Labels: The Series

Broken, (im)mature, ugly, insecure, beautiful, intelligent and classy. 

These adjectives are labels which at some point in my life were used by others to define me. As I began to think on these adjectives, ideas came into my head. They bombarded one another with their particular relevancies. Ideas that expanded. Ideas that became more detailed with additional thought. Yet the prevalent question remained: How does one successfully approach this topic of labels?

After speaking with a few of my scholarly colleagues in the fields of culture and psychology, the decision was made to do a series surrounding the areas of labels which were foremost in the brainstorming session. In the research I came across the labelling theory, labels for women, labels for children and finally the limitations put on labelled persons. The plethora of information associated with this topic is enough to write a volume of scholarly work. Yet that would oppose the purpose of this blog, which is to inspire and provoke thought on intriguing topics.

To-define-is-to-limit-quote

Do not be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this Oscar Wilde quote, for it is more intriguing that it looks. These five powerful words express the power of labelling. Humans seek definition. Yet compartmentalization limits our opinions. The more humans try to go outside of the expected limits, the harder it becomes to define and label. Our nature is to label. It is our innate gift. Our understanding is based on what we know. Our limited comprehension is reflected in our perceptions of all situations. Therefore we continue to broaden our knowledge, our understanding and our perceptions and consequently go beyond our expected limitations.

Research in this topic also brought about the enigma of the labelling theory introduced by Howard Becker:

Labelling theory is the theory of how the self-identity and behaviour of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping.

Therefore the combination of  labelling theory, self- fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping constitute the platform for this blog series of labels. The next issue of the blog will be concerned with the labelling of women. Primary research in the form of interviews will be the foundation of this issue. Interviewees will be asked to identify how people perceive them. In addition inquiries will be made as to what extent do these perception or labels define their character. The challenge this week is to compile five labels about yourself and then think deeply on the soul searching question: to what extent do these labels define you?

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