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(CoB) Labels are Your Friend, Not Life Partner.

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(Preface: This is an addition to the writing "Community of Babel".)

Label, n.

2. a short word or phrase descriptive of a person, group, intellectual movement, etc.
> (Dictionary.com.)

Labels: bane of individualism or tool to simplify understanding? Once again, the topic is revisited for further exploration and understanding; labels being a vital part of communication that we use them almost subconsciously throughout our days, we seem unable to escape them. Indeed, whenever people group together, you will find the use of labels increase. From intellectual to ignoramus, we are prone to use labels to point out those different from us, and conversely, to attract those similar to us. Yet, identifying with a label feels almost depersonalizing...a manner of taking away the mystery of our individualism, that we are so easily "grouped" in some collective. Does it have to be, though?

Negating some of the stigma behind labels, I think it's good to start by identifying the different levels of labels that surround us. Reading over the definition, it's easy to see that labels are used to represent various aspects of life. As an individual, we self identify having first hand insight into the way we live our lives, and if honest, we give ourselves the most concise label in which we are comfortable. At a communal level, labels are used in a more general and generic way; an overview of the mentality that ideally frequents the collective. Identifying these two are important because they are not to be confused with one another! It's when we try personally identifying with a communal label or try applying personal labels to the community at large that we come into conflict with the very nature of the beast.

Using a more direct example, we apply the "dominant" label, as identified at the individual level and the BDSM (D/s) community level. Simplifying the idea behind the latter, we can accept that "dominant" represents someone with the disposition to consensually dominate. This is simplified to show the acceptance and openness of the community, by-and-large, allowing for a wide range of individuals to apply their personal label to see if they will fit in or not. Of course the defining points for what a "dominant is" on a community level may be more detailed; we (as a group) have to realize with the more "descriptors" used, the more secular the collective becomes, right down to being only the single individual trying to enforce a personal label, community-wide.

At the individual level, simplification becomes vastly more vulnerable, obviously. Labels become personal, a quick description to help create shared understanding, in a very simple way. "Dominant" becomes almost a title, representing why someone deserves some iota of respect. I could not even begin to list the countless ways this is applied on a personal level; however, if one wishes to belong to the a fore mentioned community, "the disposition to consensually dominate" should be among the list. Here we see how the two levels of labels work together, but invariably are separate...the individual "dominant" has more depth and singularity, where as the communal "dominant" is general and more a guide.

In conclusion, I think it's most important to consider the origin behind any label used. Whether at a communal or personal level, labels are observed qualities simplified for conversational use. I came to the conclusion on how to simplify the communal "dominant" label through identification of the most common significant qualities within the public scene. Regardless if a person prescribes to SSC, RACK, PRICK, or what-have-you, the commonalities seem easy to see. Individuals that call themselves "dominants" within the BDSM community should exhibit the ability to dominate, and should do it consensually. How they decide to add to that definition is what defines them as an individual and their "dominant" mentality. No matter how you label yourself, your actions will always confirm or contradict it, anyhow.


Cade .Great as always . I label myself Dominant i do not use the lable Master because of the way I see the word and the meaning of Master .i am an Engineer and have been for close to 30 years this gives me to ability and confidence to call myself an Engineer due to time served and experience gained . I have been in the life as such in one way or the other for close to 15 years i have a great deal of experience but as with anything I am still learning so do not feel comfortable with the label of master as this denotes the pinnacle of experience and knowledge.  Anyone calling themselves Master in my opinion without the time served, experience gained does not understand the meaning of Master.

Thanks Christopher 


Cade. Great post. What is a label, though, it is modern society's way of summing up a person in a word. Oh, you belong to that group - so go stand over there, where everyone else are like you.

Labels are great as a conversation opener, but we should always take time to get to know people. I like to think that I make the effort, but I fall short of my own standards on many occassions as well. Then I try to learn.


@Mrchristopher70 Thank you! I'm really glad these writings are creating discussion and inner exploration, for you and others. 

I agree with you on the use of titles, especially Master. I do own humans (within a complex consent dynamic), and although it's easy to refer to the individuals I do train as my slave, I'm extremely reluctant to be referred to as Master, as I have not earned my cover, proper. This seems akin to the deepest form of disrespect for me, like impersonating a doctor or law officer for personal and nefarious gain! But, at the same time, I have to remember that I can't dictate what master means for them - for some it's a role in role play, for some it's the accomplishment of accumulating vast knowledge and experience in one's role.

Rather, I try to lead through example. Thanks for commenting.

@Carnelian2 Very interesting perspective, which I agree. However, I more think we need to move away from labels carrying such a stigma, away from allowing words to have such power over our emotions. What is a label? It's a word that represents an idea or concept. We should stop being afraid of the truths they expose, stop being worried about what group it might place us, but revel in the ability to communicate effectively. There are positives to the negatives, I guess is the point I'm getting at - the words are neither, the way they are used decides their impact. I would like to see words having a much more positive impact, but that's not realistic unless I/we help guide others away from negative connotation.

Thank you for the post, much to think on.


@Cade - You are right. It may have come across differently than intended. I might have a purely personal view on the use of labels, but do accept and recognise the use of them in a social context. The point is to not forget the nuances you find when the label is removed. 

Maybe, I just feel that there is a tendency for people to generalise and I would like to get to a place where acceptance of diversity gives way to generalisations, which is how you can also look at a label. I do not know if this makes sense?

very interesting discussion 


@Carnelian2 It totally makes sense, and I agree. I, too, would like to reach that place a label is seen useful and not offensive, by and whole. I'm proud to be able to label myself a sadist now, but there was a time I carried that label like an anchor of misery. Certainly, the label didn't change; I did. My perspective changed, but how do I change the perspective of the many as an individual? Especially considering too many would shy away from any such realization, this seems like a daunting task, indeed.


Labels are useful, but like when you stick a label on a drawer, you have a vague idea what's in it but you don't know everything 'til you open it. Labels help, as you say, for social interaction but aren't the be all and end all. After all, I bet we can all think of multiple labels we can give ourselves. :)


@VictoriaBlisse I agree! It's important not be too reliant on any one word to be a definitive; as your wonderful drawer analogy points out, the labal does undermine the possible content, if you don't peek inside. Thank you for your input!