The Lancer

Peeling away the labels

Why labels are useless and shouldn’t define you

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Labels. They are always there, looming in the background, waiting to strike down people’s confidence and view of self.

For years, people have been given labels by those around them based on first impressions and stereotypes. And not only have people let these words determine what they think about others, but they have also let them influence how they see themselves.

One aspect of someone’s personality gets used to completely define them. Somebody who does well in school and cares about their education gets labeled as a nerd. A girl who owns UGG boots and enjoys drinks from Starbucks may get called basic.

And not only do these words indicate the specific characteristics listed above, but they often carry certain negative connotations with them as well. That same girl who gets called “basic” for her wardrobe and coffee choices also gets seen as someone who is completely unoriginal and shallow.

So, how did we go from observing something as insignificant as a person’s footwear to thinking we understand their whole personality?

The Lancer thinks that part of the reason that so much stock is put in labels is that humans can be really lazy, and labels allow people to be lazy when it comes to interacting with others. If you just know that someone is one specific thing, you don’t have to spend the time trying to get to know them and figure out all of the things that make up who they are. They’re just automatically pegged as one thing and you can decide whether or not they’re worth your time based on that single word.

However, The Lancer believes that it is so important to take that time and come to understand people beyond just the surface level that society acknowledges.

People are so much more than just one word. Humans are complex creatures that have so many different facets to their personalities.

People are continuing to prove each and every day that they cannot be put into one particular box.

Football players perform in musicals and straight A students can be star athletes. Anybody can do anything that they want to.

Still, not everybody has to enjoy a huge range of different things in order to be their own unique person. A girl can like UGGs and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks and that’s OKAY. Just because someone’s interests happen to fit into a certain stereotype does not mean it’s a negative thing.

The Lancer believes that, no matter what a person’s interests are, they should not be put down for them. Perhaps more importantly, though, people should not let their labels affect them, whether that be by conforming to what people expect of them when it’s not who they are, or by intentionally avoiding certain things they enjoy because someone else is criticizing them for it.

To our delight, The Lancer has noticed that so many of the teenagers of today are doing just that and being unapologetically themselves. More and more people are refusing to take labels seriously and let them define them.

This progress in reducing the power and influence of labels is good, but we still have room to improve until labels are completely meaningless.
It is time for us to strip away the labels.

Illustration by Calla Milberg

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The Lancer

South Lake High School - 21900 E. Nine Mile Rd. - St. Clair Shores - MI 48080


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