We live in an era of branding, labeling, slogan-ing, identifying, trying to fit in even when we purposely standout. An age of individualism, but where you want that individualism to be called something. A period where having no identity, is an ‘identity’.  A dispensation of ‘me’, my way. A time of ‘I want to do XYZ because I like it, but not because I do XYZ doesn’t mean I am an XYZ-er’’. We are beings who seek to belong, even when not belonging…is ‘belonging’ to something. Weird, huh? Well, welcome to the Genesis of the ANTI-LABEL era.

In fashion, labels are crucial. That’s what set Versace jeans apart from Arrow Jeans. It tells you what runway that garment should be on, how it should function on the runway and who should take it home. But, without these labels, could you really tell if a sweater is made by Hermes or DKNY? And either way, isn’t the sweater fulfilling the same basic function? — keeping you warm on a cold day. So, really, when it all comes down to it, how important are labels? Can we survive without them? Could you function effectively without being labeled? Wouldn’t it be a little more fun just to exist… live even, without a ‘tag’, without an ‘identity’, without an ‘ISO 9000’, without being forced into one group and subsequently being stereotyped according to ‘outsiders’ perception of who you are? I believe it would! And that’s the way the world is heading now: Anti-labels!

Gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, tops, bottoms, versatile, bi-curious, transsexual, transvestite, butch, fem, stud, passive, active, boy-friend, girlfriend, dating, fooling-around, husband, wife, mistress, life-partner, civil-union, lovers, play-mates, and f`@@k-buddies are just some of the labels we ascribe to ourselves in hope of making things ‘easier’. But does it really make things easier or does just complicate the whole game? – One way to find out, huh?

So, two guys manage to rise above the disco smoke of a dance floor and found each other at a party while sipping on their cocktails; began seeing each other and sharing lazy lunches, candle lit dinners, romantic French films, walks on the beach, Macy’s massive Black Friday Sale, Christmas, New Year and maybe a birthday, but the minute one of the guys asks, ‘’So, where are things going? Are we boyfriends?’’, things start to spiral out of control. Is it that in a weird quasi-universe, the absence of a label ensures security? Is it that the whole ‘free agents of the universe’ have some weight to it? But there might be some truth in that! Is it that a label applies pressure and people start to ‘freak out’ whenever they are labeled? What’s the deal? Or maybe, just maybe when two persons find each other and are so connected that they do not need a marketing department to come in and brand the uniqueness that they share, but rather live freely as two connected agents of the universe and allow themselves to ‘’see where things go’’ and by going there together, they would both know that they are ‘’on their way’’ and when they have arrived ‘’there’’, they would know that ‘’they have arrived’’, label-less-ly!

Growing up in a religious house-hold with a mother who has Jesus on speed dial; a father who DIDN’T; brothers and sister who hated my guts for one reason or the other; and a society that demands you to be on ONE SIDE of the ‘fence’ and stick to it, I believed that things were either ‘black or white’: gay or straight; top or bottom; butch or fem; Bob Marley or Cher; PNP or JLP; Christians or sinners; meat or fish; night or day. But the older I got I realized that a ‘black or white’ universe is a boring one, a narrow-minded approach to existence, a limited believe. As you embark upon the ‘rainbow-shaded gray’ areas, you realize that that’s were LIFE is and that’s where the citizens of Anti-label planet dwell. On this planet, one can afford to dabble here and there in the ‘rainbow-shaded gray’ area without having to give up their ‘’citizenship’ on earth and be forced to be labeled as ‘ALIENS’. But rather feel free to indulge in the splendors of the ‘planet’.

But honestly, I lift my Phillip Treacy hat (the designer who makes Sarah Jessica Parker hats) to our Asian friends who live a little closer to Anti-label planet than most people. These are the guys who don’t even bother to affix a brand to themselves, but happily indulge in any shade the rainbow has to offer. And needless to say, these boys know how to indulge…lolololol…

Wouldn’t it be such a wonderful world if we had no ‘identity’, no stereotypes, no pre-conceived notions, no expectations, no hang-ups, but just allow ourselves to love, live, experience life and all the different flavors and splendor that it has to offer, label-less-ly? I would be first in line! J


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nikki
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 18:02:45

    I so agree wit u. If one’s wearing “brand name” clothing, ppl hav sumthin 2 say about u and if u’r not, they still hav sumthin 2 say. Either way, u’r being branded without u even knowing it…


  2. Meiki Rhule
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 20:46:32

    I just love your blog. Labels are a tool of closed minded people; they use it to help themselves feel secure in a world which they believe is spiralling out of control. As we know there are ‘sissies’ and ‘fags’ separately, but to some the idea of differentiating causes them to have to think too hard so they are all cast under the net of ‘batty bwoi’. Labels are used to confine and to the ‘keep order’ in society, the order without which most of the stuffy old men in their big offices would go crazy, the man with the little white collar, who in most cases are the same men who venture to the end of the rainbow to dip their hands in the ‘pot of gold’. In conclusion, labels are a facade, as you said, A sweater will still be a sweater regardless of what u call it….hmm wouldnt that make labels redundant.


  3. brannen779
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 05:25:18

    wow, this is complicated. While we may not need a ‘label’ to define who we are as individuals, we do have ‘labels’ (in a broad sense) to define our place in society. I am a teacher (I wear the teacher label), Firefighter, Banker, Office worker, Parent, Child ….. ditch digger… whatever. Those labels are inescapable. Beyond that, it would be great to be label-less within our social society, but that will never happen on the strictest of interpretation. By the mere fact that one things about it could mean that it has already been applied on some unconscious level.

