to their binary understanding. There had and is still prevailing an incessant urge to demolish their community as non-existent, that their orientation is just blurred and that it is against God’s creation that they are living this sinful life. The next is the labels given on the basis of Skin color, the whites are supposed to be the fairer and better race than the darker. Their supremacy has no logical explanation in any terms but these labels still haunt society to this very day.
These realms of labels and tags don’t cease, it is present at the vibrance of variants in each specific society. A notion should be held on whether these are required, whether they leave a good impact on one’s mental health, etc. The answers to any of these questions do not go affirmatively. There must be understanding that these labels are downright suicidal to someone, suffocating to others, and mind-numbing to one. We should understand that we are no one to label one person, it’s not a diagram of the nervous system to be labeled but a human being’s mental health that we play along the lines. Thus, it is our duty as a society to be vigilant and responsible to a person.