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The Dangers of Labels and Boxes in our Society

Every day we label and put people into boxes consciously and unconsciously. Labels and boxes work in positive and negative directions, helping us make sense of the world around us. The boxes we are put in and the labels we receive in our society define our identity. While this is not necessarily a negative thing. It does construct a starting point based on assumptions limiting who we are.

How we look, where we come from, the things we have, the places we go to, our social circle, our ancestry, and our heritage... you name it. It all influences how we are perceived by others and ourselves in society. We've all heard it before. If we are not skinny, we are not pretty. If we are too thin, something might be wrong. Being fat is equal to being lazy. Religious people and right-leaning political believers are be transphobic or anti-abortion. Bisexuals are indecisive. And having sex with or kissing someone of the same gender makes you bi or gay. Well, cultural stereotypes, social stereotypes, racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, and religious stereotypes. Where do we even begin?

Labels and boxes can simply not capture the complex dynamics of our human lives

Some areas of our lives are highly personal and can not be defined by words and spaces. Everything we experience in our lives is a unique experience for each of us. Nobody has a say in our identity, sexual and romantic orientation, and how we feel. When we are put into boxes or labelled, some of us can start losing our voices or feel uncomfortable with who we are. It can make us feel excluded. We have learned a lot from our environment growing up, and we needed labels and boxes to differentiate and comprehend the complexities of our circumstances. But as we age and experience the world outside of our safe bubble. We learn that not everything is as black and white as we thought, and we start to see that we are far more complex than we believed. It's not unusual that we tend to accept that everything we were taught is allegedly factual. But it does form our continued judgement and how we categorise our circumstances. Throughout our lives, the connections with ourselves and others can be confusing. But for some of us, using labels and boxes is something we need. But to the rest of us, it can be problematic.

We all want different things in life, and we all start in different places. We are all humans, supposedly the same, but life has not granted us the same opportunities. That is just how it is.

We define who we want to be

We are beyond ethnicities, genders, nationalities, races, social-economic status, job titles, and relationship status. But we are covered with so many labels and put in so many boxes that we forget that we have the freedom to define ourselves as much as we want. Societal expectations and unconscious prejudice have done us more harm than good. We must become more aware of the responsibility and dangers labels and boxes form as they affect our everyday lives. We should start asking more questions before assuming and stop judging before understanding. The bottom line is that we all deserve mutual respect and love. The only things that labels and boxes should be are impositions and norms to help us. And not impositions and standards that put space between us. And If we are not careful enough, we become prisoners of our own making.