Societies Label Maker: People


Ysabella Atehortua, Editor-in-Chief

   I began my plant based diet one year ago and during this time what has interested me the most is how strong the drive in others is to turn this small part of my personality into my defining thing, my label. As we grow up and begin to make our own decisions, these decisions start to become our labels. I am the vegan. You could be the swimmer, the one who is in a band– whatever it is. I have found that our society is so uncomfortable with the unknown, that we need to label it. In doing this we can ignore having to really understand.

   Our society demands you to label yourself: I am a boy, I am gay, I am a republican. We have forgotten that there is so much more to people than that. The land of the free has demanded that we live in black and white. We forget that the human mind is so much more complex than that, if someone labels them-self as a democrat, they stand for abortion, climate change, gun control, and free healthcare. But how crazy that over 16 billion species live on the planet, and we are the only one that believe a set of ideas can define a person.

   In this past election we saw hate. We saw pure contempt for the other side— I am guilty of it as much as the next person. But in this we forgot how to understand one another. If we look at the trends, this wasn’t an election won by money, by race, area, etc. We forget that the other side is made up of people like us, and to those people we make no sense.

   What’s worse is how we connote these labels with complete images of what a person is like, how they think, and who they are. We have made a vegan out to be some hippie who doesn’t wear deodorant and wants to smite you for even thinking about bacon, a feminist to be someone who will rip you to shreds with the mere utter of the word man. I’m a vegan and I don’t care what you’re having for lunch, that’s not my business. Through being a vegan I’ve gone through every family member putting me through third degree over what I eat for protein, if I’m eating right, if I miss pizza. Through being a vegan I’ve seen how it feels to be judged by what you eat which, by the way, is a completely private decision— it kinda sucks.

   So it’s easy to put a label on people. I could label myself with a million things and share them with you, but you would still never know who I am truly. I may be a vegan, a feminist, a cinefile, a book nerd— but before all of that I am me. I am Ysabella, and I am more than the sum of my labels. I’m a collection of thoughts and feelings and until we look to these, what really makes up a person, the only people we can truly know is ourselves.