What Makes Us Special Makes Us Strong
I don’t like labels, and frankly, boxes aren’t that high on my list either. However, it seems that people use them all of the time. We love proclaiming what House we’re in, or associating ourselves with Dumbledore’s Army or SPEW. However, as useful as things like that can be, are they really necessary? Can labels be as dangerous as they are useful?
Lately, there’s been a lot of fuss about girl geeks. Some people are saying that many girls are not ‘real’ geeks, in some ways holding them to a different standard than guys. Huh? When has there ever been a ‘right’ way to be a geek? I thought all it took was liking something and being passionate about it. There’s the rub, though. I look at ‘geek’ in one way, and the person on the other end of this vast series of tubes might look at in a different way. My mother has always seen ‘geek’ and ‘nerd’ as words to be avoided at all costs. Most of my friends see them as a badge of honor. It makes things really sticky when different people can take the exact same word and use it two different ways. There are a couple labels in popular use that I’m actually offended by, that many people see as just fine or positive. I have friends who wince at the use of terms that are just fine to me.
So what’s the answer, then? I have no clue. To some extent, labels are useful and necessary. When we’re talking about someone, it’s difficult to go through all of their characteristics. We need labels, as difficult as they are to deal with. Maybe we should just be aware of what terms we use for people, and be open-minded to learn about new words and new people as we expand our horizons. Hey, if it worked for Sirius, getting him out of the mindset of his family, it can work for us, right?!