Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Unholy toast, this is the longest period in which I've not written a blog post ever.

I don't think we should confine people to strict labels of "male" and "female". That's my topic sentence for today from which hopefully all things shall flow - because of course, I never plan a blog.

On the one hand, I can see it from the point of view of society. We need labels, to help us function in every day life. How are we to go to the building that vends items of food, clothing and other such essentials if we have no way of referring to it, i.e. "shop"? And we have a very compulsive habit of labelling things where there is no label for them - taxonomy is a field entirely dedicated to a very meticulous process that does just this. There's even a dedicated nomenclature of astronomy for how new stars, planets and so on are to be named, from which area of mythology they can be taken, and look at the system that meteorologists use for hurricanes, recycling 26 alphabetical names in a certain order every so-many years. We have a society built on labels.

But labelling can go too far. For one, examples we should be vaguely familiar with are the insults hurled in the playground, in society at large, especially on the internet with the cover of anonymity. Labels of every black and awful kind hurled willy-nilly at people with no thought for who the people they're insulting really are. Maybe out of a desire to see the world conform to certain patterns gone too far. Maybe because they've been taught that every gay person automatically goes under the label "faggot". Maybe because they're bored on a Saturday evening and calling people "noobs" because they haven't spent as many years grinding Slayer on RuneScape as you have.

I started this blog with the idea that we shouldn't strictly conform to the idea of male and female. Beating a dead horse before I've really started on that one, given that the demarcation between genders is one of the oldest lines out there, but hey, it's 2012, we're a so-called "civilised society", so I'm gonna put it out there just the same.

I am male. In the sense that I was born with all the components of maleness. Yup, that included. But I don't hugely identify by it - my friends accept me as honorary girls, I consider myself one of the girls, and I can be very effeminate. I can also be emasculate at times - believe it or not, for anyone who knows me. Biologically, I'm a guy. In reality, I don't give a crap. I can call myself a blueberry pie if I want to and nobody's gonna stop me. If I wanted not to identify by the category of male, I don't see that that should be a huge problem.

Keight Fahr, BionicDance on YouTube, is a very fierce debater to be sure. I was reading a debate that she was taking part in where she was getting absolutely ballistic at the commenters on the topic of labelling, particularly if people want to call themselves "agnostic", then they should be able to. So argues Keight, there is no such thing as "agnostic". Labelling themselves as such is therefore false, and here's the important bit: that they should not be allowed to identify by a false label.

The example I gave before might strike as a bit silly, and it probably is. Talking about labels is just getting around the issue - the word given for the English language for someone of my gender of the human race is "male". If I decided to call myself "female", then that would be untrue because I'd be using a word to describe myself that doesn't fit to reality. If I call myself a "blueberry pie", again, there's no conformation to any kind of reality. Not that that stops me from saying random shit, but, I can see why people would argue against the point just the same.

But I think the agnosticism label is a lot more interesting. The popular argument is the the position of "agnostic" cannot exist on its own, i.e. you can't just say that you "don't know whether God exists or not," because anything that isn't belief is non-belief. Which is true in its strictest sense. But this ignores what people mean when they say the word "agnostic". What they mean is that they take a position which involves not taking up a proactive stance either for or against religion - they may see the issue of whether God exists from both sides, atheist and Christian. They may not think one side is necessarily wrong. They may think that it is not worth pursuing the question of God's existence at all, or that it is of no significance. This is a very distinct set of people from the group of people who assert "God exists" or "God doesn't exist", and people who argue against the possibility of agnosticism so often completely ignore this in trying to shoehorn these people into the category of "atheism". Yes, atheism as a word applies logically to their position. But does it best describe them or accurately represent their position? No. What word do they choose to accurately describe their position? Agnosticism. People say that it's not real, logical, or that it's just a way around saying that you're an atheist, but this is another example of people being overeager to classify everyone into certain groups. Agnostics generally don't fit into either group. So don't try to make them.

This post has not been very consistent at all and I'm sure you'll find pletny of errors, but I think the ultimate point I want to make out of this is that: sometimes, labels aren't for you to decide. Sometimes they're necessary, sometimes they aren't. And when they concern situations such as agnosticism, where people know their own position a lot better than you do, that's when you put away the dictionary and let them call themselves what they will.

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