Whether regarding sexuality, gender identity, political stance, or even zodiac sign, members of society constantly labels themselves. These labels can be validating: some people go years without knowing who they are, and once they find something with which they can relate, it can be both scary and a relief. Some people crave labels because of society’s standards and the judgments placed on them by their peers.
For many, having a label provides a sense of belonging and community. It brings feelings of validation and comfort, as well as a family to lean back on. Finding a single person or a group of people with whom to connect can make one feel safe and welcome.
However, there are many assumptions and stereotypes that are associated with certain labels. These could be regarding gender identity, sexuality, and more.
With the rise of online content tracking, one is often only exposed to people who self-label similarly. This includes zodiac signs, clothing style, and makeup, as well as gender identity and sexuality. While these labels provide many people with a niche group to identify with, they also breed animosity and stereotypes between different groups. For example, people are constantly attacked for identifying with labels like “alternative” or “indie,” when the point of self-labeling is to feel comfortable in your identity.
Some positive examples of social media and labels can include finding people with whom you connect. It can be validating to see a relatable post, as it makes many feel less alone.
Labeling yourself is not necessarily a bad thing if you have a positive attitude towards it. What is important is that you are labeling yourself for the right reasons. If you don’t know what pronouns to use, what sexuality you identify with, or even what your clothing style is called, it’s not something you should have to be worried about.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stress that comes from society and social media that causes people to feel like they need to know everything about themselves. As a community, it is important to work on building a safer space for people with labels to be accepted, as well as fostering space for those who are day by day learning more about themselves and their identity.