What's in a Label
We decided that it was time to update our living room look, and it was time to start investing in furniture that we were proud of, that was of our choosing, and not the usual hand-me-down pieces. So, after a bit of research on what could be 'cat-friendly,' we ventured off to Queen and Roncesvalles, a great neighbourhood here in Toronto that is full of antique and vintage home decor stores.
We found a few great pieces that were out of our budget, but then we found it. It. A perfect couch and chair set that suits us and the cats. Vinyl, caramel coloured, retro, and in our price range. We both loved it, which is also a great selling point. A week later, when it was time to go and pick it up (in or rented 2007 red Dodge Ram), we were informed about some great details of our new seat set. Besides telling us that it was from the 1950-60s, the dude told us it was a Knoll. We both swooned - and fell for our set even more. Just because he said it was a Knoll. That's how much labels mean, i guess.
The power of labels carries into our lives all the time, whether it's when buying things (even when buying indie artists/DIY crafters' things!), what music you listen to, what you eat or don't, and of course, as the comments in my last post can agree to, how we label ourselves.
I work with women who are labeled with intellectual disabilities. At one time, a more derogatory term was uses here in Canada (and still is elsewhere), but i think the best way to be labeled is how we identify ourselves. Once a person with a disability is labeled by some professional due to an assessment, that term carries along with them for life and claims their fate - in school, at work, where they live, and how they live. Labels can be very damaging, and unfortunately, we all feel the need to use them.
For example, i label myself as a feminist and vegan. These are words that are important to me and i'm proud of them, but may not have the same connotation with others - my feminism includes lipstick, heels, and being able to walk at night without being afraid. It also means i don't agree with institutions like marriage and motherhood, but i have gotten hitched. Hypocritical? No - because i define myself the way i want to and my life choices are in sync with my ideals. I think feminism has many different streams, and while some of us are more passionate about one part of it (i.e. i am very passionate about violence against women issues), there are many different kinds of feminists and feminism.
Being vegan also allows me to make choices that i want to - i eat 100% vegan, when i know what i'm eating (there have been some oops while in restaurants), but i don't always wear 100% vegan shoes. My definition allows me to wear shoes i love because i am also a shoe horse, but i prefer vegan-friendly shoes. It is not up to others to label me, but i also know that most vegans are more complete ones than me.
My problem is when others tell me what i am, and label me as something when i wouldn't. Just like the women i work with, my voice and decision to be who i want to be is then controlled by others. And then, we all suffer from having a lack of community, and may feel that we don't fit in anywhere. I have been lucky to find such a great network here and feel very accepted, but i know that sometimes that isn't the case. If i want to be a feminist, than i am! If you feel that you are one, then you are!