Best comments of the week: poop, pee, and identities vs. labels

Every week, I try to digitally herd the cats that are the Offbeat Empire's editors into gossiping with me about our favorite comments across all the Empire blogs.

Here's this week's round-up of the comments that cracked us up and made us think, complete with long ramblings from me about identities vs. labels…

Offbeat Home

In our editorial video chat, Megan basically summed it up this way:

POOP:

PEE:

Yes, despite the fact that we might all look like Millenial & Gen X women, we're actually 12-year-old boys sniggering over favorite potty jokes. (True story: I laughed for a solid five minutes after my son told me "Mama, my tummy hurt, but then I took a man-sized poop and I felt better.")

Offbeat Bride

On Wedding shoes for dapper brides and offbeat grooms, Cashew cracked us up:

Me: Ooooooh, shoe number three looks awesome, I can see myself wearing that for every fancy event.
Universe: I thwart your shoe desires! $672!
Me: Awwww.
Universe: If it helps, there's $10 that you've forgotten about in your coat pocket.
Me: Are you trying to be mean or helpful, Universe?
Universe: …Yes.

And on the post about not hiding your disabilities on your wedding day, Amethyst dropped some awesome identity wisdom:

When people say that I shouldn't think of myself as disabled, I feel like they're saying "In order to feel good about yourself, you should deny a part of your reality. I view you positively because I'm denying a part of your reality." A disability is a measurable medical fact. It's not a source of self-pity or unempowerment for me. It's simply a fact about me, like the facts that I'm brunette, tall, and female.

Ooh, can we talk about identity issues here? This reminds me of my favorite comment thread on Offbeat Mama this week:

Offbeat Mama

On this comment thread on our I am a transgender dad in a gay relationship who breastfeeds his baby boy post, Luz perfectly articulates something I've been trying to say for ages:

Ok, can we talk about this for a minute? I've been trying to articulate this point for several years, especially in my 2010 post, Let's talk about labels and self-identifying.

For me, learning about the cultural identities of my readers is the best part of my whole dang job. I LOVE hearing about the way people express their identities through the way they live their lives — that's basically what the whole Empire is all about. If you identify as a _____, what does your wedding look like? How do you reflect your _______-ness through your home and lifestyle? What does "family" mean to you as a _______? I LOVE THIS SHIT. These are my very favorite things to talk about.

I am obsessed with identities… and honestly, I get a little sad when people are like "why did we have to call out that this was a lesbian wedding?" Um, because these two women identified themselves as lesbians, submitted their post with "lesbian wedding" as the title, and appear to have had a LESBIAN WEDDING. I'm all for questioning assumptions, I'm also all for stepping back and allowing people to revel in their identities.

I totally recognize that some folks love shedding their labels like ill-fitting clothing, and that is awesome! "I'm just me," is a great identity. I love that, too! But please allow the others of us to celebrate identities and subcultures and wave our little flags all over the place. Labels aren't inherently bad. Applying them to people without their consent is definitely not good, but using words to describe yourself and your identity and your life can be awesome. Finding other people who share those labels is the sweetest stuff that community-building is made of. Honestly, when I'm meeting a new person, I loooove asking them what words they use to describe themselves. For some of us, there's a party in every identity. LET'S GET DOWN!

  1. I feel like I should high-five Mich. Like we have some sort of vaguely gross solidarity now, based on excretory-themed comments.

    7 agree
  2. Can I just go here?
    Without labels, the story becomes:

    I am a person in an interpersonal relationship of some sort and I participate in a nurturing practice with my child.

    And if that's how any author chooses to identify their situation, well groovy! But if an author takes the time to draft a several-hundred word article to celebrate the uniqueness of their situation and how their identity plays into their experience, I think it would be a disservice to strip the article of descriptors that share that experience with others. Even if those words are labels. Even if those words are challenging or fraught with difficult history for some.

    Labels exist. I think it's more beneficial for all of us to create an environment wherein the labels we identify with or want to learn more about are always addressed in a positive light, where we will always see that having an identity of our own is a good thing.

    Also, poop. Heehee!

    25 agree
  3. That is a well-articulated label comment!

