Friday, February 26, 2010


So I just found out about "Flexitrianism" ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I think labeling things or over labeling things turns me off to any cause or movement. Why can't people just be people? No we have to be Indie, veagans ,rockers, wasps, womps, n-words, white trash, hippie ,yuppie, WHO CARES! I am not saying that do not use this labeling system but, It has gotten me thinking about labeling and I think it has gone to far.
I think the need to label things creates radicals. I think that the category itself makes people live to the extreme of the categoery. If you are christion its not enough to live a good life you have to judge and bring as many people into the group as possible. If you are vegan but eat honey you are wait for it..... A BEEGAN REALLY!!!??? If you are a an artist you have to starve for you art and when you have commercial success you are a sell out. The older that I get the chances of life being an illusion sound more plausible to me then anything else and with that in mind then for me the thought that you have to be everything that a category tells you that you are is absurd. I think you can be a vegan and have honey once in a while I think you can be a musician and have a stable family and a home. I think that you can be a stripper and be a smart feminist at the same time.
I will you leave you with one of the best quotes of 2009 by Brother Ali "There is no you or me only us" At least I think that's how it goes you get the jist
Al keep it short!


  1. I think you have something here, Tony. But I don't think it's applicable to all isms and I do think that there are positives that come along with labels.

    I think there's a distinction between putting a label on someone and that person putting a label on themselves.

    Some of the examples you mentioned (what the hell is a womp?) are labels given to people in order to otherize them. Labels like "white trash" are placed on groups of people to place a value judgment upon them. I'm with you when you say that these labels are harmful. They're harmful to the person being labeled. It strips all of the people deemed white trash of their individuality and lumps them in a negative group.

    But I think it's a different story when someone decides to label themselves. If someone calls themselves a Christian, then they have a wide range of Christian denominations to choose from. If they choose a denomination that focuses on evangelicalism, then of course they're going to try to get people to be Christian. It's not the label that's the problem, it's the group behind the label. If someone wants to join an a-hole group and use that label, then the person is the problem, not the label.

    Pacifist is also a label. Feminist is also a label. Pro-choicer is also a label. Progressive, Democrat, Republican, Green, Conservative, Liberal. You may disagree or agree with the mentality behind these labels, but it's a good thing the labels exist. The labels serve a purpose. Without labels, our conversations would take waaaaay longer than they already do. Could you imagine that?

    As far as the label vegan goes, the word was coined and defined in 1944 by Donald Watson. The definition he gave is:

    "[T]he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

    It's a pretty straight-forward definition. It is what it is. If a person wants to eat the occasional egg and still call themselves vegan, that's their right. It doesn't harm that person, it only harms the integrity of the label vegan. It can also be harmful (or at the least, inconvenient) for people who call themselves vegan and try to adhere to the definition all of the time and not just part of the time. When I go to a restaurant and ask what's vegan and the server tells me what's vegan, then I expect those things to be vegan (do you see how long that sentence would be if I had to explain what I meant by vegan instead of just saying "vegan"). But if there's a regular customer at that restaurant who calls himself vegan but will eat things if there's a "little bit" of milk in it, well then the integrity of the word is lost and I'm effected because of it. The server thinks the naan with a little bit of milk in it is vegan.

    But you said keep it short. So I'll sign off there.

  2. I get that with the vegan word but I am not going to back down I think Feminism and progressive and liberal are good labels in moderation.Those labels however come with a sense of being better then someone do not deny it THEY DO! Both you and I think that way from time to time. Christianity in any form is built on bringing more people in the church. This gives people a sense that all other religions are wrong to theirs.

  3. I think most people who are progressive, liberal or feminist think that they are right about the issues their self-identification relates to - and that the people who oppose the ideas that these isms are built upon (conservatives and sexists in this case) are wrong.

    Progressives think they're right to argue for universal health care, for example, and think that this position is better than the one that opposes it.

    I don't think that necessarily has to mean that anyone think they're better anyone else. They just think their their ideas are better. Do many think that they ARE better because of their ideology? Sure. But again, that's not an issue with the label, that's an issue with the person.

    Does the label "Conservative" come with a sense of being better? Labels that people give themselves are usually meant to indicate that these people have thought through the issues and come down as conservatives, liberals, or whatever. Some may abuse the label and call themselves progressive while arguing for regressive causes. I think it's important to look for people abusing labels and call them out on it when applicable.

    For example, the feminist stripper probably has some explaining to do. The term feminist probably needs a modifier. Probably "sex-positive feminist" or something along those lines. I'm still shaky on my feminist theory. But for a stripper to say she's a feminist I think mischaracterizes the general intent of feminism and muddies the meaning of the word. Sort of like my vegan example above.

    I think we agree about the crux of the issue, that labels have positive and negative aspects and they can be abused. We probably disagree about the degree with which they are positive or negative. Maybe we disagree about whether or not they have a useful place in debate and every day life? I think they do, and I'm thankful for labels. Without the label of feminism, what would feminists call themselves? What ideology would oppose patriarchy? Doesn't an ideology as pervasive as patriarchy need opposition?

    Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about this stuff lately, too. So my ideas aren't necessarily fully formed.

    Thanks for the discussion.