Live without labels


Photo by Alyssa Kift

Story by Hollan Borowitz, staff writer

It seems no name is complete without a label to follow it.

Ashley Graham, plus-size model. Gigi Gorgeous, transgender internet personality. Mae C. Jemison, African-American astronaut. Demi Lovato, bisexual singer. Ellen DeGeneres, lesbian television star. Bella Hadid, muslim supermodel.

Name, label. Name, label.

Humans have become builders of division walls. Each label we attach to a name serves as another stone stacked onto the barrier of persecution.

This generation is captivated and brainwashed by how they identify themselves. An elaborate mixture of the new labels materialized out of social media has created a diverse, divided society.

Without a classification, everybody is just human.

Civilization started with a firm foundation for walls of separation, different skin colorations, numerous religions, contrasting sexualities and various body types.

First, it was the genders. Women were sentenced to endless days in the household, unable to choose their own paths, while the men were allowed to work for the family in whatever profession their hearts so desired. More recently, LGBTQ identities have been discriminated against because they deviate from the standard male and female roles.


Subsequent were the religions: Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism. Contrasting beliefs turn sour between people, resulting in such events as Sept. 11, 2001, Mahmud of Ghazni’s genocide, international travel bans and the Crusades.


Most modern labels have been appearances. Humans are a diverse species, and no two people are identical. Maybelline offers 40 different shades in its “Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation,” and American Eagle offers 44 sizes in its skinny jeans. As a result, labels such as light-skin and plus-size emerged.


For females, this judgment is particularly difficult to escape. According to Pew Research Center, 83 percent of all female internet users run at least one social media account; in addition, 80 percent of women say that seeing people on television, social media or fashion magazines makes them feel insecure.

In an attempt to evade this, women cover up their true selves in favor of a “trendy” profile. They start to feel like their persona is living a better life than they are, resulting in lower self-esteem.

I fall victim to this. Social media accounts often tell about a person’s life and how awesome and well-respected its owner is. My Instagram says, “I’m on top of everything, I have my ducks in a row, and I am living a fun, exciting and eventful life! Everything’s just peachy and perfect!”

However, behind my screen life, I am stressed, I have schoolwork, I sit at home practicing dances I have to try out for, and I procrastinate the not Instagrammable tasks to photograph the ones worthy of it.

On the other hand, some women find comfort in tacking on a label. “Coming out” creates a buzz about them and draws more attention.

“When I came out as gay, my presence online soared,” Gigi Gorgeous said in an interview.

While Gigi found the good in that situation, it simply added mortar to another brick to the never ending wall of human beings with a tag attached and placed at the top. Some people discriminate against the LGBTQ tags, others against the races, others against the body type.

In addition, the label “plus-size” has always come with a negative connotation, and even though you add “model” to it, a distaste comes with the territory. “Plus-size models” such as Ashley Graham, Jennie Runk and Mia Tyler choose to add “plus-size” to their title to gain attention, but it also adds a stone to the barriers dividing us.

The use of “African-American,” “Indian,” “Chinese” and other ethnic identities in titles still exist, and the terms still bring about a negative aura. Society dismembers any unity between races and compartmentalizes them by stereotypes that should have expired long ago.

Even though the statistics don’t suggest it, the only difference between races is the amount of melanin in their skin— peel it back, and we are all equal human beings in every way.

Ashley Graham, model. Gigi Gorgeous, internet personality. Mae C. Jemison, astronaut. Demi Lovato, singer. Ellen DeGeneres, television star. Bella Hadid, supermodel.

Despite the irrationality and lack of need for labels, the world continues to add them when, in reality, we can all identify as “name, human being.”

Add a label, add a brick. Break the trend, break the wall.