    My problem with labels is when they're smacked on something to whittle it down. "Oh, you're a ______________," when used to shut down conversation, pisses me off. (Or to avoid conversation, though I admit I use, "Nah, I'm Cafeteria Catholic," to shut down religious conversation all the time, so, um, pots and kettles.)

    But identities. They look like labels, I guess, except you choose to paste them to your chest and show them off.

    No idea where I'm going with this. I just have label feels.

    4 agree
    • Umm, if we didn't have labels (or this label conversation) I would have never realized that my religious beliefs have an awesome name! Cafeteria Catholic…where has this title been all my life?? Thank you, Ashes! :-)

      Also, I like your stickie label analogy and the choosing to show the label off! It's the "I am a _______" sticker that's okay, but the "You are a ________" ones that can go eff themselves.

      3 agree
      • LOL, right? I can't remember who told me that one; probably my husband. It's pretty much the best descriptor ever.

        0 agree
    • What's a Cafeteria Catholic? =(

      But man I love labels. I don't have many, but I love being able to use a quick descriptor for who I am.

      0 agree
      • It's where you pick and choose the parts of Catholicism you choose to practice. For instance, we're pro-choice, which the institution of the church isn't necessary down with. However, we're also down with our symbolic Jesus cannibalism, so.

        5 agree
        • Hah! This totally cracked me up! Also, I think I may be a Cafeteria Catholic too :-)

          0 agree
  4. "Finding other people who share those labels is the sweetest stuff that community-building is made of."

    Absolutely! Even with different kinds and calibers of labels. For myself, it's not usually a huge issue, but I get extremely bothered by other people chewing loudly, but I thought I was the only one and it made me a terrible person to have this irrational rage in my head. One day my lovely boyfriend found a Metafilter post about it and I found out it has a name: misophonia! Reading through all the comments ("OMG me too!" and "I thought I was the only one…") made me tear up in relief to find not only was I not crazy, but other people have it and have recognized this as a real thing. Such a good feeling!

    5 agree
    • My boyfriend has this. Its tough. I can't eat in the car when we're together, and family dinners can be really hard on him if there is a lull in the conversation. Having a label lets him say "I'm not just being an asshole who can't sit next to you. This is a real thing. You can look it up."

      1 agrees
    • OMG I never knew that name before. I have that too! I'll add it to my list of 'quirks'…

      0 agree
  5. That poop comment your son made reminded me of a story from when I was a kid. I walked out of the bathroom and said, "mom, that poop was in my butt for a long time."

    0 agree
    • Kids have NO FILTER when it comes to that! Once (I'm a preschool teacher) a kid told me he was taking a poop bigger than me.

      1 agrees
  6. THIS:
    "I am obsessed with identities… and honestly, I get a little sad when people are like "why did we have to call out that this was a lesbian wedding?" Um, because these two women identified themselves as lesbians, submitted their post with "lesbian wedding" as the title, and appear to have had a LESBIAN WEDDING. I'm all for questioning assumptions, I'm also all for stepping back and allowing people to revel in their identities."

    As much as I appreciate the quote going around the internet that says, "It's very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or as I like to call it: marriage. You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not 'gay lunch.' I parked my car; I didn't 'gay park' it" (attributed to Liz Feldman), I AM getting gay married.

    It is central to my relationship with my upcoming Love Party and marriage that it be as gay as it can be (lots of rainbows, a variety show, lots of queers celebrating, etc.) because I don't want to enter marriage on the terms heteronormativity has set out for me and other queers (not to mention straights) who choose to have a wedding, Love Party, marriage, union ceremony, etc. I want to get gay married. In fact, my partner and I are thinking of putting a "Gay Married!" sign on the back of our car after our Love Party. It's one way for me to articulate who I am and what I value in this process and institution that does so much work to assimilate me and so many others (queer, straight, etc.).

    1 agrees
    • YES! That "gay married" quote has been posted in the comments several times on Offbeat Bride, and while I so very deeply appreciate the sentiment of normalizing marriage equality… I would be pissed if someone tried to strip my identity from my wedding.

      3 agree

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