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 'Labels' 
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WHERE'S THE MIDNAHOL?!

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Project Junkie

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Post 'Labels'
What is your opinion concerning labels and stereotypes?

This can be inclusive of any kind of social label - sexualities, involvements within certain fandoms, cultural labels.

With society the way it is these days, many people are pushing the media to be as inclusive as possible, and the way this is usually done is by adding in some more labels. For example, I saw this image on Facebook the other day, illustrating the name of different sexual and romantic orientations;
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Because I hear mention of these on an almost daily basis, to me, this came across as almost normal. Yet almost every comment was saying 'why does there need to be so many labels?' and 'you're either straight or you're not'.

Personally I half agree, half disagree. On one hand, when you start to have so many labels most people don't remember them, it's not worth having the labels at all. But on the other hand, it's far more inclusive this way. Yet I still couldn't fit myself into just one or the other. If I had to label myself using these, I would have to say 'demi-homoromantic-asexual', at which point it's a little bit ridiculous. After all, sexualities are a scale in various directions, you're not one or the other.

While having so many is ridiculous... 'not fitting in' is a horrible feeling. Back when I thought it was just hetero-, homo- and bi-, my a- was nowhere to be seen and I thought there was something wrong with me. So in that aspect, I'm kinda thankful. I guess I'm generally undecided on whether I consider them good or not.

I'm in the same mind when it comes to stereotypes, too. On the one hand, there's overused character tropes in all forms of media; Snotty posh person, ditzy blonde, glasses = smart and studious, gay men are flamboyant, black men are thugs, and the list goes on and on...

An example - Blizzard's Overwatch has recently announced a new female character. I don't know a huge amount about it, but apparently all of the previous females were very... shall we say 'cookie-cutter' in terms of stereotypes. Almost all of them had the same body time and all of them were very very feminine, and Blizzard received a fair few complaints. So they introduced a new female playable, who was less feminine... but instead he was the stereotypical buff Russian gunslinger.
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I mean, yeah, she's not thin and delicate, which is what they were asking for... But why did she have to be Russian? They could have name her any nationality other than Russian, and it wouldn't be stereotypical.

Yet, when studying demographics and psycho-graphics for market research, it would be impossible without stereotypes. Humans automatically stereotype, and it can be very helpful. Teens spend a lot of time on their phones or on the computer? Aim advertising over the internet rather than on the TV, to give an example.

I'm a little more decided in terms of stereotypes, in that they function well for market research, but character tropes just take it too far.

What are your thoughts and opinions?

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Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:38 pm
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Post Re: 'Labels'
Honestly, labels and stereotypes don't bother me too much. It really depends on what exactly we're talking about. When it comes to character tropes being used for stereotypes, I could care less. Heck, I consider Wonderful 101 to be the funniest game I ever played BECAUSE of the overused stereotypes. However, when we're talking about specifics, like Bronies, I see it as degenerative. Enjoying a show is fine to me, making a community about it is fine, but giving oneself a name dedicated to it is too far in my book. I just see the name and immediately connect it to being an obsessed fanboy. I know people disagree with this, I know it's not true for everyone, and some people wear these names with pride. Well, more power to them. I'm just not comfortable with doing it to myself.

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Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:43 pm
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Post Re: 'Labels'
Labels... are interesting... they can be useful, and typically people like to associate with others whom share their own interests or whom are of the same background, have shared the same experiences as them, etc. Through labels people establish that bond the easiest, because there's a quick identifying marker for that individual. Labels of a variety of forms are used cross-culturally to group people together, in order to mark their interests, their developmental stages, their accomplishments, etc. You can't escape them, and it's sort of a mixed bag of good and bad.

Now, I don't want to go into territory and end up mixing up a "label" with a "group," (although you can argue that "groups" are automatically labelled) so I'll discuss stereotyping.

I'll go ahead and use you as an example, Fez :P A label for a group of people in a fanbase, for example, "Brony," is, well, just that - a label. It's used as an identifier for people in the group. That's why people wear labels like that with pride. I call myself a "Trekkie" sometimes, even though really I've only seen a handful of the original films and TNG, but I still associate with the fanbase. Now, a stereotype is believing that because there's that label, automatically all of them are excessive fanatics, dorks, etc.

The issue with labels is not an inherent issue with the labeling itself, because, as I said, people often use it to identify with a group. The issue is that once a group is formed, it is easy to make generalizations and stereotypes, which, stereotypes tend to be the trickier subject. Stereotypes can be useful, especially for marketing purposes as Light mentioned, but stereotypes, needless to say, can also be very problematic. What comes to mind for me right now actually has to do with the book we're covering in my Real and Supernatural in Latin America anthropology class, although I'm sure any of us could sit down and come up with 1,000 other examples in two minutes.

The book we're reading on is on Curanderismo, which is a Mexican /Mexican-American folk medical practice. It deals a lot with a mixture of "western" medicine with a larger focus on the supernatural, magic/witchcraft, etc. Most "Westerners" (such as ourselves) would typically consider anything outside the realm of scientific thought to be lunacy, so any individuals who practice Curanderismo would likely be stereotyped as either insane or primitive. These sorts of generalizations cause a lot of problems and a lot of misunderstanding.

That's a slight bit of a tangent, but I'm hoping you guys understand what I mean. Labels aren't inherently problematic, it's the stereotypes people attach to labels that make them problematic. But then again, it's something of a paradox, because oftentimes labels are given to others based on a stereotype... Now this is getting into a whole 'nother realm of the various types of labels. I guess the difference here is a label given to someone else versus a label one gives to oneself or chooses to take upon. For example, someone can see a stranger who might dress flamboyantly and label them as "homo." Whereas people accept labels or give themselves labels when they wish to associate with a group, such as Bronies.

I feel like the more I type the more things I think of and I have to amend half of what I'm saying XD

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Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:24 am
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