What do labels mean?

I consider myself a metalhead because I like heavy metal music, and I even bought a sleeveless denim jacket just because I liked the fashion sense employed by thrash metal groups during the 1980’s (including the bandoliers). But at the same time, I also listen to music that isn’t considered metal (though is usually still rock), and I certainly don’t fulfill the stereotype of the drunken headbanger since I’ve never sipped even a drop of beer or any alcohol in my life and choose to avoid alcoholic drinks.

And am I really a goth because I tend to like dark things, never mind that I like them for mostly righteous as well as aesthetic reasons? Not necessarily. I don’t claim to identify with that particular subculture, and I don’t feel I need to. And by the way, just because you’re a Satanist doesn’t mean you’re a goth. My oldest brother called me an emo one time (I think I was 15 or something when he did), though I didn’t exhibit any particular stereotypes so I suspect I was being emotional and he called me an emo just because of that. Am I really a geek or nerd because I use the computer frequently and like video games and anime art style? Of course not. These are all fashions, labels, or stereotypes created by others, that I do not necessarily observe or practice.

And do I really need to be a part of a subculture or exhibit stereotypical behaviors and fashions just to be friends or even a lover with someone of a particular subculture? I say, absolutely not! I hate the idea of limiting myself to one subculture for any reason, and I actually doubt that people of good judgment respect you for it. I feel it better to just be myself, I know myself to be unique and different, others know me to just be uniquely me, and I feel that is the only way I should be respected, as myself.

The thing is, labels can be convenient but when you try to describe yourself you can potentially endanger yourself by magnetizing yourself to stereotypes.

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