Conforming to labels

by Elizabeth @ TeenagersWithExperience

Many labels exist in our world. They can range from the clubs we are a part of to the gender and sexuality we identify with. Some people may choose to conform to labels, others do not. Whilst there are some negative affiliations to do with labels and the stereotype they might bring, giving yourself labels could be a positive thing.

If you have come to terms with calling yourself these labels, it could help your mental state in the long run. There are labels which include disabilities such as ‘autism’ and ‘dyslexia’ which may help the person with it feel as though they are not alone and that someone is there to help them. These labels could instantly help someone understand the person with the disability or relate to the person if they had it too.

Some labels define who you are. Thinking of yourself as a ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ can help you introduce yourself to who you really are inside. Being these two things has no negative implications at all, but the society which we have grown up in has made it seem as though there is. With these labels typically you are smart, which is a positive thing to be. Many labels can help you define yourself, understanding that as a ‘geek’ you may not be the best in social situations but have lots of intelligence. Or labeling yourself as ‘bisexual’ would mean you have sexual attraction to two genders, or being within the gender spectrum or not on it at all. These ways of labeling yourself will help you understand who you are and how you’ve grown from when you were younger. This will help you grow even more.

Growing up and knowing a difference in your own opinions on other people is scary, as you feel like you should conform to the same sexuality as others, being ‘straight’ as you felt that was normal. For a while I made the mistake of hiding behind a sexuality which I felt, for myself, was obvious that I was not a part of. Over the span of a year or so, I had come to the conclusion of the sexuality I conformed to being – asexual – and having a label made me feel safer in my own skin and I had a better understanding of who I was. Some labels may have previously been used to mock you, as I had often been called a ‘nerd’ in my earlier years at secondary school, but which you now use to help define who you are as a person. Proclaiming yourself as these labels may give you a shield for other people trying to insult you using them. You know you are, so it won’t hurt you. I know I’m a nerd, I can spew random dinosaur, shark and space facts at you and I try too hard in school, and I’m proud of that fact. Nothing has to be negative, in the right light anything can have a positive aspect. Accepting these qualities will not make you ashamed of who you are but proud that you’re yourself and you know these things or act this way.

All around the world there are many different ways of conforming to the labels that exist, and everyone is different. Therefore, just because someone else is existing under the same label as you does not mean the two of you would be exactly alike. Each person is individual and as labels are a very broad bracket you cannot expect each person under it to be the same. Being individual is not a bad thing, but that does not mean you need to reject labels altogether.

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About the author: Elizabeth is a new writer for TWE and is extremely talented. She writes articles on various subjects including sexuality and mental health, aspiring to help people with issues she had to face alone in the past.

TeenagersWithExperience is a website set up by teenagers, for teenagers, to help with issues such as mental health, sexuality questions, gender identity queries and social life, including bullying, friendship issues, family issues and more. TWE helps others by telling people their own stories and experiences, and how they cope with these situations.

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image: do you believe in labels? by ashley rose under Creative Commons license