    When people think of labels they think of something that is used to deride or otherwise limit a persons’ freedom and/or self realizations. And, throughout the ages this has been true and I think this is what a ‘label-less’ society is striving to eradicate. Fine! But beyond that ‘labels’ are here to stay.


    • fromtops2bottoms
      Apr 24, 2011 @ 13:40:01

      Brannen779, you made a good point…. ”THE TEACHER LABEL”… Why would you want to narrow your view of JUST being seen as a teacher and hence act as how society things a ‘teacher’ should act. Without affixing that label onto yourself, you can be a free person still ‘teaching’ and whatever-else-ing WITHOUT JUDGEMENT!

      However, professional ‘labels’ were out of the scope of this discourse. -:)
      And I know you love your labels BRANNEN779…. You ”Politician” you!!! ha ha ha ha


  4. Fiyu Pikni
    May 01, 2011 @ 06:11:11

    That people see the “teacha” as only a teacher is no fault of the individual. People need to recognize that we have complex identities with numerous identities markers intersecting to create our identities.

    Many of the labels you mentioned are really problematic, but when it comes to the gay/straight label I think it is important that we use them. Strategic Essentialism. It’s a very unfortunate process, but it is so much easier to advance the ideals of a movement when you present a unified front. We live in a world where we assume everyone is straight. If gay people don’t identify as gay and assert that identity, how will be change the way people think about sexuality?

    It’s unfortunate, because the individual often gets lost in the movement. And also, when the movement achieves its goals, it is often difficult to move away from the label…. Instead of being treated as equal because all people are equal, we treat people as equal “despite” their difference. There always has to be a process of de-essentializing the identity marker (for example, consider what it means to be “Black” in America today and the efforts made by many individuals to not be defined solely by their race, even while understanding that creating the image of a unified “Black” identity was important for the advancement of the Black Rights Movement).

    Anyway, I talk too much… lol


    • fromtops2bottoms
      May 01, 2011 @ 10:31:26

      FiFy Pikni… NO NO.. There is no such thing as ”talk too much” here! LOLOLOLOL…

      I do see what you are saying! But the very thing that you are arguing for is the SAME thing that is setting us back! LABEL! Centuries world where kings use to world the world, they participated in what we call today ”gay acts” but nothing was seen of it then. It was a normal (and it is) thing for Kings to have both partners as lovers.

      Human beings have a habit of ”labeling’ things that we do not understand and but that thing in a box somewhere until they are comfortable with it…. THAT’S CRAZY!

      I love your quote, ”Instead of being treated as equal because all people are equal, we treat people as equal “despite” their difference.” Both treatments are different…. and that’s something to thing about. Thank you FiYu Pikni (LOVE THE NAME, too… LOLOL)…..

      looking forward to your readership.


  5. Angelique
    May 22, 2011 @ 10:34:51

    Its a bit difficult to read the blog all the post and then write a constructive critique, but I will do myself.

    Let me first say that this is one of the best articles I have read from you so far and I can see where your ideas are becoming grandeur and I like it…I appreciate your mind…I think that is one of your definate P’s and its also what helps to balance your balance sheet, your potential partner is gonna have to invest real ‘deep’ (no pun intended) for such an asset….like it, like it.

    About the concept of blog – Label versus (the) Anti-Label (movement). I agree with some of your respondents, its a bit difficult to escape a labelled society when from birth we have been assigned labels…’Wash belly’, ‘dunce’ ‘remedial’, ‘scholar’. Labels become a part of everyday society, so much so that psychologist had a whole area dedicated to self-fulfilling prophecies…I just think the problem arises in how we react to those labels and how we are treated by the perception of being assigned a label. Speaking as a Jamaican, look at how jamaican men respond to a homosexual male, with other disdain and in previous times some amount of violence, but they are totally drawn sexually (which I find weird, should I say) to lesbians and it doesn’t matter too I realise if she is the femme or the butch/stud….they just think they are sexy….ok another example…trinidadians are Caribbean people as well, black but indian and they hate Jamaicans…even though being a Jamaican is a nationality, for some people it becomes a label…so its how we react to labels.

    I can understand though Dwayne how it feels when everything is going fine in a relationship and then you ask ‘so what are we?’…a label is being forge and people start to run…truth is it would be great to live in a world where labels; instead of not having them; they just didn’t have a negative stigma attached to them.

    As I said though….this is a good piece. Keep it up


  6. Kim
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:39:01

    Can both be true? We need them, or who will pass a protective law for “nobody”? But ultimately we are showing up for whatever presents itself in the moment, a Zen concept I know but it seems to work when you look over your shoulder and say “Well since we are still seeing each other, we must be….”, more about discovery than labels and includes surprise and humour. Not sure-really but a blip on my screen for this eve.


    • fromtops2bottoms
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:03:02

      Hi KIM.
      Thanks for your input…. I like when people go ”ZEN” on me… ha ha ha.. It seems like it’s the new thing to do (like wearing make up to the gym…lol)..
      But I do see your point… 🙂


      • Kim
        Mar 16, 2012 @ 20:08:38

        I want to see your point but maybe mine was lost in translation, not about zen. What’s the new thing to do (?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: