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#1 Old 12-09-2004, 02:40 AM
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I'm confused about labels on people:

I like them, because when I say, "I'm vegan" or "I'm bisexual", people can respond accordingly by providing me w/ vegan food, or introducing me to eligible men *&* women.

But they get misused so much these days.

(BTW I am now calling myself a "freegan" in the name of accuracy).

You have "vegetarians" who eat fish & chicken.

You have "lesbians" who are married to men & are not sexually involved w/ women.

You have "women" who are men who have had chemical & physical castration & take estrogen.

You have "vegans" who use beauty & household products tested on animals & full of animal ingredients, or eat dairy & eggs & honey.

I don't get why people have to say they are something they are not.

A chicken & fish eater is an omni.

A woman who is married to men & not sexual w/ women is either straight or bi.

A man who has had feminization treatments is a transsexual.

A "vegan" who uses animal products is a vegetarian.

But I find the most popular attitude now is, "hey, labels are wrong. Let's avoid them, they limit people."

But I WANT to be limited from meat exposure!!

I WANT to be limited from people assuming I want to be 100% straight!!

I think labels can be good.

What are your thoughts?
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#2 Old 12-09-2004, 03:12 AM
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I'm having similar thoughts..



I like to give people the freedom to define themself with the lebals they want, but I don't always like the effect it has on me. Some people think that if I'm vegan, it means I don't eat meat and fish, some think I only eat raw food..

I mainly hates it when people don't think I'm allowed to be called vegan because I don't follow their "vegan rules". But If I hate it so much, how can I do it to others? I don't see people who eat eggs, for example, as vegans, but who am I to decide it?

I just tell people sometimes that I don't think they are vegan\\vegetarian\\whatever by the way I see it, and make sure to define my veganism for people to avoid any misunderstandings...
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#3 Old 12-09-2004, 03:24 AM
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I find your comments about gender transphobic. A penis does not a man make.
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#4 Old 12-09-2004, 03:27 AM
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I find your comments on sexuality to be incorrect also. Marriage does not always reflect ones sexual attractions. Also please understand the difference between sexual orientation and sexual identity.
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#5 Old 12-09-2004, 08:04 AM
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I don't hate anybody for their identity.

I just think that language should reflect current reality.

If I say I am a lesbian, shouldn't that mean I am sexually involved w/ women in some way?

Or is just thinking about it enough?

People often accept that a woman married to a man is a lesbian because she fantasizes about women sometimes.

Does that mean a meat-eater who sometimes fantasizes about vegan foods is a vegan?

I will never feel that a transsexual is a woman, sorry.
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#6 Old 12-09-2004, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by organica View Post

I don't hate anybody for their identity.

I just think that language should reflect current reality.

If I say I am a lesbian, shouldn't that mean I am sexually involved w/ women in some way?

Or is just thinking about it enough?

People often accept that a woman married to a man is a lesbian because she fantasizes about women sometimes.





IMO, Well, Lesbians *don't*, by definition, willingly have sexual relations with men. If they do, they are bisexual. That is going by what is currently the accepted definition of "lesbian". It's like people who eat honey, eggs or whatever saying they are vegan. They may have an affinity for veganism or vegan foods, but if they aren't truly vegan in thought action and deed, calling themselves vegan won't change anything. If anyone disagrees with this, we might as well call up "DOWN" and argue the points of why that is an acceptable term/definition.



Does one have to act on an impulse for it to be true?



Before you have sex with anyone, are you gay/straight/bi?



Does an omni think about veganism and have a longing to be vegan become vegan by thought?



Sexuality is more complex and subtle than direct food-related, ethical and dietary choices/identifications. Perhaps sexuality cannot be as "balck & white" as other issues because many factors play into developing desire/tendencies than do issues of diet/ethics and choices/actions as far as Veganism is concerned.



I still say, women who identify as "Lesbians" don't have sex with men and men who identify as "Gay" men do not have sex with women. Maybe these people do "experiment" or marry due to cultural pressures, on their way to figuring out who they are and what their preferences are (much like the "Vegan" who has what I have seen referred to as "slips" and eats non-vegan foods or buys non-vegan products due to desire or societal pressures;are they "Vegan"? No. They are "finding themselves", just like the "Lesbians" who have never slept with a woman and have an active/sexual realtionship with men. Until there is continuity between thought/action that defines them as the THING, they are *not* the THING).



The Lesbians and Gay men I know are REPULSED by the thought of sex with a man/woman, just like the vegans I know are REPULSED by the thought of consuming non-vegan food.
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#7 Old 12-09-2004, 08:53 AM
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I don't really have a problem with labels unless they're meant to offend someone ("nerd", "dork", "loser") for no reason. I call my brother a loser because he is always intending harm when people never even do anything to him. a lot of people use it though for stupid reasons. I think labels are a good thing for many reasons like veganism, sexuality etc. like you said. If we didn't have labels like "vegan", then it would be more difficult to explain your lifestyle, or at least take longer and it would just be annoying.
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#8 Old 12-09-2004, 09:01 AM
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I'm very uncomfortable with defining "woman" so narrowly. There's a great book by Minnie Bruce Pratt called S/he that talks a lot about gender, and has made me re-think a lot of my definitions. If someone presents as a woman, she's a woman to me.
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#9 Old 12-09-2004, 10:26 AM
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Lesbians who are closeted about their sexuality will often get involved in heterosexual relationships, often as a protection to hide their true identity. The same applies for gay men. Attend a PFLAG meeting, you'll hear stories of gay men trapped in marriages, conflicted about whether to come out and be true to themselves at the cost of ruining their marriage and hurting their families. Maybe they are bisexual, maybe they aren't, but I can't make that call for them and I don't know how anyone else can either.



And just because you don't accept m2f transexuals as women, doesn't mean they aren't women. Gender isn't so cut and dry. Just the mere existence of intersexuals and hermaphrodites alone tells us we can't be so quick to categorize people, and that doesn't even get into the psychological and biological realities behind gender dysphoria. Let people define themselves, because they know themselves best.
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#10 Old 12-09-2004, 10:29 AM
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well, i have lots of thoughts, and the first is a simple change in language. People seem to get frustrated with the concept of a "label"--as in "don't label me" or "i don't necessarily fit the label." Instead of the term "label," i like to use the term "signifier." a work signifies an idea, and those who practice an idea practice it in vibrantly and strikingly different ways. For instance, the word "christian" can refer to an athiest-humanist quaker as much as it can refer to a staunch/traditional greek orthodox practitioner--and everyone in between. So, christian signifies an idea that people follow or practice in different ways.



When you're talking about a term like vegetarian or vegan, there are two problems. The first is the signifier issue. Each vegan is going to be slightly different, and in a different state of being able to participate fully in the idea. Soilman is a vegan (i presume) and probably pretty strict to some. Oatmeal is also a vegan, but i remember him saying that on occassion he has cheese (if he must). Artichoke is a vegan who participate in AR related activities; and when zoebird was a vegan, she was against animal rights as an idea and for animal welfare instead. So, each of us was slightly different--but we were all vegans.



The second problem is with the definition of terms in general. People commonly misunderstand and misuse the terms. To my mother in law, a vegetarian definately eats fish. She considers me a 'vegan' now, even though i eat dairy and eggs. And when i was vegan, she thought i was crazy and didn't know what label to use. She thought i only ate fat free dairy, because she just didn't get it.



So, you have people who are perhaps transitional vegetarians, or vegetarians who eat fish (which is a definition of vegetarian in other cultures--ie, asia), or most-of-the-time vegetarian with the exception of once or twice a year eating meat. . .and people get confused about the terms themselves.



More difficult, i think are terms related to sexuality. I argue that sexuality is highly fluid and diverse--that what i am today may not be what i am tomorrow. Right now, i think it's fair to say that i'm a monogamous heterosexual. But, that's not to say that i wouldn't have a relationship with a woman. I've never been active with a woman, and i have no intention of being active with a woman. I find women attractive in general, but i wouldn't say that i'm "bisexual" considering i'm not having sex with both sexes, and never have, and may never. if i were in a relationship with a woman, then at that time i would be a lesbian or bisexual.



But then, there's also the aspect of how we identify and signify ourselves. a woman in an unhappy heterosexual marriage who, for reasons unknown, stays in that marriage, yet knows that she loves women can surely call herself a lesbian if that is how she identifies and signifies herself. because she is married, and unwilling or unable to divorce, she could be considered "heterosexual" or "bisexual"--but how she percieves herself is more important than what label i would give her.



similarly, you have an issue between sex and gender. sex refers to the biology, while gender refers to the outter expression with cultural signifiers and displays. A transexual male-to-female is biologically male, and yet a woman because of the feminine gender. a transexual female to male is biologically female, and yet a man because of the masculine gender. Each one adopts a gender, and i believe each person--biologically male or female--likewise adopts a gender. I am a female and i have adopted a feminine gender. That is why, when men make a comment such as "men who do yoga are pussies" it upsets me because 1. it is a slight against my sex--a pussy is a wonderful thing, and 2. it is a slight against my chosen gender. Males are not biologically superior to females, and neither is the masculine gender superior to the feminine gender. the statement says that men who embody culturally feminine traits (in this case, practicing yoga) are lesser men. using the female gender to degrade and shame men, puts women in a lesser category to men. You can see why i would be disturbed.



So, when we're looking at cultural signifiers and language, it can be confusing if we want things to be strict and obvious and direct--but the world doesn't work that way. Listening to how and why a person may use a particular signifier is important--and it'll help make things clear.



you're using the term "freegan" right now, for instance. Many freegans whom i know became freegan for philosophical reasons--they felt it was more appropriate to live on recycled waste of our wealthy culture. you, on the other hand, have recognize that while you would like to be vegetarian/vegan, your financial situation makes that particularly difficult, so you could live "freegan" off of the excess of our culture as offered through food banks and similar means. You can see that the reasoning was strikingly different (though not necessarily less appropriate), and yet the label or signifier of freegan can easily apply to both ideas.



does that help or hinder?
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#11 Old 12-09-2004, 11:38 AM
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different people will use terms in different ways.

language is organic and always evolving.

...

On the other hand, some people will put on pretentions to be things they are not.



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#12 Old 12-09-2004, 01:40 PM
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Labels are handy things for allowing us to quickly let other people know what we are talking about without having to go to the touble of defining each term we are using.



But- they are always fluid and subject to interpretation, and not everyone agrees with the traditional definition of every word or label.

I don't mind if people change the definition of a particular label as long as they define it outright- just so we all know what the heck they are talking about.



*operational definitions rule*

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Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

'May everyone everywhere be happy
May the whole world be joyous'
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#13 Old 12-09-2004, 01:43 PM
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That being said... I do think that we have to be able to look and think beyond the label.



I am not the labels which define me. I use labels to explain things I do, but I define myself without words. (this is really hard to do on the net.)

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May the whole world be joyous'
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#14 Old 12-09-2004, 03:03 PM
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I heard a great line in a movie in response to labels (in this case, sexual orientation labels): "Sorry. I didn't know I had to declare a major."







The Rev
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#15 Old 12-09-2004, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post

I heard a great line in a movie in response to labels (in this case, sexual orientation labels): "Sorry. I didn't know I had to declare a major."







The Rev





So, what about *you*, Rev? Are you're OMNI/PAN-Sexual,
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#16 Old 12-09-2004, 03:20 PM
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So, what about *you*, Rev? Are you're OMNI/PAN-Sexual,



I expect not, but I really don't know. More of a butt man, myself.







The Rev
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#17 Old 12-09-2004, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for your comments about gender, KPickell. Just what I was thinking.



Quote:
a word signifies an idea, and those who practice an idea practice it in vibrantly and strikingly different ways.

I think this is a great and important point. These "labels" do tell you something about someone, but I don't think they ever tell us as much as we might think.



Words don't have objective definitions; humans make up definitions to serve communication. It's the nature of the beast for us to have different opinions about what's the "right" definition. I think the best course of action is for us to keep in mind what zoe said, and not assume we know more than we do about someone or that our definition is the only "right" one. You demonstrated this in your original post, organica, when you said "A man who has feminization treatments is a transexual." I find this a very offensive viewpoint, BTW, but I realize that your definition of a woman may be someone who was born a woman and has female bits. I think this shows a really limited understanding of womanhood, personally...but we all have our own definitions.
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#18 Old 12-09-2004, 05:39 PM
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Labels are just words. They can be useful tools to get your point across, but it's JUST A WORD. Some people take them way too seriously.



A person might say they are a vegetarian, but they eat fish. Okay. Fine. Who cares? I tell somebody I'm a vegetarian, they might ask me whether I eat fish. I tell them no. Problem solved.



Or take gay marriage. My mom and I had an argument about this the other day. She is adamantly against the word "marriage" being used to define a homosexual union. Because it will "ruin" the meaning of "marriage." I just kept saying..."but...it's just a word. Who cares?"



<---- (for the record, is a strong supporter of gay marriage)
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#19 Old 12-09-2004, 10:47 PM
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A person might say they are a vegetarian, but they eat fish. Okay. Fine. Who cares? I tell somebody I'm a vegetarian, they might ask me whether I eat fish. I tell them no. Problem solved.



I absolutely agree.



Furthermore, we have never once come to a consensus on the definition of a vegan on this board and probably never will. There are some who refuse to accept an ingredient-based definition, and there are some who refuse to accept an idea-based definition. If we can't agree on the definition, I don't thnk we'll ever agree on who should and should not use the label Vegan. But, so what.
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#20 Old 12-09-2004, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorful View Post

A person might say they are a vegetarian, but they eat fish. Okay. Fine. Who cares? I tell somebody I'm a vegetarian, they might ask me whether I eat fish. I tell them no. Problem solved.



Yes. They MIGHT.
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#21 Old 12-10-2004, 01:03 AM
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Yes. They MIGHT.



Think about all the times you or other veggies were offered fish. My sister once went to a restaurent were fish was the vegetarian dish. It's not that the person who invited her didn't know or didn't care, he just made sure there are fish there and didn't even asked her if she considered it vegetarian..

These things happen a lot, and mostly because people who eat fish and consider themself vegetarian.

I know that in English there are words that define it better, althought I don't know how common it is to hear from someone that he's ovo-vegetarian, for example. I can say that in Hebrew we only use vegetarian and vegan, and it can be really confusing. People use "vegan" for people who don't eat animal ingridients, for raw foodist, for eating organic (including organic milk and meat)... It really don't say a lot to people when I call myself a vegan, I ALWAYS have to explain anyway :\\
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#22 Old 09-30-2005, 12:13 AM
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Call it what you will.



Labels are just shortcuts to make the world easy to navigate. Agree or disagree, we use them all the time. Incorrect usage of labels is not a crime, but I find that most morality labels are self applied. Christian, Hindu, Veg*an, Hungarian. Christians, Hindus, Hungarians, and Veg*ans live everywhere in the world, but label themselves as they see fit. Veg*anism is a lifestyle, either you follow or not, but there are not many accidental veg*ans.



Marriage is a legal condition. If you think that there is a way to extend the same rights to homosexual couples regarding property law, estates, and relationships and not call the relationship marriage, you are wrong. period. Unless you live in some backwards place which embraces civil law over common law, like France or Quebec.



Anyway, that should start a huge argument, so feel free to fight amongst yourselves.
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#23 Old 09-30-2005, 11:36 AM
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Labels don't define a person, but they give you a guide. I have a friend who insists that labels don't exist, but everyone uses them. It's useful to say "I'm gay" "I'm straight" or whatnot. Those labels aren't the be-all and end-all of who you are. They do help describe you in a concise manner, but you can comment as well. It's much more accurate to use a description. And when describing myself, sometimes, labels just don't do me justice.
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#24 Old 09-30-2005, 03:31 PM
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this post stream is hella-old
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