“If you’re [insert label here], you’ll just love [insert stereotyped response here].”
“Uh, oh. She’s going off on some rant about labels again.”
Yes, indeed I am. But please, don’t cringe. There’s a good reason I’m talking about the evils of labeling people or making assumptions about a person’s tastes based on said label. If you really don’t want to hear what I have to say, click away now. No harm, no foul. Really. Well, not really, but since I can’t see you, it’s not like I can do anything about it.
You see, this all started with a movie. We rented “A Single Man” from Netflix, a movie I had been wanting to see since it came out. But with the economy making movie-going impossible, along with my dislike for going to movie theaters and being annoyed by the majority of the morons in attendance, renting was the best option. My partner emailed me to tell me she had watched it and was going to send it back (yes, a bit rude considering I had suggested on several occassions we watch it only to be answered with “I’m not in the mood”), but had decided I HAD to watch it. A follow-up email from her talked about how moving the film was and how some of the online reviews really upset her. Many said things like “If you’re gay, you’ll like this movie” or “If you like gay films, you’ll love this one.” That really upset her. And it upsets me as well. Hence, this rant.
I watched the movie when I got home that night and was moved beyond words. It is such a heartbreaking and touching film. I’m not going to go into the details of the movie because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but this was a fantastic movie. Well-written and well-acted, it told a story that I think anyone could relate to.
Now for the rant. I’ve included below some of the reviews people left on Netflix. Yes, I did pick ones that were what I considered offensive and small-minded. There were plenty of reviews that praised the film. But that isn’t the point of this. The point is to show that as a society, we can’t get away from this damaging labeling of people and the stereotyping that goes along with it. The people who wrote these reviews represent a part of the population that keeps true equality from being a reality. They represent those who protest military funerals and carry signs saying that homosexuals are the reason God hates America. They represent what is wrong and has always been wrong with our society. They are the fear-mongers that condemn all minorities.
“They have to be decietful to get an audience. It is a gay flick and I don’t know many heterosexual men or women who would like this movie. Why can’t you just say it is about homosexuality? Why must you hide the facts? I should have read the promo closer. If you want to see flashbacks of queers rolling around naked while their girlfriends mourn over loss of male intimacy and lack of sex then this movie is for you. I gave it a one just to get it to submit”
“If I had known that it was a homosexual love story, I would never ordered it. I fault the incomplete description for that. It may very well be a good story, However the first 5 minutes of the movie turned my wife and myself off. We shut off the player and pulled the movie. I really would like a movie credit for this poorly described movie.”
“If you are fan of Homosexual life it is a great movie, but if your not so inclined Id not watch it, very boring”
I don’t think I need to say that every single one of these reviews is inaccuarte and totally misses the point of the film, for those who actually watched it for more than 10 minutes. This is a film about a man mourning the loss of his lover of over 15 years. This is a film about how we as humans cannot always cope with the loss of a loved one. This is a film about how other humans can help us find our way out of the darkness if we allow them. This film also happened to be about love between two men. If you substituted a woman into one of the roles, the review above would have praised the film as a touching story about love, loss, blah blah blah. That is why I’m angry. That is why I’m ranting about the damage done by labels that are thrust upon us by a fearful and ignorant society.
Labeling and stereotyping is nothing new to our society. We’ve been doing it for as long as man has been on this earth. You’d think that after all this time, we’d have learned something. Clearly, we haven’t. My audience here is one that will most likely nod their heads in agreement. You could say that I’m preaching to the choir. I know this. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to reach a small segment of the population that needs to know that what they are doing is hurtful and hypocritical. There are some who may be tired of “hearing” me go on about this topic. Well, I’m not going to shut up.
Change doesn’t happen when you shut up. When you shut up, the status quo remains and we die as a society and culture. So I will continue to “rant” about this topic and others that I feel need to be talked about. I will continue to rant until society stops using labels as a way to condemn a population. I will continue to rant as long as there is a segment of the population that is not afforded the same rights as everyone else. I’ll probably be ranting until the day I die. So be it.