Wherein I Chat About ‘Invisible-isation’

I’m a peaceable gal by nature. I live my life according to my personal code of ethics and have people in my life who do the same.

Most of the time I post about the aspects of my life that have to do with writing, (or cats, and glaciers) or things that impact my life. (and therefore my writing) But occasionally something gets up my goat (mixed metaphores, I know) and I choose to speak about it.

Recently a young woman did a television interview and said some rather interesting things. The interesting bit starts at about 1 minute in.

I thought to myself, like Oprah, ‘she’s gonna cop some flack for that’, and although I disagreed with her point of view, I let it slide because hey, live and let live, right? And, in a much more perfect world than this, she’d be right.

Then, on my favourite go-to website for bubblegum/pop culture/ occasionally serious, lesbianly (and very U.S.-centric) stuff, AfterEllen, someone had taken up the cause to defend the young woman. 


There’s a danger here.

This is the ranty bit:

Yes, by all means. Let’s de-label ourselves to invisibility.


It worked out so well for us last time.

It’s working out so well for us at this very moment, all over the world.

It’s working out so well for us right in our own backyards.


And this is the more nuanced bit:

It’s imperative that we continually define and redefine ourselves. It’s what we do after all. And I don’t begrudge us wanting to shift the weight of outmoded, oppressive, offensive labels from our shoulders. It’s how we grow. It’s how our tribes, and the larger society we inhabit, evolve.

But in doing so, we can’t afford to dismiss the bloody and hard won battles that have given some of us on this planet the privilege of labeling ourselves ‘label-less’. Those battles to claim our label, to claim our tribe, are still being fought by a horrifying majority of us.

Personally, I doubt the rallying cry is, ‘I am not a label’.

And finally, a slight segue but still on topic, Jove Belle writes eloquently about her concerns on the ‘invisible-ising’ of feminism at Women and Words.


12 comments on “Wherein I Chat About ‘Invisible-isation’

  1. K. Renae P. says:

    “But in doing so, we can’t afford to dismiss the bloody and hard won battles that have given some of us on this planet the privilege of labeling ourselves ‘label-less’.

    This argument is the reason why I do not agree with Raven Simone even though I respect what she said. Great post!


  2. fromcouchtomoon says:

    Yet she’s happy with the label “American,” which she says over and over again.


  3. jannatwrites says:

    I don’t see how we can be completely label-less. We are all something. It would be nice to do away with the derogatory, hurtful labels, though.


  4. Olga Godim says:

    Dismissing our labels is something to strive for, I think. It’s just not always possible. And most of the ‘impossibility’ comes from within ourselves. Lesbians want to cling to their label. They want to shout it out. Jews want to cling to theirs. I’m not a lesbian but I’m a Jew, so I know. I’d like to shed that label, not because it’s something shameful but because it doesn’t define me. I’m more Canadian than Jewish in so many ways. Still the label of Jewishness sticks to me, more in my own mind that that of others. Maybe in an ideal world, in some sci-fi future… But if someone can discard her labels now and be simply an ‘American who loves humans’, kudos to her.


  5. Hellooooo Widders! A Very belated Happy Birthday to you!!!! I can already see that your new adventure around the sun began with a bang. A caught rat, whooo-eee! Cortisone to the knee, ouchy! And, a toe-to-toe with a glacier, you fortunate dame! I did not realize I’d been away that long.

    You’re right, what will Raven think 5 or 10 years from now. She’s young and idealistic. She seems to be a thoughtful person so perhaps as she grows and evolves, she might see the importance of saying yeah, I’m all this and this and that and this. They’re all that makes me, me. That, I think is not labeling at all nor accepting society’s labels of what it perceives you are.


  6. A label can also be empowering, something she doesn’t seem to grasp. You’re probably right that in five or ten years she’ll probably think differently.

    I do however think that in a social sense it’s interesting that, “African-Americans” are defined by only one part of their heritage. Most of us born in North America are mutts, and African-Americans are no different.


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