Society's Labels

We live in a society where we are hard-wired to fit people in to neat, perfect little boxes. We categorize people as soon as we see them. Our world is obsessed with labels because we find it difficult to comprehend things that don’t fit into the pre-made boxes that society has provided us with. Here is a list of things that society often categorizes people on:

1. Gender

As soon as we meet someone, we immediately label them as either a male or female. In reality, gender is merely a spectrum of possibilities. There is a distinct difference between someone’s “sex” and someone’s “gender.” The sooner we learn this difference, the sooner we can see past it and get to know the person as an individual

2. Race

Today’s society is anything but colorblind. We need to stop categorizing people as black, white, yellow, brown, red, or purple, and start seeing them for the skills they individually offer society. When something as superficial as skin color can affect how we treat people, it blinds us to the potential that they have

3. Religion

For something that is supposed to unite groups of people under a common belief, today’s society uses it more often to divide us. In a world with many different beliefs, it is illogical to discriminate against someone because of a difference in religion. The stronger choice of action would be to accept this one personal difference and move on from there.

4. Income

We are obsessed with money. In this day and age, it’s a necessity to get through life. We label people on how much money they have. The rich have luxury and the poor struggle to make ends meet. We have stereotypes for all income levels, most of which are not true.

5. Intelligence

Just think about how much we value intelligence. From as early as the fourth grade, students are prepared to take standardized tests so that they may be ranked on a scale. We are consistently compared to one another on only a small set of skills. We all know that there are different types of “smart:” street-smart, book-smart, common sense, etc. All of these things should be taken into consideration, instead of stereotyping people based off the grades they get in school

6. Interests

We label people based on their interests and hobbies. People who like sports are jocks, and people who are smart are nerds. Both labels have stereotypes that come along with them. Think back to high school and all the cliques that exist there. Those cliques were really just made up of people who were labeled a certain way and then grouped together.

7. Sexual orientation

Depending on personal beliefs, this particular label is one that can have a big impact. Social acceptance of individual traits is one that would help bring our communities together instead of dividing them on one more simple aspect of life.

8. Weight

We are all aware of the social stigmas that come with size. We see the photo-shopped images in all the magazines and we are aware how fake these images are. Yet many of us compare ourselves and others to these exceedingly high standards. Something that is so trivial as size shouldn’t be a trait used to identify someone.

9. Fashion choices

If you wear a lot of black, watch out. You might be labeled Goth. People with scene hair are automatically emo. If you are a male who wears polo shirts and Sperrys don’t be surprised if you are labeled as a tool. These are just some of the assumptions that society has trained us to make. People should be allowed to express their individuality through fashion without the fear of being judged.

These are just nine ways that we commonly categorize people. We are human. We are complex beings with individual ideas, beliefs, preferences, and ideals. The day when society drops the labels and starts seeing people as unique individuals, will be the day when we will no longer be divided. In all reality, this is much easier said than done. But in the time being, the only label you should be given is your name.

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