There has through the history of modern man been a tendency to place people in little boxes. Or perhaps as it is more often called: labeling. Warning: Rant to follow. Now I realize that this is probably just human nature and that it is something that happens quite naturally and mostly this is an involuntary reaction when meeting someone new.
I do not think it is always a cognitive (new word alert) decision to place someone in a particular category and mostly it relates to our impression of a person. It is however dangerous when it is done with purpose and with the intention of hurting someone or even influencing what others thinks of the particular person. Another problem is that it can become a dirty and extremely hurtful habit.
If a kid wears glasses he might be labelled as nerdy, should he play D&D he could be called a geek. A girl that wears a lot of pink could be called a Barbie girl and if you are a little heavy on the black clothes you might just be known as a goth. If she climbs trees she is a tomboy and if he is not that sporty he might be labelled a girl pants. If you were at all interested I would classify as a nerd, a geek, a goth and definitely a tomboy.
This brings me to an incident at school a couple weeks ago where a friend of mine told me how she and another friend were speculating whether, since I am such a tomboy, I might be lesbian. This caught me completely off guard. It was clear that it was not done in malice but still! They both know I like boys and yet they discussed this behind my back. The point I am (maybe very badly) trying to make is, so what if I liked girls? What business is it of theirs? Do they even realise what vicious rumours they might have started and how discussions such as these hurt people? None of this changes the fact that I am quite a friendly character with a wicked sense of humour and a brain to boot.
I am certainly not an expert on LGBT matters but even I know that it is none of your damn business people! Stop discussing others and their life choices. I do not discuss you lack of critical thinking behind your back, nor do I talk about you weird habit of going to church. Why? Because it is your business what choices you make in life and I don’t know enough about you to comment on why you dress strangely or have a funny accent or whether you like girls for that matter.
So, next time you find yourself placing someone in a little box, rather try to focus on why you feel the need to do this. Take the time to reflect on what boxes people put you in and then perhaps you will realise that there are many more constructive things to do with your time. Yeah, it’s called critical thinking. Enough said.
Image Credit: Wonderlane