Do you see someone going down a unique path and you call them a rebel? It’s time to get to know them as their true selves and stop calling them a rebellious authority challenging authority. It does not do justice to their achievements and their strength. Read on to find out why…
What is a “rebel”
Like the words for “addict,” “gangster,” “radical,” or “warrior,” the term “rebel” seems to be thrown around quite a bit in our everyday language. The technical definition of the term refers to a person who stands in direct opposition to the authority such as the government. This opposition is often violent as the rebels may have the intention of overthrowing power.
And there are certainly many people in the world who are deliberately challenging societal, economic and political power. But over time, the term “rebel” has become more widespread, referring to anyone who follows a unique path.
For example, “indigenous” people are often labeled “rebels” or “rebels”. In theory, an authentic person is one who thinks and lives correct with himself and his beliefs, regardless of whether he meets traditional societal standards. There is no doubt that most of the “rebels” are original in their beliefs and behaviour. However, not every “authentic” person is a rebel, and it should not be referred to as such.
Sure, applying the term “rebel” to people who lead authentic lives is often a compliment. After all, finding a way to live in a way that is compatible with one’s values in the face of societal pressure to live another way requires a great deal of courage, determination, and fortitude. And these can be the same wonderful qualities that make someone a “rebel” in the technical sense of the word.
Also read here why some people can cope with social pressures
Is it wrong to call someone a “rebel”?
Sometimes calling someone a rebel isn’t meant to be very positive. The term can be intended to indicate that an individual is in some way a subvert of authority when he is simply being true to himself. The meaning could be that this person is a threat – perhaps even dangerous and violent – because he does not conform to societal norms. Thus, using the term “rebel”, people who take care of their own business and try to live their lives suddenly pose societal threats.
But regardless of whether the term is intended as a compliment or not, describing someone as a rebel is restrictive because it is a stereotype. When we refer to someone as a rebel, we do not identify them as individuals, but only as individuals who are understandable within a stereotypical social or cultural context. In doing so, we attribute intentions and motives that may not have existed.
Thus this individual can no longer understand and represent himself on his own terms, but only in the context of someone else’s arbitrary social terms. Rather than focusing on following their authentic path where it might take them, their understanding is limited to the limits of arbitrary societal construction.
Our tendency to categorize people as “rebels” seems particularly acute when we describe children and teens who grow up. movies like Rebellion without reason (1955) is an integral part of societal consciousness and in the capture theory of “teenage rebellion”. But as portrayed in the movie, what is described as a rebellion is often just a teen struggling to understand and assert authentic self.
And to be sure, most kids at some point defy authority. It’s hard to be independent without breaking the rules sometimes. But this does not mean that the intent of the belief or behavior was to challenge or overthrow the authority. Often it is only children who discover who they are and what they want to do in life.
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This problem is often posed to people who embrace non-traditional cultures. For example, people in the heavy metal community are often labeled “rebels” because their interests differ from traditional norms. But only because someone likes to wear black or likes loud music when other people don’t make him a rebel.