The Aventina


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I dislike labels. I dislike labelling myself, labelling others, having others label me, etc. etc. By labels, I include the ones that identify who I am, fundamentally, as a human being — my sex, my racial and ethnic makeup, my sexual orientation — because I believe these things should not matter much in the grand scheme of things (or at least I wish it were that way — I am not too blind or ignorant to see that it is not the case). However, for the large part, the labels that I dislike, are political ones.
Political labels being self-declared, or otherwise declared, titles marking one’s political alignment, or more specifically, what one’s views are. For example, feminist, is a label commonly applied to people who are in support of equal gender rights, specifically focusing on women. Using these labels seems harmless — after all, they are just words, shortened phrases to easily sum up, or describe one’s, usually complicated, opinions on certain politics. But that is one of the reasons they should not be used — they overly simplify issues, and the people raising awareness, or fighting for or against those issues.
Theoretically, all humans should actively advocate for equal human rights — and not just that, but for animal rights as well — because, after all, we are all in essence, the same. Who has the authority to say that one is superior over the other? Especially when the only “evidence” is your own biased, ignorant opinion. Sadly, it is not that way — human beings are terrible to each other, and based on the dumbest things — because of race, gender, sexual orientation. Aspects one cannot change about oneself. This is where activists come in. People who take it upon themselves to educate those around them, to shed light on a subject matter that some are ignorant to — it is a great thing and I wish more people had the courage to do so. And though activists are usually amazing people just trying to raise awareness and combat present issues, they should not be othered in any form. Negatively, or positively (as in glorified). They are really just like any other human being, except more enlightened on world issues — politics in all aspects. In fact, anyone can do it, especially people who live privileged lives, and by this I mean people who are able to easily access internet, who have access to these global issues with just a touch of the finger. Being ignorant in this digital age, when you live in a middle class or above family (as most, if not all do who go to St. Stephen’s) is pure laziness, and frankly, irresponsible. In the sense of Plato’s cave allegory, It is turning your back to the light and amusing yourself with the shadows on the wall as you stand chained.
I was having a conversation with my friend the other day — she was discussing an epiphany that she had recently experienced — something that resonated with me quite clearly. She was talking about how when someone is labelled as, or labels themselves as, for example, a feminist, they are being othered, or othering themselves — this should not be the case. It should not be the case where, people are being othered for believing in equal rights, but it should be the case that the oppressors, the ignorant, should be othered for not believing in those equal rights. Applying labels on those on the progressive, halts progress. Instead, if you want to get across a message about your political alignment across, you should say, for example, “I am for LGBT rights.”
However, in all honesty, none of us should have to clarify which equal rights group we advocate for — we should be advocating for equal rights for all.

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