Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Labels People Choose

I haven't done a Musings post in a while and the other day whilst watching a guest programmer on rage I got this idea. See the guest programmer was going on and on about music videos, but instead of talking up the lyrics or the footage or the instruments used she was saying that it was "kind of goth..." and "very hip". Basically, pretty much everything she said about the music video indicated that it was of a certain genre and that a certain type of people liked it. It was like seeing somebody upload a picture to tumblr and add tags.

She really bothered me this guest programmer. But, it wasn't just her I didn't like. It seems that the majority of the "Younger Generation" (I feel like I can say that seeing as I am 19 and supposedly a part of it) seem to have a need to label themselves and to fit into a specific clique. Obviously, we do need categories or adjectives to keep things organised and to describe them, but I don't think everything fits into a category neatly and that people should be limited by a box titled "indie" or "hipster" unless they really truly want to be.

The title of my blog for example, is made up of a string of labels. My URL quirky girl likes vintage indicates that I think I'm quirky and that I like things that fit under the vintage tag. I'm pretty much saying that I think I'm a little bit different and that I like old-fashioned stuff. My blog title 'Quirky Vintage Dolls in Peach Stockings' relates to my love of nice hosiery and my love for a well crafted hand-made doll. I also like the way that some people say "you're such a doll" or "hey doll" in old movies and I guess that comes through a bit too.

When I originally came up with that title I wanted to be this vintage screen siren in the black dress reading Dodie Smith or listening to Lisa Mitchell and I think that comes across. So, I get that I'm not completely innocent. I too gave myself labels and wanted to be seen a certain way. The interesting thing about the blog name is though, that it is quite open to any changes I have made with myself. While I would still happily be the girl in the black dress reading a vintage volume I am now more of an Audrey Hepburn fan, that likes to read vampire books and plays Lana Del Rey songs on my guitar badly. Vintage and Quirky are labels that cover a wide variety of left of centre kind of stuff.

Enough about me though, the problem here is not the open-ended labels or the labels themselves, but rather the way some people commit themselves to a label. While I do love some Indie rock and like to promote bands that are yet to be signed, I'm not about to hate a band that sings good music just because they are with a well-known record label. Yet there are an awful lot of 'Indie' people out there who liked Lana Del Rey until she was signed and then trolled the Internet afterwards exclaiming that she was some spoilt brat who'd had plastic surgery.

And, the whole hipster thing? I don't get it. So, you're supposed to wear flannel and listen to certain rock bands and the guys are supposed to grow a mo? I honestly don't get what it means. And, if you generally like  moustaches or flannel or those bands then that's cool, but I just worry that some people are into this stuff because they think it's cool or because their friends like it.

And then there is this need to label other things. Like that record. It's a little bit goth. Why? Because, it's a little bit sad? Because, it's a little bit dark? And it's also Indie-rock because it's a bit different even though it sounds like something from the 50s and there are no drums. And, her voice sounds a bit like Katy Perry because it's slightly deeper than the regular high-pitched chick voices that you hear in modern day music. What happened to being able to see the influences or pick out actual similarities. Or, are we all just too cool and too modern to know anything about the history of music now? Especially when music is something that is based an awful lot on influences....

Sometimes I think people forget what things are or who people are. A song can have meaning. It can be a beautiful song, a sad song or a poorly written song. The song could be written for somebody. The shirt that girl is wearing might be vintage, it might be handmade, it might be comfortable, it might be too small. That person has feelings, they have morals, they have done things, achieved things, regrets things... Labels aren't the only thing that matter.

So, there you have it, my little rant. It sort of went nowhere and I'm sorry if it offended anyone. I'm not hating on anyone who fits those labels mentioned, just the ones who do stuff that they aren't overly fussed on so they can fit in with that stereotype. I'm just hoping the point gets across. Adjectives are meant to be adjectives not boxes for people to neatly fit into.

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