GUEST POST: Labels, Labels Everywhere

Bee is an over-the-hill millennial. And by over the hill I mean in his 30s. He grew up playing Nintendo, rewinding cassette tapes to listen to Weezer’s Blue Album and...

Bee is an over-the-hill millennial. And by over the hill I mean in his 30s. He grew up playing Nintendo, rewinding cassette tapes to listen to Weezer’s Blue Album and once used his imagination to entertain himself. Now, he is just a voyager in the existential landscape called “being an adult.” His greatest joy in life is to remind his wife she just had sex with a male elementary school teacher. Its happened roughly 6 times in 8 years of marriage. 

In 2016, there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, that people love to do more than to slap a big, stupid label on things. I’m not talking nutritional information on the side of your box of Fruity Pebbles. I’m talking about labeling people. Grouping them. Boxing ‘em in with a stupid cultural catchphrase that makes it easier for you to marginalize them. In the old days we called this racism. But I digress.

Growing up in the 90’s, I looked up to “Gen-Xers” with awe. They were “Grunge”, listened to “Alternative” music and were “slackers.” It was a name given to them by the old coots that didn’t understand their outlooks on life. The term was thrown around as a pejorative and marketing scheme simultaneously. Never once did I ever hear one of them refer to themselves as one. And it wasn’t easy once you got labeled one. Hell, Kurt Cobain was King of Gen X and look how that turned out for him.

Today, people are a little too willing to use these dumb labels to describe themselves. Usually its done on a FB profile, as a way to tell someone you’re offended by what they just said because you’re a “________.”  We are desperate to self-identify as some specific class of person. To declare yourself as the special snowflake you are. We take personality quizzes on Buzzfeed time and time again. No one wants to know what Disney character you are, no one cares what color your aura is and no one cares if you’re an ENTJ! Stop wasting your time on the internet not doing something productive, like looking at naked women or becoming a black market arms dealer on the deep web.

So in disgustingly cliche, Buzzfeed fashion here are the 5 worst label going …

5. Zodiac signs:

Ugh – this oldie but goodie is a sure sign that you are desperate to find a reason to act the way you do. Plus this makes for one of the dumbest pick up lines ever, “What’s your sign? I’m a Gemini.” You can’t justify losing your job and attending a gang bang with vague over-generalizations that you receive in your inbox from Miss Cleo.

4. Food related labels:

Vegan. Paleo. Omnivore. Just eat food. You are a human, you don’t need to classify your eating habits. Don’t eat meat? Great, more ribs for me at the barbeque. Gluten-free? Awesome, you can still have steak and mashed potatoes like a normal human being. But get off your soap box and stop judging me for eating my 4th Twinkie that’s filled with GMOs. Nothing says “I’m an idiot” like broadcasting your eating preferences to anyone who will break bread with you. That is, if the diet most recently recommended by Dr. Oz, allows you to eat bread.

3. Jocks/Goths/ the “She’s All That” Rule:

I think in many ways these dumb labels from the 80s and 90s started us off on this labeling craze. How prosaic can we get as a society? Oh, you play sports? You’re only one thing: a jock and we get to decide exactly what type of person you are. Oh, you listen to The Smiths? What an emo son-of-a-gun you are. It is scary how easily people attach themselves to these labels and let them carry over into their adult lives. Read: Uncle Rico.

2. Young professional:

Stop it. Right now. You might as well be telling your boss “don’t pay me as much as you should” when you embrace the young professional label. It just means you are a bottom-of-the-rung, inexperienced worker bee who has to adhere to a business-casual dress code at the office. You’re already struggling enough with the post-college reality that life sucks so why go shouting it from the mountain tops. Real life isn’t LinkedIn or your CV, stop labeling yourself and go be a human being. Telling girls you’re in finance (pronounced fuh-nance) when you’re a 1st year public accountant only works for 6 months post-college.

1. Millennials, 20-something, etc. :

Ageism, the unseen phenomenon of the 2010’s. Why does everything have to be about age? Millennials are not all the same. There are SO many factors that make up the personalities of people so why does a birthday define me? I grew up in a farmhouse with a wood stove for heat and didn’t take a shower until I was 15. I am not a digital native and I’m tired of memes and news reports telling the world how bad people of my age are. And don’t get me started on pre-teens and tweens – whatever those are.

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  • Lukraakvars
    21 April 2016 at 6:46 am

    Superb!! There’s a word I haven’t used in a long time. This post is just superb, you hit so many nails on the head. I hate this label thing. It’s like people are too lazy to use more expressive words to describe someone. So they say “oh no, she’s a cancerous, vegan, millennial” And then get upset with you if you happen to say “HUH??”. Thank you for expressing your feelings… I agree with all of it!

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