The Hurtful Danger Of Labels

Mean Girls
Mean Girls

Comparing ourselves to others is something we all do at some point, whether we admit it or not. It’s a natural mental process. Labeling, however, is a different story. In my opinion, certain labels with negative connotations – such as slut – are being thrown around way too casually nowadays. Not only do these labels hurt feelings, but they also can change the way people approach someone, since they may have an expectation for that person to behave in the way that they were labeled.

For example, if a guy tells his friends that a girl is a “slut”, his friends are likely going to make assumptions about her. They might assume she is easy and has low self-respect — meaning she won’t be hard to get into bed, etc. Those assumptions will cause those guys to approach her differently than, say, a girl who has a better reputation. They won’t feel the need to put in any effort and will just assume she will sleep with him regardless of how they treat her. And this is the exact problem.

“Slut” is a label criticizing who someone is as a person, implying that they are unlikely to change. Saying that someone was “acting like a slut” is different because then, you are criticizing that person’s actions and implying that they can (and probably should) change. It can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy in the sense that the girl (in the above example)  may end up fulfilling those expectations because those guys were behaving differently towards her.

No one wants to be that girl…  misunderstood, lonely and desperate for someone to prove to her she is worthy of love. The girl who is taken advantage of, manipulated and used for a good time. The one who wakes up in the morning to discover that the man she fell asleep with snuck out in the middle of the night.

Yes, there are some girls who happen to just be extremely horny, reckless and willing to get naked with almost anybody. These are the girls who go around having sex with a lot of different people without a care in the world. They may overhear that she is referred to as the college slut, but does she give two fucks? Absolutely not.

But the misunderstood girl gives a lot of fucks. She isn’t sleeping around to have a meaningless one night stand. She is searching for passion and connection; someone to make her feel loved and recognize her own beauty. It is a desperate search to feel wanted and desired. It actually has nothing to do with the sex. So next time you are about to carelessly label someone a “slut”, take a second to stop and think about it.

Maybe all she is hoping  for is someone to call her the following week and ask her on a date. Someone who has the decency to respect her as a person and prove to her that she is worth getting to know. I am not saying it is a guys responsibility to show her that, because I am a firm believer that you cannot love someone else until you love yourself. What I am saying, is the next time you are about to carelessly label a girl a “slut” just think before you speak. You don’t know what she’s been through in order for her self worth to be so low and her boundaries to be so weak. And you don’t know why she is continuing to recklessly sleep around…but maybe if you felt the way she felt about herself for one minute, you would understand and refrain from sticking that label on her (a label that happens to spread, unfortunately, like wildfire). Acting slutty is different from being a slut.

I am by no means defending girls who sleep around, or encouraging guys to pursue or pity them. I guess the main point I am trying to make is that labels hurt. You don’t know what drives people to engage in behaviors that they engage in. (Or what causes people to have low self-worth and no clear boundaries.) But regardless, no one deserves to be labeled negatively. Like I mentioned earlier, it only makes it worse because then others may perceive them in a different, more negative light.

So if you take anything from this post, take this: think before you speak. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog