Monday, February 21, 2011

A. Label-lover B. Label-loather C. Label-confused

Labels make the world go around.

It's how we navigate through life; we categorise and we sub-categorise things, people and places based on our interactions with them, then we encounter new things and slot them into the categories according to perceived similarities with the stuff we already know.

Labels are what keep us healthy

And help us to locate potentially satisfying sexual partners

Without labels and categories we would all be mush-brained non-functional blobs.

Of course, categories can be damaging. Over the years they can become hardened and inflexible, preventing the lateral flow of ideas and trapping things, people, places and sometimes entire races in deep dark chasms.

No-one wants to be an oppressor – actually that’s not true, I’m forgetting the whole (rather large) megalomaniac, power-hungry category of society...

...but they’re a rather nice category to forget so I’ll just continue.

Ahem. No one wants to be an oppressor and it can often be tempting to try to cast off labels and do away with judgements.

The problem is, if we don’t make day to day judgement calls the results can be impractical and even a little hairy.

...As I found out as a teenager when I decided a nice old safety pin would be good for piercing my ear.

I’d had one piercing already and knew that what was required was a sharp implement → sub-category: metal → sub-sub-category: pointy. Unfortunately my judgement system was not highly evolved enough to take me to the all-important sub-sub-sub-category of sterilized.

I totally misjudged that ol’ safety pin because I didn't restrict its possible uses with stringent enough categorising & now I have a little black bump on my ear lobe to remind me. But at least I was utilising some sort of category system and wasn’t trying to put a hole in my ear with a hammer or some shit.

In short, labels and categorising are vital for practical interaction with the world so I’m afraid, cunts, that we’re gonna have to pull ourselves up out of that quaint little contradictory category of ‘non-judgemental people’ and own up to the fact that we are intrinsically and fundamentally judgemental creatures by necessity.

Members of the Gay community, or, as I should say the GLBTI (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Intersex) community, are all over labels. You may now file them away in the ‘label experts’ category in your mind.

Most hetero women I know simply identify themselves as straight females and loll back in this broad category, slipping straight into it from their mother’s cunts, sure that that is where they belong because their genitals go in, not out and they’d like to rub them up against genitals which go out and not in.

For Lesbians it seems rather more complicated. Many don’t identify themselves simply as gay females but file themselves into a ton of other sub-categories based on attitudes, inclinations and behaviours. And there are TONS. I know of gay women who identify as Femme, Butch, Bi, Trans, Babydyke, Queer, Sportydyke, Tops, Bottoms, Gold-star lesbian, Blue-jean femme, Truckerdyke, Lipstick lesbian, Chapstick lesbian, Stone butch, Soft butch and Boi. I guess that once you get to the point of figuring out how to exist in a society where your sexual orientation is in the minority, you’ve done a lot of thinking about gender and have built up quite a bit of knowledge. So, just as Eskimos have a kazillion words for snow, queer folk have a kazillion for gender. We are THE gender experts!

All of this intricate knowledge is beautiful and enriching but sometimes, sometimes, I wish it could all just be a bit less complex. I don’t want to restrict myself by defining myself too closely; I almost want to go back to the simple unquestioning category of ‘female’ alone. Mush brain longing!

Fortunately there seems to be a fair bit of fluidity between the various categories, most gay women I know say ‘Welll, I’m a little from column A, a little from column B, and sometimes, when I’m drunk and have watched an excessive number of Justin Beiber music clips, I might go in for a bit of column F’.

This is just as well, ‘cause I wanna sleep with women and I wanna dress tough one day and glam the next and paint my toe-nails and use power-tools and do crochet and swear and have facials and razor my hair and grow it long and ride in a bike gang and wear high heels and maybe have kids some day or maybe not and make music and arrrrt and fall in love and for it not to last forever so I can fall in love with someone else later. I want all of the experiences of being a female, of being human, ALL of them. I just hope I don’t end up hitting myself in the ear with a hammer as I try to navigate my way.


Anonymous said...

fab post! totes in agreement that one can want to wriggle out of categories sometimes whilst not wanting to set fire to our whole ability to comprehend the world.
so i suppose i'm Category C, though i'm not sure if i really identify with that... maybe a subcategory... sigh, angst, etc

Casey said...

Del, I hereby declare that you may have a catagory all of your own. But be warned you won't be alone in it for long, soon people from all over will be declaring:
'yah, I always thought I was category P but I think I'd be much happier in category Del'
Del-esque & Del-ish (delish!) will soon become household words, for sure.

Anonymous said...

Applause! x x x M

Anonymous said...

MUAHAHAHAHA!!!! i will call my followers Delites (delights?). Delites will at first be like so edgy yah, popping up on in-crowd blogs and indy queer zines. then delite accessories will feature in threethousand, every second scene photo on samesame will be of a Delite (kool partees only) and all the hipsters will quickly abandon their fixies for sensible but ohsohotrightnow commuter hybrids. eventually there'll be a piece on Delites in the good weekend and then, like a supernova collapses into a blackhole, i will finally be alone in my category.

Carpet Munching Cook said...

I definitely identify as a woman first and foremost, although I think we've all forgotten exactly what that means (label-confused)

Big argument at my fiancees University as to whether their LGBT society should be LGBTQ to include queers and, while I understand the desire for inclusion, I question if the creation/use of even more labels will unite us or just push us apart even more.

Gay people can be the most label obsessed (and sometimes even the most homophobic) of them all!